Chiefs vs Raiders Week 18 Picks and Predictions: Mahomes Cooks on the Road

The Chiefs control their fate in the AFC playoff hierarchy, and a win over the lowly Raiders seems doable. See why our NFL picks like a motivated Pat Mahomes & Co. to close the regular season with authority.

Last Updated: Jan 7, 2023 1:30 PM ET Read Time: 4 min

The Kansas City Chiefs now know they will be playing for the No. 1 seed in the AFC when they visit the Las Vegas Raiders on Saturday afternoon. 

Kansas City (13-3) can clinch the top seed in Week 18 — though not necessarily home-field advantage in the AFC Championship — with a win over the Raiders due to the NFL’s decisions in the wake of the cancellation of the Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game on Monday night. 

That still leaves Kansas City with plenty to play for when it takes on a Las Vegas team that is playing out the strings this weekend. We’ll discuss whether it can get the job done in our NFL picks and predictions for Chiefs vs. Raiders on January 7.

Be sure to also check out our Chiefs vs. Raiders prop picks for more great bets!

Chiefs vs Raiders best odds

Chiefs vs Raiders picks and predictions

If the Chiefs win on Saturday, they’ll finish with the best winning percentage in the AFC. In the NFL’s eyes, that will be enough to award Kansas City the No. 1 seed. However, because of the late-season cancellation of the Bills/Bengals game, it’s still possible that an AFC Championship could be played at a neutral site if two of the Chiefs, Bills, and Bengals meet up in the conference title game.

Even with the specter of not getting a home game to play for a Super Bowl berth, the Chiefs still have plenty to play for on Saturday. If Kansas City clinches the No. 1 seed, it will earn the only bye in the AFC playoffs and an extra week to get healthy for the postseason.

To do so, the Chiefs only need to beat the Raiders (6-10), something they’ve done in nine of the last 10 meetings between the two teams. However, the first meeting between the teams this year was a lot closer than expected. Kansas City earned a 30-29 win over Las Vegas on Monday Night Football in Week 5 after falling behind 17-0 early.

After that point, the Chiefs took over, with quarterback Patrick Mahomes throwing four touchdown passes to tight end Travis Kelce in the win. It was the kind of performance that once again became commonplace for Kansas City this year, which led the NFL in points per game (29.1), passing yardage (305.1 yards per game), and total offensive yardage per game (417.7). 

Regardless of what happened in the first meeting, those numbers spell trouble for Vegas on Saturday. The Raiders possess one of the worst-rated defenses in the league in most categories. In particular, they’ve given up a lot of passing yardage (246.8 yards per game), while allowing opponents to average 24.2 points, which ranks just 25th in the NFL. 

Knowing they need this win to get the No. 1 seed, the Chiefs will come out firing. Unfortunately for the Raiders, there’s no reason to think they can keep up against a solid Kansas City defense. The Chiefs have held their last 12 opponents under 30 points. That’s hardly a Steel Curtain-esque shutdown of opposing offenses, but it has been more than enough to get wins with the Kansas City offense firing on all cylinders. 

To make things worse for the Raiders, they have a variety of issues on offense. Jarrett Stidham looked fine in his first career start last week, but it’s an open question as to what he’ll give Las Vegas long-term. Running back Josh Jacobs and receiver Davante Adams are also on the injury report, and both have been limited in practice this week. 

The Chiefs are the much better team, the more motivated team, and the healthier team at key positions. Las Vegas may have home-field advantage, but I fully expect Kansas City to put this game away as early as possible. With some sites offering lines as small as 8.5 points, I’m laying the number and taking the Chiefs on the spread.

My best bet: Chiefs -8.5 (-109 at Unibet

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Chiefs vs Raiders spread analysis

Kansas City opened Saturday’s game as a 10-point favorite. Over the course of the week, that number has come down a bit, and now there are a variety of numbers out there across the industry. 

Las Vegas has gone 8-8 against the spread this season, while Kansas City has been a disappointing 4-11-1 ATS on the year.

This would have been a much more difficult game to handicap if the NFL hadn’t made it clear to Kansas City that it would outright clinch the top seed with a win on Saturday. If there was some chance that the Chiefs might sit Mahomes and other stars, even for part of the game, I’d be more interested in looking at some props than playing the spread here.

As I said above, that leaves us looking at how well the Raiders can keep up with the Chiefs in a shootout. Stidham went 23-for-34 for 365 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions against the San Francisco 49ers last week, which is a promising sign for the young signal-caller. But one game isn’t nearly enough to make me believe in Stidham, and the two turnovers do raise some concerns.

There’s a large gap between these teams, and that will only be amplified by how much this game means to the Chiefs. I’m happy to lay the points with Kansas City.

Chiefs vs Raiders Over/Under analysis

The Over/Under for Saturday’s matchup opened at an already-high 50.5 points. That number has been bet up further during the week, and 52.5 is now the consensus total, with some books going up to a flat 53. 

There are plenty of reasons to think there will be lots of points scored on Saturday, many of which I’ve already broken down above. However, neither of these teams has been regularly playing to such big totals in recent weeks. Yes, the Raiders combined for 71 points with the 49ers last week, but that comes a week after they lost 13-10 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Looking at the recent past, Kansas City has played above 52.5 points in just three of its last nine games. Las Vegas has been similar, staying below that mark in seven of their past 10 contests. These aren’t teams that regularly go wild on the scoreboard.

Yes, the Chiefs should score plenty against the Raiders, but I’m not convinced that Las Vegas will come close to keeping up with them. This should be a relatively high-scoring game, but I think there’s a lot of value on the Under here, provided you lock in the total at 52.5 or higher.

Chiefs vs Raiders betting trend to know

The Chiefs are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 road games against the Raiders. Find more NFL betting trends for Chiefs vs. Raiders.

Chiefs vs Raiders game info

Location: Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas
Date: Saturday, January 7, 2023
Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. ET
Opening odds: Raiders +10, 50.5 O/U

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