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Nover: Bettors Should Monitor KC Injuries

Ben Roethlisberger and his sore right shoulder dominate the NFL Division Round injury news. There's also concern about the concussion status of Antonio Brown. The questionable health of these players is why Pittsburgh is plus 6.5 points instead of 3.5-point road underdogs against Denver.

What little leftover injury speculation goes to Marshawn Lynch and his drama.

Maclin Injury Notable for Divisional Round

But in terms of injury importance, Jeremy Maclin should rate up there, too. The Kansas City wide receiver suffered a right ankle sprain in his team's Wild Card Playoff victory against Houston. Maclin is considered questionable-to-doubtful to play against New England. The Patriots are five-point home favorites.

I'd rate about 15 wide receivers ahead of Maclin in terms of fantasy football value. However, in real football terms, Maclin is one of those rare wideouts whose presence should be worth something on the line.

Maclin is highly valuable because he's Kansas City's only wide receiving threat. Alex Smith is a sub-par quarterback, far more game manager than downfield threat. Maclin, who left Philadelphia after six years to play with the Chiefs this season, is the only wide receiver Smith has found any rapport with in the three seasons Smith has been with Kansas City.

Smith threw nine touchdown passes the previous two seasons to Chiefs wide receivers, none during 2014. This past regular season, Smith had 11 touchdown passes to wide receivers of which eight went to Maclin, who caught 87 passes for 1,088 yards. That was nearly twice as many receptions as all the other Kansas City wide receivers combined.

Conservative Chiefs Can Frustrate Bettors

The Chiefs are highly conservative even with Maclin. It had to be frustrating to those betting the over in the Chiefs-Texans game when Kansas City - leading 13-0 - received possession at its 38-yard line with 1:29 remaining in the first half and Andy Reid had Smith throw a short pass followed by two running plays and a punt with 31 seconds left.

So it's a huge plus to the Patriots and under the total if Maclin can't go, numbers not reflected in the betting line right now.

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