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August 23, 2014

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Week 13 NFL picks against the spread for the Sun’s handicapping contest

Broncos drawing betting action for rematch with Chiefs

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno (27) runs the ball against Kansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston (50) in the third quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Denver.

The second matchup between the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs is defying the usual characteristics of a sequel.

Sun's NFL betting game of week 13

Which team would you bet in Broncos at Chiefs?
Denver -4.5 — 70.6%
Kansas City +4.5 — 29.4%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

It’s not receiving an elevated promotional push. Not enough time has passed since the original, only two weeks, to spawn any demand or anticipation.

But Sunday’s Part 2 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., is shaping up as the chapter with more consequence as the two teams tied for the best record (9-2) in the AFC clash in the biggest game of Week 13.

Because of five stand-alone, nationally televised games — including yesterday’s Turkey Day Trio — Denver at Kansas City won’t rank as one of the most heavily bet contests of the week in Las Vegas. The AFC West rivals are putting plenty on the line, however, with control for potential home-field advantage throughout the playoffs at stake.

Two of the three sports writers in the Sun’s NFL picks contest used one of their six weekly selections, available at the bottom of the page, on the game where visiting Denver gives Kansas City 4.5 points.

It’s a curious line, if only because of the disparity from these teams’ Week 11 spread. The Broncos opened as high as minus-9.5 in their home game against the Chiefs before the market bet them down to a 7.5-point favorite.

Kansas City failed to cover any range of the number in a 27-17 loss, perhaps giving bettors doubts on the rematch. Whatever the reason, the Chiefs aren’t getting the flood of early-week money they received in the first game.

To the contrary, the Broncos opened at minus-3.5 before sports books beefed up the spread by a full point. The current line rests in great contrast to oddsmakers’ power ratings from just two weeks ago.

Applying the standard three points for home-field advantage, Denver should come in around a 4.5-point favorite on a neutral field based on week 11’s closing spread of 7.5. Put Kansas City at home, and it should only take a point or two using the first game as a guide.

The Chiefs irrefutably played a part in downgrading themselves with a 41-38 loss to the Chargers as 3.5-point favorites in between games with the Broncos. But it’s not as if Denver buffed its credentials in a week respite from Kansas City, as it fell 34-31 as a 1-point favorite at New England.

Sure, the Broncos led 24-0 at halftime, but sheer force didn’t deliver them there. The Patriots fumbled on their first three possessions, surrendering easy points to what was then rated as the top team in the NFL according to Football Outsiders’ DVOA ratings.

The Broncos have since fallen one spot to second, behind the Seahawks, in the metric-based power poll. The Chiefs have also descended one notch, from eighth to ninth, during their two-game skid.

That’s a more negligible drop than what’s taken place in Las Vegas. Another reason for the Chiefs crash in gamblers’ minds could be injuries.

They had their worst defensive game of the year by a wide margin against the Chargers after linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, a duo that has combined for 18 of the team’s 37 sacks, left the game.

Hali (ankle) is expected back against Denver while Houston (elbow) is not. The Broncos’ injury report is a bit lengthy and includes players essential to their No. 1-rated offense.

No one expects quarterback Peyton Manning to miss the game, but he has sat out of practices this week. Meanwhile, running back Knowshon Moreno is nursing an ankle after rushing 37 times for 224 yards against New England, a game tight end Julius Thomas sat out with a sprained MCL.

Kansas City’s loss to San Diego extended a streak of non-covers at home. The Chiefs are just 20-33 against the spread at the once-feared Arrowhead since 2007, a span during which they’ve gone 2-4 straight-up and 3-3 against the spread at home against the Broncos.

Check below for all of this week’s picks in the Sun’s handicapping contest.

 

Case Keefer (2012 champion)

Record: 36-35-1 (6-0 last week)

Titans plus-4.5 at Colts

Chiefs plus-4.5 vs. Broncos

Browns minus-7 vs. Jaguars

Jets minus-1.5 vs. Dolphins

Rams plus-9 at 49ers

Seahawks minus-4.5 vs. Saints

 

Taylor Bern

Record: 33-38-1 (2-4 last week)

Chiefs plus-4.5 vs. Broncos

Eagles minus-3 vs. Cardinals

Dolphins plus-1.5 at Jets

Rams plus-9 at 49ers

Texans plus-7.5 vs. Patriots

Chargers minus-1.5 vs. Bengals

 

Ray Brewer

Record: 31-38-3 (1-4-1 last week)

Colts minus-4.5 vs. Titans

Buccaneers vs. Panthers over 41.5

Bears pick’em at Vikings

Eagles minus-3 vs. Cardinals

Falcons plus-3 at Bills

Giants minus-1.5 at Redskins

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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