AFC Playoff Betting — Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs
It’s been a roller coaster ride of a season for the Kansas City Chiefs, who looked like the best team in football after the first month of the season. After a very serious slump, they may have gotten their feet under themselves again, and at just the right time, as the post-season begins. The Chiefs will take the field in the AFC wild-card round on Saturday against the Tennessee Titans in a game that is scheduled to get underway at 4:30 PM ET at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The good news, if you are a BetAnySports customer, is that you can get reduced juice before the game, and then stay involved with the action with real-time wagering that is enabled through Live Betting Ultra.
In the first two games of the season, the Chiefs beat the top seeds in both the AFC and NFC – New England and Philadelphia – but after a 5-0 start, things went downhill. They lost six of their next seven, but they have come on strong over the last month, winning and covering four in a row. Kareem Hunt led the NFL in rushing with 1397 yards, quite an accomplishment for a rookie who was a third-round draft pick. Alex Smith had a highest quarterback rating of anybody in the league, but still got no respect as he was not voted into the Pro Bowl. Tyreke Hill emerged as a serious big-play threat at the receiver spot, with 1183 yards, and tight end Travis Kelce also went over the 1000-yard plateau. That was the offensive story for the Chiefs. On defense they were kind of shaky at times, although coming down the stretch, they held three of their final four opponents to 15 points or less, with the only exception the Denver Broncos, who they played in the season finale with what can best be described as a skeleton crew.
In the AFC playoff betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetAnySports, the Chiefs are sizable favorites:
Kansas City Chiefs -8.5
Tennessee Titans +8.5
Over 44.5 points -110
Under 44.5 points -110
Tennessee’s defensive line would appear, at least on paper, to be well-equipped to deal with the Kansas City ground attack, as they have yielded only 3.6 yards per carry. And they got a decent pass rush going, with 42 sacks on the season. But they are not likely to force a lot of turnovers out of Smith, who was picked off only five times.
And Tennessee will be limited on the offensive end here, as running back DeMarco Murray is being held out of this game with a severe ankle sprain. Murray was not exactly Superman this season, averaging only 3.6 yards per attempt. But the Titans based their offense on a tandem in the backfield, and now one-half of that tandem is missing. So Derrick Henry, the former Heisman Trophy winner out of Alabama, will have to carry the whole burden. He has some decent numbers (744 yards), and he caught a 66-yard touchdown pass in last week’s season finale, a 15-10 win over Jacksonville. But he has yet to prove he is an every-down back, although he is chomping at the bit for that opportunity.
Marcus Mariota has been a picture of inconsistency, throwing only 13 touchdown passes with 15 interceptions. That’s a weak spot with Tennessee, because the Titans are challenged at the wide receiver spot. Kansas City has suffered from the loss of safety Eric Berry, but this offense they are facing on Saturday may not be enough to seriously threaten them. Tennessee is going to its first playoff game in nine years, and they have scored 24 points or less in ten straight games. Meanwhile, Kansas City, up until they rested a lot of their starters last week against Denver, had registered all nine of its victories by seven points or more. We think they are capable of creating a margin here, especially as they have committed fewer turnovers per drive than anyone in the NFL. So we will lay the points.
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