Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs were the story of the first half of the NFL season thanks to their historic offense. But they cooled off a bit down the stretch and now must face their playoff demons when they welcome the hottest team in NFL to town, as the Indianapolis Colts enter this matchup having won 10 of their last 11. We break down the best ways to wager this AFC Divisional showdown.
The Chiefs opened their season winning nine of their first 10 games, covering the spread in eight of those contests. But, they won just three of their final six games down the stretch, going 1-4-1 ATS, and two of those wins were against the Raiders.
Now, the questions about whether the Chiefs will ever win another playoff game at Arrowhead are back. Kansas City is 0-6 in its last six playoff games at home. The last win at home came in 1992, when Joe Montana was quarterback. Mahomes wasn’t born yet.
So, how do they Chiefs halt that skid? By getting off to a good start and there was no better team in the NFL at doing that than the Chiefs. Kansas City ranks first in first quarter scoring at a whopping 9.2 points per game. That is more than 2.5 points better than the next closest team. The Colts have a solid defense, but they can be thrown on at times.
Meanwhile, the red-hot Colts and Andrew Luck specifically, get to go up against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. This one should go over the first quarter total.
Prediction: First quarter total – Over 10.5 (+105)
FIRST HALF BET
Speaking of Luck, is numbers have been unreal during the Colts run. Over the last 11 games he is completing 68.7 percent of his passes for 3,023 yards with 25 touchdowns compared to just eight interceptions with a passer rating of 107.1.
Luck’s awesomeness has allowed a healthy Marlon Mack to rumble all over some great run defenses over the last few weeks. (Dallas, Tennessee and Houston). And now they both get to go up against a Chiefs defense, that we mentioned before, is bad. Like, really bad. They rank 31st in yards allowed per game, 31st in passing yards per game and 31st in opponents rush yards per game. The Colts first half total is way too low here.
Prediction: First half team total – Colts Over 12.5 (-125)
Luck’s chemistry with Hilton has been unreal during this run. But the Chiefs will try to do everything they can to limit thee Colts’ burner. Instead, let’s look at Luck’s secondary targets.
Eric Ebron has revitalized his career in Indy, hauling in 69 catches for a team-leading 14 touchdowns. He faces a Chiefs defense that ranks 28th in yards allowed to tight ends and 31st in touchdowns allowed to tight ends, as well as 31st in red zone defense. We like Ebron to score again in this one. But also take a look at Dontrelle Inman to go Over his reception total. He and Lucks are getting on the same page, has at least four catches and a touchdown in each of the last three games.
Prediction: Ebron to score at any time (+110) & Inman Over 3.5 receptions (-125)
FULL GAME TOTAL
The Chiefs were the NFL’s highest scoring offense (35.3 points per game) thanks to the likely MVP Mahomes. The sophomore gunslinger threw for 5,097 yards on 66 percent passing with a massive 50 touchdowns while throwing just 12 interceptions. And while the Colts are as balanced a team as there is left in the playoffs and the numbers on defense are impressive. But like we said before, the Colts can be thrown on. In fact, the Colts rank 31st in the NFL in opponent’s completion percentage at 69.9. And they definitely haven’t faced an offensive like the Chiefs during this run of theirs, and maybe not all season.
And we’ve already said we think Luck and the Colts is going to be able to score in this matchup. So, we’re thinking we’ve got a shootout on our hands. Take Over the number now before it gets higher as kickoff approaches.
Prediction: Over 56.5 (-110)
FULL GAME SIDE
This was truly a special season for Mahomes and the Chiefs offense. But the loss of Kareem Hunt has hurt. And the real question is, can a defense with more holes in it than swiss cheese do enough to not just top Luck, Mack and Hilton, but cover 5.5 points? That prospect gets even tougher with the news that safety Eric Berry might miss this game after not practicing all week.
To make matters worse, the Chiefs one strength on defense is sacking the quarterback. The Colts have allowed Luck to get sack just eight times in the last 11 games and just shut out J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
On the other hand, Mahomes has fantastic weapons with the likes of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce. But it is very hard to trust a team to cover a number like this with a defense this bad. And it’s a playoff game that Andy Reid is coaching. So, you can expect at least one misused timeout and some poor clock management at the end of the game. The Chiefs may end their cruel home losing streak, but the Colts are playing too well right now. They’re going to need some Mahomes magic to pull out a win late.
Prediction: Colts +5.5