Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NFL Predictions 2014 Week 13: Broncos Vs. Chiefs

Denver Broncos Vs. Kansas City Chiefs: DEN -1.5 (Pinnacle)

Market Watch

This point spread has all the ingredients needed for a good ole tug-o-war.  In the look-ahead line, Westgate listed the Broncos as -2.5 point favorites. After the dust settled on Week 12, it reopened at the same number, but early money quickly came in on the Chiefs. Since then we've seen it go back and forth, and late money has come in on KC, who now sit as the slight favorite. At the counter, 74% of the bets are on the Broncos.

Bottom Line

So what will the "sharps" do for this game? They must be scratching their heads because just two weeks ago they were on Seattle and it backfired on them. Will they jump back on the KC bandwagon, or will they side with the "public" and take Denver?

I don't think there is a wrong answer for this game. A legitimate case could be made for either side.

The last time the Chiefs had a prime-time home game they whipped up on the Patriots. They've been underrated and undervalued for most of the year, and one could say that's the case again this week. They are 4-1 at home, and they've covered every spread in those wins too. In a close game, special teams could be a huge advantage - KC rank 4th by DVOA, Denver rank 29th.  KC's offense have been deadly in the red zone all year and rank 3rd in the league. The Broncos D is only 22nd in that area.

Yet, despite all this, I prefer to go with the Broncos in this spot. The simple explanation is that they are just the better team on both sides of the ball. The offense ranks 1st in the NFL, while the defense ranks 4th. The Chiefs are 9th and 18th respectively. KC thrive on controlling the ball and converting long drives into scores. Well, the Denver D is the best in the league on third down, and they usually get to play with a lead.  When Denver get inside the 20, look for them to pass because nobody has a higher red zone conversion rate in the air than them. Conversely, KC are only 22nd in passing red zone defense.

Normally, I take a pass when a strong argument could be made for both sides, but I think the cream will rise to the top and the Broncos walk away with the win. It won't surprise me if KC win, but they'll need a lot more to go right to pull it off.

NFL Pick: DEN -1.5.

Read moreWeek 13 picks.