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NFL: Broncos vs Chiefs ML Prediction and Odds

Denver Broncos(8-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs(10-4)

  • Where: Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City, MO
  • When: December 25, 2016 8:30 pm EST
  • Spread: Denver +3.5 (-115) at Kansas City -3.5 (-105)
  • Moneyline: Denver (+160) at Kansas City (-180)
  • Over / Under: Over 37.5 (-110) vs Under 37.5 (-110)

For all the complaints about prime-time NFL football in 2016-17, it is hard to deny the attractiveness of Week 16’s Sunday Night Football match-up. 2 fierce division rivals, each looking for a playoff spot in a tightly-congested AFC. Alex Smith throwing to Jeremy Maclin. The breathtaking end-rushes of Von Miller. John Elway in the press box on Christmas night. What else could you ask for?

Well, coming in with better form would be a start. The Chiefs blew a 17-10 4th-quarter lead to lose to PK Ryan Succop and the Tennessee Titans last week, 19-17. Alex Smith passed for a meager 163 yards with 0 touchdowns and an interception, only 1 week after leading KC to a TNF take-down of surging Oakland. Tennessee also rushed for a healthy 148 yards as the Kansas City defense gave up 2 touchdowns to rookie RB Derrick Henry.

Meanwhile, the Broncos have lost 2 in a row with an offense going from bad to worse. Trevor Siemian is an accurate young QB, and passed for 334 yards in a 13-10 Week 14 loss to Tennessee as the orange offense showed a pulse in the 4th quarter. But the stat line betrayed a larger issue: Justin Forsett ran for 17 total yards, and Devontae Booker rushed for 1 yard on 3 carries. That 18 yards was the total rushing output for Denver in the game.

Bettors know that a 1-dimensional playbook cannot sustain itself for long. Miller and the front-7 gave the team a chance to beat Tom Brady and the New England Patriots last Sunday. But the offense was miserable in a 16-3 loss.

The Chiefs are only a modest favorite in the Bovada Sportsbook money line for Sunday night’s AFC West clash. That can only be attributable to Denver’s 7-3 record in the last 10 head-to-head games. Kansas City is at home, with a defense comparable to Tennessee (whose ‘D frustrated the Mile High Men for 3 quarters) or New England (who shut the Broncs down completely).

The question that serious players have to ask themselves is not each QB’s 2-minute-drill rating, or the kicking game or any of that. It is whether the Denver Broncos will be able to score any points at all, as a poor offense faces a bruising rival on the road.

How to wager on KC? “Reid” the tea leaves

DEN at KC Xmas Day PreviewCoaching is a huge factor in the Chiefs’ recent run of success, but that doesn’t mean Andy Reid is perfect. The chalkboard-scheming archetype of Bill Walsh lives on in the portly Kansas City HC, as every game plan is reduced to percentages and X’s & O’s.

The weakness of Reid’s approach can be seen when the offense fails to control games against beatable competition. Tennessee is decent, but should not have been allowed to come back to win in Week 15. Bogged down in mathematics, the Chiefs often forget to keep pushing the opposing front-7, and fail to guard against negative plays.

But the coach’s strength is game-planning against an excellent defense. With benefit of a polite home crowd and WR Maclin rounding into shape, Reid should be able to find some sneaky daylight for his QB and his offense, even against the Orange Crush.

Does that mean there is value in the over? Maybe not. If Brandon Marshall (questionable for SNF) sits out, KC could easily score 28 points. But would the Broncos score at least 10?

The Broncos may be paying the piper

Once upon a time, Tim Tebow and a plus-1 blocker gave Denver the best running game in the league, and fans either loved or hated it. Then, Peyton Manning and Mike McCoy gave them the best passing attack in the NFL, and everybody loved it – until the aging Hall-of-Famer’s arm went limp as a noodle in 2015-16. The Broncos survived and won it all anyway, thanks to a defense that demolished everything in its path in the Super Bowl.

But Manning was an old pro, who made smart game-management decisions. The Broncos sold out to Peyton’s reign in the Mile High City so badly, talented Brock Osweiler was allowed to leave. That leaves young Trevor Siemien and Paxton Lynch, who are in a nightmare scenario for green QBs without a ground game to buoy them. Injuries to 3 different TEs (2 with concussions) also hurt.

Denver must quickly discover a running game, or die. Gamblers should not trust the Broncos to win ATS or otherwise until a few 1st downs on the ground can be had.

Trust KC with your SNF money line bet

It’s time for Andy Reid to jar open the “game control” section of his file cabinet.

The Chiefs are a solid money line payoff and our confident recommendation to win Sunday night. KC will control the clock with workhorse RB’s like Spencer Ware getting ample carries, and a loud Arrowhead crowd will bolster a healthy QB rush against the pass-happy Broncos.

Bet on the Kansas City Chiefs to win at Bovada.

Kurt BoyerThis article was written by Kurt Boyer

A freelance sportswriter from Missouri, Kurt has covered court, gridiron, rink and ring for 10+ years. He muses about High School football on social media as The Gridiron Geek.

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