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October 21, 2014

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Week 2 NFL picks against the spread for the Sun’s handicapping contest

Off of a 2-14 season, Kansas City Chiefs a surprising darling in sports books

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Jamaal Charles rushes in a game against the Saint Louis Rams in this file photo.

It doesn’t take long in Las Vegas for a team to shed the sleeper label and turn into a favorite.

Sun's NFL betting game of week 2

What’s the best bet in the Dallas Cowboys at Kansas City Chiefs game Sunday morning?
Cowboys +3 — 47.1%
Chiefs -3 — 25.6%
Under 46.5 — 15.0%
Over 46.5 — 12.3%

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.

This week’s case in point is the Kansas City Chiefs. A trendy pick to exceed their projections before the season began, the Chiefs drew money both on their over 7.5 win total and future odds to win the AFC West and Super Bowl.

One week of regular-season action was all it took to see the Kansas City buildup extend to its point spreads. Oddsmakers favor the Chiefs by more than one point at home for the first time in nearly two years this weekend.

They give up three points to the Dallas Cowboys in one of nine games kicking off at 10 Sunday morning. The over/under is installed at 46.5 points. All three sports writers competing in the Sun’s NFL handicapping contest expressed an opinion on the game in this week’s picks at the bottom of the page.

The line represents a 4.5-point swing in a few weeks, as Cantor Gaming’s full-season lines had listed the Cowboys at minus-1.5 in the Week 2 showdown all summer.

The teams’ opening salvos greatly altered perceptions. Although both won and covered in the process, the Cowboys’ 36-31 Sunday Night Football victory over the New York Giants was sloppier than the 4 a.m. casino-floor scene when the clubs start letting out.

Dallas could only eke out a victory despite benefiting from six turnovers. New York outgained Dallas by 147 yards and a staggering 3.6 yards per play.

The Cowboys also wound up with an injury report as long as a cocktail list. Hurt contributors include quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Dez Bryant, who are nursing rib and foot ailments respectively.

Both are expected to play against the Chiefs, who came out of their Week 1 contest looking invincible. Their defense shut out the Jaguars with constant pressure from the likes of defensive lineman Dontari Poe and linebacker Justin Houston in a 28-2 win.

The numbers accentuate the Chiefs' dominance. They held the Jaguars to 2.6 yards per play. Kansas City ranks first in Football Outsiders’ unadjusted DVOA ratings.

Jamaal Charles’ record for the most yards per carry by a running back in NFL history actually decreased as he only had 16 carries for 77 yards and a touchdown.

For two franchises that meet just once every four years — the Cowboys have beaten the Chiefs but not covered in both of the last two — this game has an abnormal amount of familiarity.

Most comes from new Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who faced the Cowboys at least twice per season in each of the last 14 years with the Eagles. Reid did the most with the opportunities, going 17-12 straight up and 16-12-1 against the spread versus Dallas.

Neither the Cowboys nor the Chiefs have been easy for bettors to back in recent years. They’ve each had only one profitable season against the spread since 2006.

But one of them will be well on their way this year with a 2-0 start after Sunday.

Find all of the picks for Week 2 of the Sun’s handicapping contest below. Games are listed in order of kickoff time.

 

Taylor Bern

Last Week: 3-3; Last Season: 48-50-4

Colts minus-2.5 vs. Dolphins

Bears minus-6 vs. Vikings

Chiefs minus-3 vs. Cowboys

Cardinals plus-1.5 vs. Lions

Broncos minus-5 at Giants

49ers plus-3 at Seahawks

 

Ray Brewer

Last Week: 2-3-1; Last Season: 47-53-2

Bills plus-3 vs. Panthers

Cowboys plus-3 at Chiefs

Rams vs. Falcons over 47

Giants plus-5 vs. Broncos

Cardinals plus-1.5 vs. Lions

Steelers plus-7 at Bengals

 

Case Keefer

Last Week: 2-4; Last Season: 54-47-1

Vikings plus-6 at Bears

Texans minus-9 vs. Titans

Buccaneers plus-3.5 vs. Saints

Panthers minus-3 at Bills

Cowboys vs. Chiefs under 46.5

Seahawks minus-3 vs. 49ers

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

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