Sunday Night Football Picks - Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Kansas City Chiefs players celebrating

Jason Lake

Sunday, October 2, 2016 5:14 PM UTC

Sunday, Oct. 2, 2016 5:14 PM UTC

The betting market says the Pittsburgh Steelers are the right NFL pick Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs. The analytics tell a different story. Who do you trust?

When we last checked in on the Pittsburgh Steelers, they were the hottest pick on the Week 4 NFL odds board, raking in most of the early action for their Sunday Night Football matchup (8:30 p.m. ET, NBC) at home against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Steelers have the earmarks of a sharp pick, but we wanted more of a sample size from the betting community before we passed judgment.

And here it is: At press time, Pittsburgh is still pulling in the highest average bet of anyone in Week 4. But $98 isn't the enthusiastic consent we were wanted from the wiseguys. And the Steelers are only going to get more expensive from here; they've already moved to –6 at some locations after opening at –5, and the public is very likely to dump even more money on the favorites this weekend.

On the 6
The data certainly point to the Chiefs (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) as the preferred NFL week 4 pick in this contest. We mentioned that the Steelers (2-1 SU and ATS) winning 55 percent of the time, or –1.5 for a projected Elo-based spread. ESPN's Football Power Index is kinder to Pittsburgh, giving the favorites a 58.9-percent chance to win, but that's still more like –2.5. How did we get from there to six points?

Chalk it up to the fundamentals. Kansas City went into the 2016 campaign as –145 favorites at Bovada to win the AFC West, but we looked at the projections here at the ranch – using the SBR Betting Odds Converter to help us – and the numbers said the Chiefs were a bargain at that price. The popular Steelers, on the other hand, were overvalued in the AFC North.

On top of that, Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell is making his season debut this week after serving a three-game suspension. But will he be that much better than DeAngelo Williams (3.9 yards per carry)? Running backs are fungible commodities in the NFL, as the Chiefs have proved without Jamaal Charles – and Charles might play this week, too. Let's make the standard contrarian football pick and take the Chiefs plus the points, but only for a small wager, given how the market has played out thus far. You might also want to wait until closer to kick-off for a better price.

Free NFL Pick: Chiefs +6 (–115)
Best Line Offered: at Bovada
Record: 5-3 ATS, 4-3 Totals

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