Betting Analysis and Predictions: Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs
The final divisional matchup of the weekend’s NFL playoffs is a rematch of last year’s AFC title game with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Buffalo Bills.
Kansas City is currently a 2-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook and –125 on the moneyline, while the Bills are +105 moneyline underdogs. The total is currently at 54.5.
Bills roll past New England
Buffalo’s 47-17 win over the New England Patriots in the wild card round of the playoffs signified the end of the Patriots’ dominance in the AFC East. It was the second time Buffalo had topped New England in three weeks, but the dominance the Bills displayed in the postseason further legitimized themselves as Super Bowl contenders.
Buffalo scored touchdowns on all seven of its offensive drives and amassed 480 yards of offense on just 51 snaps. It was the first time a team scored on each of its seven possessions that didn’t end with a kneel down. Quarterback Josh Allen was efficient, completing 21 of 25 passes for 308 yards and a franchise postseason record five touchdown passes.
By halftime, the game was essentially over, with Buffalo gaining 300 yards and holding a 27-3 lead.
The Bills already have a win at Arrowhead Stadium this season. In Week 5, Buffalo recorded a 38-20 win during a portion of the season where the Chiefs offense struggled. Kansas City was limited to just one pass play longer than 20 yards, while the Bills completed four passes of at least 30 yards, with two going for scores.
Buffalo even held an early 9-0 lead in last year’s AFC Championship in Kansas City before losing 38-24. Former NFL Pro Bowler and Buffalo Bills player, Shawne Merriman, told Gambling.com during his weekly interview that he believes last year’s losing experience will better prepare the Bills for Sunday’s matchup.
“Last year in the AFC Championship at Kansas City, I don’t think Buffalo was ready,” Merriman said. “I’m not talking about physically ready. I don’t think they were ready for the moment. I don’t think Josh Allen was ready for the moment. They’re embracing everything now, which they did not do last year in the playoffs. It was a different feel. They feel comfortable being there. Last year, it was more of a wow, we made it. This year, it’s like they know they belong there.”
Chiefs Bouncing Back After Rough Stretch
It’s been a rollercoaster of a season for the Chiefs. The team lost three of its first five games as the defense struggled and allowed 163 points over that span (32.6 points per game). For the rest of the regular season, the Chiefs defense limited opponents to 16.7 points per contest.
Kansas City’s wild-card matchup against Pittsburgh didn’t get off to the explosive start Buffalo experienced. The Chiefs punted three times, threw an interception and had a fumble returned for a touchdown on their first five possessions. Then, like Buffalo, Kansas City went off for six straight touchdowns on its following six drives to secure a 42-21 victory.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes was again efficient, completing 30 of 39 passes for 404 yards and five touchdowns. Kansas City’s defense remained stout, causing Pittsburgh to punt on its first seven possessions before forcing a fumble recovery. The defense only surrendered two garbage-time touchdowns in the second half after the outcome had been decided when Kansas City gained a 35-7 advantage.
Bills at Chiefs Pick
The two teams have combined to go for 62 and 58 points in their last two meetings. I expect both teams to respect the other’s offense and maintain aggressiveness on fourth downs, which could work towards the over’s advantage. Whether a team converts or fails on a fourth down near midfield is a benefit to the over and each team has the personnel to succeed in short-yardage situations.
Each team’s defense has been lauded for their recent performances, but looking at who they’ve played, it suddenly becomes less impressive. The Bills closed the regular season against the bad Carolina Panthers, rookie quarterback Mac Jones, Atlanta Falcons and New York Jets before dominating Jones in his postseason debut. The last good team Buffalo faced? Tampa Bay, and the Bills gave up 33 points and lost in overtime.
Over the last six weeks of the regular season, Kansas City faced the Denver Broncos with Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, the Las Vegas Raiders and the Steelers twice. Not surprisingly, the Chiefs' defense stymied those inept offenses. But matchups against the Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals showed Kansas City’s defense can still be exploited with the Chargers putting up 28 points and the Bengals going for 34.
Weather should be ideal, too, with the temperature projected to be 37 degrees, no chance of rain and only 4 mph winds.
The total has fluctuated this week between 55 to 53.5. Obviously, I like 53.5, which is under the semi-key number of 54 and is currently available at BetMGM Sportsbook for –110. This is another great example of how important it is to shop around multiple sportsbooks to get the best number.
The Pick: Over 53.5.
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