Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Week 17 odds roundup: Playoff positioning on the line in top matchups

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With backup Matt McGloin at the controls, the Oakland Raiders will try to sustain their road-warrior mojo against the Denver Broncos. The playoff-bound Raiders, minus QB Derek Carr (broken fibula), are 2.5-point road underdogs against the Broncos at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The New England Patriots’ result will determine whether the Raiders have a shot at the AFC’s No. 1 seed, but a loss coupled with a Kansas City Chiefs win would leave them in a wild-card spot. The Raiders are 9-1 against the spread in their last 10 road games.

The Raiders, through RB Latavius Murray, have the fifth-ranked rushing attack and Denver is porous against the run. If McGloin passes well enough to keep the Broncos defense honest, Oakland could outscore Denver’s mediocre offense.

The New England Patriots are listed as 10-point road favorites against the Miami Dolphins.  The Dolphins, who are 9-1 SU and 8-1-1 ATS over their last 10 games, will have RB Jay Ajayi in the lineup to help with their formula of running the ball and playing good defense. Tom Brady might rely on RB LeGarrette Blount to ease the load, since Miami’s run defense is just average.

The Kansas City Chiefs are a 5.5-point road favorite against the San Diego Chargers as they vie for the AFC West title. The Chiefs, who rolled against Denver in Week 16, are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games after an ATS win, but FS Eric Berry and a takeaway-happy defense are matched against the team with the NFL’s second-most turnovers.

The Washington Redskins, who need a win and some help to make the playoffs, are eight-point favorites against the New York Giants, the locked-in No. 5 seed. Washington has not been this big of a favorite since 2009. Whether QB Kirk Cousins‘ primary targets such as WR DeSean Jackson and TE Jordan Reed face the Giants’ starters for a full four quarters is unclear.

The Atlanta Falcons are 6.5-point favorites against the New Orleans Saints. Matt Ryan‘s offense has lit up the scoreboard against much better defenses than the Saints’ 25th-ranked unit. On the other side of the ball, Drew Brees has the league’s most productive offense and New Orleans is 5-2 SU in their last seven visits to Atlanta.

And with the NFC North title on the line, the Green Bay Packers are favored by 3.5 points on the road against the Detroit Lions in the Sunday Night Football matchup. The Lions are 6-0 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six home games, but have rarely shown the type of formidable pass rush it would take to get Packers QB Aaron Rodgers out of the zone he has been in for the past five games.

Broncos underdogs at Chiefs for key Sunday Night Football meeting

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Young quarterback Trevor Siemian will need a lot of help if the Denver Broncos are to continue their history of success in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Chiefs are listed as 3.5-point favorites against the Broncos with a 37.5-point total in the Sunday Night Football matchup, according to sportsbooks monitored by the OddsShark.com.

The Broncos are in a virtual must-win situation as far as their playoffs hopes are concerned, but are 6-1 against the spread in their last seven road games against the Chiefs, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. They are also 9-3 straight-up and ATS in their last 12 games as an underdog of 4.5 points or less. Conversely, the Chiefs are 10-2 SU and 4-8 ATS over their last 12 home games at Arrowhead Stadium.

Denver, which is 8-6 SU and ATS, has struggled to break 20 points on a consistent basis this season, since the offensive line simply hasn’t been strong enough at run blocking or keeping blitzers off Siemian. The young QB has made progress, but will have to be careful against a pass defense with an impressive 15 interceptions.

Broncos wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are also facing a respectable pass defense, led by CB Marcus Peters, that has kept teams to 7.1 yards per pass even though they have faced a string of tough offenses.

The Broncos will need to keep Chiefs OLB Dee Ford, OLB Justin Houston, and DE Dee Ford from getting to Siemian. Young running back Devontae Booker hasn’t always delivered on his potential, but he did scoot for 79 yards in the teams’ first meeting in Week 11.

Kansas City, which is 10-4 SU and 7-7 ATS, will be out to clinch a playoff berth with a win. Quarterback Alex Smith and his regular targets such as TE Travis Kelce, WR Tyreek Hill and WR Jeremy Maclin will have to solve a pass defense that allows an NFL-low 183 yards per game. Right tackle Mitchell Schwartz will also have to do a better job against OLB Von Miller, who had three sacks in the teams’ first meeting.

Injury issues with SS T.J. Ward (concussion protocol), DE Derek Wolfe (neck) and ILB Brandon Marshall could affect Denver’s already soft run defense, which is 29th in the NFL and has also struggled to generate turnovers. The Chiefs’ running game, with Spencer Ware as the busiest ball carrier, isn’t very efficient but it’s a sure bet coach Andy Reid won’t abandon it and let his offense become one-dimensional.

The total has gone over in 11 of the Broncos’ last 14 games with a closing total of 38 points or less.  The total has gone under in eight of the Chiefs’ last 10 games.

Bengals, Texans betting underdogs in AFC Wild Card matchups

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The Cincinnati Bengals will be looking to halt a seven-game straight-up losing streak in the postseason, including Wild Card Weekend losses in each of the past four years, when they play host to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday night as 2.5-point betting underdogs at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The 12-4 Bengals enter the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in the conference, and as AFC North champs for the second time in three years. However, Cincinnati struggled in the second half of its campaign, going 4-4 SU in its last eight ahead of Saturday’s Steelers vs. Bengals betting matchup at Paul Brown Stadium, failing to tally a victory against a playoff-bound team during that stretch.

Compounding matters for the Bengals has been the absence of quarterback Andy Dalton, who suffered a broken thumb in the club’s 33-20 loss to Pittsburgh four weeks ago, and remains questionable for this weekend’s contest.

The 10-6 Steelers needed to overcome serious adversity before capturing a playoff berth with last weekend’s 28-12 win over Cleveland. Struck by injuries to rusher Le'Veon Bell and pivot Ben Roethlisberger, who was sidelined twice early in the season, Pittsburgh stumbled to a 4-4 start before coming to life in the second half.

The Steelers are enduring a playoff losing streak of their own, coming up short in their last three, also taking against the spread losses as betting favorites in their past two, but are a solid 4-1 SU and ATS in their past five against the division-rival Bengals according to the OddsShark NFL Database.

In the other AFC Wild Card Weekend matchup on Saturday, the AFC South champion Houston Texans will be gunning for their fourth straight SU win when they welcome the Kansas City Chiefs as 3.5-point betting underdogs.

The Texans have won seven of their past nine games both SU and ATS, and have been dominant during their current hot streak, allowing just 7.3 points per game in crucial wins over divisional rivals.

The 11-5 Chiefs reached the postseason on a torrid 10-game SU win streak, and also posted a 27-20 victory in Houston back on the opening weekend of the NFL season. However, Kansas City has consistently failed to meet increased expectations at the sportsbooks, losing three of their last four ATS, and are 2-4 ATS this season when favored by more than three points.

The Chiefs must also overcome an eight-game playoff losing streak dating back to 1994, scoring 10 or fewer points in five of those contests, and losing three outright as betting favorites.