Are the Kansas City Chiefs a phony 9-0 team that has feasted on terrible teams or a true contender that deserves its No. 1 defensive ranking?
That question will be answered Sunday night when the Chiefs visit Denver, by far the best team they have faced all season. If they can stop Peyton Manning, the answer will be the latter.
But oddsmakers monitored by OddsShark.com seem to be hedging their bets that it might be the former, holding the unbeaten Chiefs as steep nine-point road underdogs against 8-1 Denver.
“As of Friday afternoon, we saw one sportsbook at -7.5 and others at -9, but those are steep numbers against a team that is unbeaten in mid-November,” said Jack Randall, an NFL analyst at OddsShark.com.
“Our power rankings have the Chiefs at nine and the Broncos at the top, which better reflects this current spread.”
Indeed, computer projections have produced a 38-35 win for Denver, which would be proof that Kansas City’s defense is not as strong as its ranking. It would also mean a cover for Chief bettors and would continue their perfect against-the-spread road record in 2013 (4-0 ATS).
Kansas City should be well-prepared, coming off a bye week. In Andy Reid’s final dozen seasons in Philadelphia, before joining KC, his team was 9-3 ATS with an extra week of rest.
The public betting tracked in consensus wagering data at Odds Shark had Kansas City getting nearly two of every three bets on this game.
Is the wagering public always right?
“Hardly, and its often a good strategy to simply go against public opinion,” said Randall. “But this is an interesting clash of styles and bettors still want to see the Chiefs defense against a real offense.”
While the Chiefs have struggled in divisional games the past two seasons, much of their 3-7 ATS run came before Reid’s arrival. The question is whether they can blunt Denver’s recent march through the AFC West, where they have won 11 of their past 12 games.
The computer projection foresees a continuation of the OVER trend involving Denver (8-1 in 2013) at the expense of the UNDER trend involving Kansas City (7-2 in 2013).
Overall in 10 recent home games, Denver has rewarded OVER bettors with a 9-0-1 streak, according to FootballBettingOdds.ca data.
Computer Prediction: 38-35 Broncos
OddsShark Team Pick: Broncos to win by at least 10 points