Two polarizing teams will meet in Arrowhead on Sunday as the Buffalo Bills visit the Kansas City Chiefs who sit as slight -1.5 home favorites in the NFL odds.
With a tough passing matchup and the weather also being a factor, is there some value in fading some tertiary pass-catchers on the Bills? These guys could be afterthoughts in Buffalo’s offensive plans coming out of the bye, especially with a possible Dawson Knox return.
Bills vs Chiefs odds
Bills vs Chiefs predictions
The Buffalo Bills’ offense turned to more three-WR sets once tight end Dawson Knox hit the shelf in Week 8. Over those five games that Knox was out, receiver Khalil Shakir saw a big boost in snap share and had a 77% route share in Week 12 but was also fifth on the teams in targets despite a 47-yard performance.
The No. 3 receiver could see a big drop in snaps and routes this week as Knox was designated for return from IR and was a full go at practice on Wednesday. He has until Saturday to be officially activated but was in full pads on Thursday and the Bills bringing him in and running more 12-personnel could boost the run game vs. a susceptible rush defense.
Shakir averaged 50 snaps per game with Knox out and the offense going three-WR heavy. However, the receiver averaged 16.4 snaps per game with Knox in and never topped 24 snaps.
Looking at his routes with Knox in the lineup, Shakir averaged just 5.5 routes per game and less than a target per match. His receiving total opened at 40.5 yards (-114 to the Under) and that's an easy Under play for me.
Not only should his reps drop if Knox does suit up, but bettors are also getting a season-high number at 40.5. It closed at 31.5 vs. the Eagles in Week 12 and is still longer than his previous season-high mark of 35.5.
The worst-case scenario is Knox sits, but this is still a high number for Shakir even in his recent role. He's the fourth-best pass option on the team and the Bills could be running the ball more this week.
Double-digit winds are expected and there's a reason this total sits at 48.5 when each of the last five meetings have closed at 53 or higher. The Kansas City Chiefs defense ranks second in success rate vs. the pass and fourth in EPA/dropback.
THE BLITZ is also on board here as it is projecting 33.2 receiving yards making this Under one of the best +EV plays in this game.
With Knox looking more like a go than not, the Bills will change their offensive approach with more two-TE sets which could also include more running vs. a defense that is very injured at the linebacker position.
This number could close around 30.5 once the dust settles and Knox is confirmed to play. Shakir did not have a receiving total while Knox was in the lineup. I'd feel comfortable playing it down to 29.5 if Knox is a go.
My best bet: Khalil Shakir Under 40.5 receiving yards (-130 at PointsBet)
Picks made at time of writing may not reflect live odds.
Bills vs Chiefs same-game parlay
This is pending Knox's return. If the tight end is a go, that would improve the team's run rate, decrease reps from Shakir, and keep this game at a slower pace which favors the Under.
The Chiefs aren't getting in shootouts this year thanks to an elite defense and both teams have been profitable to the Under in 2023. The weather could also play a factor here which would benefit the run game as well.
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Bills vs Chiefs spread and Over/Under analysis
The Chiefs were -2.5 on the look-ahead and despite the 27-19 loss to the Packers on Sunday, they re-opened at the same number on Monday. However, the Bills took some money Wednesday thanks to the injuries on both sides.
The Bills are getting healthier coming out of the bye. Dawson Knox has been activated and corner Kaiir Elam has been designated and could return this Sunday as well.
On the other side, the Chiefs are down some important inside linebackers as starter Drue Tranquill is dealing with a concussion and is very doubtful as is starting safety Bryan Cook and starting left tackle Donovan Smith. Running back Isiah Pacheco is also dealing with a shoulder injury.
The Chiefs could get Nick Bolton back which would be a boost. He was designated to return from IR but has to be officially activated by Saturday as well. If he can’t go, it will be a massive boost for the Bills.
For bettors familiar with the Bills and Chiefs matchups in the Mahomes-Allen Era, this 48.5-point total might seem short. The last five meetings dating back to 2020 (four in KC) have all closed at 53 or higher.
This 48.5-point total is an indicator of both offenses’ struggles this year. The Chiefs are 8-5 but the defense has been the story of their season as this pass-catching group continues to disappoint outside of Rashee Rice. The Chiefs have not been a great play-from-behind team in 2023.
Combined, these two teams are 16-8 to the Under on the season and both offenses are slow-paced, ranking in the bottom third of the league in pace of play. There could be a lot of balls snapped with one or two seconds left on the play clock if this game stays in a neutral context.
Other betting notes:
- Patrick Mahomes is dealing with a pectoral injury despite his full-practice designation
- Isiah Pacheco had been taking a lot of the passing-role duties with Jerick McKinnon out but the latter looks like he will be back Sunday which should cut into Pacheco’s receiving role (if he is a full go).
- Rashee Rice has 171 yards on 16 catches (19 targets) over the last two weeks and has emerged as the No.1 option in this passing game.
- The Bills featured three running backs in Week 12. James Cook played 45% of the snaps and finished with a 16/43/0 line. Latavius Murray had a 43% snap share and a 9/30/0 line and finally, Ty Johnson played 11% of the snaps and had six carries for 19 rushing yards.
- Dawson Knox was averaging 23.5 routes per game when in the lineup but owned just a seven percent target share.
- The Chiefs rank 28th in second-half points per game at 6.9, which is 1.1 points worse than the Giants.
Bills vs Chiefs betting trend to know
The Chiefs have only gone Over the second-half total in four of their last 20 games (-13.85 units / -62% ROI). Find more NFL betting trends for Bills vs. Chiefs.
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Bills vs Chiefs game info
|GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
|Sunday, December 10, 2023
|4:25 p.m. ET
|Chiefs -2.5, 47.5
Bills vs Chiefs latest injuries
Bills vs Chiefs weather
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