Broncos vs Chiefs Sunday Night Football Picks and Predictions: Bridgewater & Co. Can Hang Around in AFC West Clash

Oddsmakers believe in the Kansas City Chiefs and their ability to overcome the AFC West rival Denver Broncos in prime time at Arrowhead Stadium. But can they cover a huge spread? Find out in our Sunday Night Football betting picks for Broncos vs. Chiefs.

Last Updated: Dec 5, 2021 7:05 PM ET Read Time: 5 min

The battle for AFC West supremacy continues in prime time as the Denver Broncos travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs.

The Chiefs are coming off a bye week – big news if you’re a believer in Andy Reid – and have rattled off four consecutive wins after an inconsistent start to the season. Denver is also playing its best football at the right time, with wins in three of its last four games, including an impressive victory over the L.A. Chargers last Sunday.

Check out our free NFL picks and predictions for Broncos at Chiefs on December 5. 

Broncos vs Chiefs odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

Kansas City opened as low as -9 last Sunday and slowly climbed as high as -10 until midweek action on the Broncos started to chip away at that point spread. As it stands Sunday morning, Kansas City is as low as -8.5 and as big as -9.5. The total opened as high as 49.5 points and has slimmed to as low as 47 points. Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Broncos vs Chiefs predictions

Predictions made on 12/05/2021 at 8:30 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Broncos vs Chiefs game info

Location: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Date: Sunday, December 5, 2021
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
TV: NBC

Broncos at Chiefs betting preview

Weather

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Key injuries

Broncos: Melvin Gordon III RB (Out), Brett Rypien QB (Out), Essang Bassey CB (Out), Jamar Johnson S (Out), Mike Purcell NT (Out)
Chiefs: Shane Buechele QB (Out), Lucas Niang T (Out), Kyle Long T (Out), Rashad Fenton LB (Out)
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

These AFC West rivals have gone 1-4-1 Over/Under in their last six meetings. Find more NFL betting trends for Broncos vs. Chiefs.

Broncos vs Chiefs picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

If you were leaning toward the Broncos for this rivalry game, I hope you listened to my “Bet Now/Bet Later” advice last Sunday night and waited for that opener to jump to double digits before pulling the trigger on Denver +10.  

The Broncos have been a popular underdog option in Week 13, with this line trimmed to Chiefs -8.5 and our Covers Consensus showing close to 60% of picks on the visitors. Bookies are reporting similar splits and are very heavy on Broncos money as well, with some shops reporting as much as 91% of the handle on Denver.

Denver is playing much better than most teams catching this many points in Week 13 and things always seem to tighten up in divisional clashes. The Broncos are getting healthier on the offensive line, with Garett Bolles and Bobby Massie back at tackle, and the o-line showing strong depth over the past few games. 

That should help this passing attack get away from shorter screens and allow Teddy Bridgewater more time in the pocket to allow bigger plays to develop down field. Denver has some underrated weapons in the receiving game, with WR Jerry Jeudy working his way back from injury the past month and fellow WRs Courtland Sutton and Tim Patrick as well as TE Noah Fant all capable playmakers.

As for the Denver defense, it will have its hands full with the Chiefs’ loaded depth chart but puts plenty of speed on the field to counter those options with nickel formations utilizing a rich secondary. The Broncos can get beat up by the run with that game plan but don’t allow much over the top and don’t budge for big breaks to develop, giving up the seventh fewest yards after the catch and boast the fewest missed tackles on the season.

The best of the number is gone, and this line looks to be dropping at most books, so you may want to pass on play the Broncos. God knows you’ll need all the points you can get against the Chiefs at home and with Andy Reid coming off a bye week (19-3 SU, 14-8 ATS). There are some Denver +9.5 spreads still out there if you can shop around. 

Prediction: Denver +9.5 (-115)

The Chiefs have flipped the script on their season, building a four-game winning streak and giving up only 47 total points in that span. Kansas City is truly a brand-new team – especially on defense – than the one that showed all the stability of a baby deer through the first seven weeks of football.

Since Week 8, Kansas City ranks No. 3 in EPA allowed per play and has done this 180 in defensive dominance against some sound offensive opposition, holding Dallas and Las Vegas to a total of 23 collective points the past two games. 

A revitalized defensive line is behind this improvement, with defensive end Frank Clark and Chris Jones bookending a unit getting great pressure with just four rushers and allowing the linebackers and secondary to clog up the middle of the field.

The KC defense has limited opponents to a 22% success rate on third downs over the last three contests, while giving up an average of less than 17 first downs per game in that span. Denver enters Week 13 without top RB Melvin Gordon III and a third-down conversion rate of less than 38% on the season. While the Broncos have been better on those decisive third down spots in recent weeks, losing Gordon hurts when it comes to setting up third-and-short situations. 

As for the Chiefs offense, it continues to play below the franchise standards. Kansas City has scored 20 points or less in four of its last five games, with an EPA per play of just + 0.011 (15th) since Week 7. The recent return of RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (expected to play through illness) adds a new wrinkle to this playbook, not only adding rushing depth but a capable pass-catcher in the short game. 

Like most of Kansas City’s foes, the Broncos offense will likely play a little defense by chewing up the clock and keeping Patrick Mahomes & Co. on the sideline and out of sync. Bridgewater is a master at milking the time of possession with Denver running the third slowest offense (29.65 seconds per play) and eating up the seventh most TOP (31:23 per game) in the league.

Much like the point spread, the best of the number is gone for Under backers. But if you’re taking a swing at the total, Under looks like the lean.

Prediction: Under 47 (-110)

Edwards-Helaire is expected to suit up for the second straight game since returning from injury after showing up with a non-COVID illness on the injury report this week.

In Week 11, CEH carried the ball 12 times for 63 yards and reeled in two passes for 13 receiving yards in the win over Dallas. In limited work in 2021, the LSU product has just 10 catches on 12 targets for 74 yards through the air but will be a valuable weapon underneath on Sunday night.

The Broncos’ talented secondary will tie up anything deeper and Mahomes will have Edwards-Helaire as a top checkdown option. He showed rust in Week 11 but has had two weeks of reps to get that chemistry back within this playbook. 

Denver allows 9.5 yards per reception to running backs on the season and, according to Inside Edge, have given up an average of 57.7 receiving yards to RBs since Week 9, which is third worst in that span. The Chiefs' running backs have averaged 56.7 yards through the air in that same span (fifth most).

Pick: Clyde Edwards-Helaire Over 13.5 yards receiving (-110)

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