The current pointspread on this game has Kansas City ranging between a 1-point (-120) and 3-point (+100) road favorite at various sportsbooks. The total has been bet down sharply from an opener of 41 to 38.5 at the majority of shops.
Three of Kansas City’s four wins have come in blowout fashion. They beat Jacksonville 28-2, Philadelphia 26-16, and the New York Giants 31-7. Their other win came by just a single point (17-16) over the Cowboys.
Tennessee has been involved in more dramatic games as three of their four have been decided by 7 points or less, including an overtime loss at Houston. The Titans lone blowout win came last week as they blasted the New York Jets 38-13.
Kansas City has looked impressive on the scoreboard, but a deeper investigation reveals some major flaws being masked by their wins. The Chiefs have had offensive issues this season as they are only averaging 6.2 yards per pass attempt (#24 in the league) and converting just 38.7% on third downs.They also have a negative rushing differential of -3.3 yards per game.
It’s important to note that those numbers have come against teams with a combined record of 3-13 on the season. If Kansas City was a dominating team like their win/loss record suggests, they would have a much better statistical profile on offense because of the weak competition they’ve played. The Chiefs are not as invincible as they seem.
Kansas City’s defense has played well, but again, keep in mind their level of competition. And while they are not playing an elite Tennessee team this week, the Chiefs don’t have any business laying points on the road, especially into a winning team.
Tennessee lost starting QB Jake Locker to a hip injury during their game last week against the Jets. Fortunately for the Titans, they have a veteran backup in Ryan Fitzpatrick. He has plenty of starting experience from his time with the Bills, and there really isn’t a dramatic difference between Fitzpatrick and Locker.
The Titans have been able to move the chains consistently this season because they are converting 41.3% of their third downs. Tennessee has had good offensive balance between the run (120 yards per game) and the pass (193 yards per game) despite RB Chris Johnson failing to run for 100 yards in a game.
Tennessee has won with their defense for the most part. The Titans are allowing just 17.2 points per game while holding opponents to only 313 yards of total offense per game. Tennessee is giving up 5.1 yards per play and 6.2 yards per pass attempt; both of those numbers are solid.
Kansas City is not in a good scheduling spot as this will be their third road game in five weeks. The Chiefs also have their first divisional game on deck with Oakland. New HC Andy Reid is off three consecutive wins against teams from the NFC East; the same division he was in with the Eagles.
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The Titans are playing their third consecutive home game, and they have a pair of NFC teams on deck prior to their bye. Tennessee will be fully focused on this home game, especially since their schedule is back-loaded with four road games over the final six weeks of the season.
We have Kansas
City rated one spot higher than Tennessee
in our power ratings, but when we adjust for home field advantage, the Titans
should be favored by 2 points. That gives us some good value on the home
underdog in this game, especially if we can take them at the key number of
3. We see a good opportunity to fade the overrated Chiefs, but be sure to
shop around and take the Titans for your NFL picks +3 (-120) in this game on Sunday afternoon.
NFL Free Picks: Play TITANS (+).