The Chiefs are coming off a stellar campaign that saw them crowned division champs in the competitive AFC West with a 12-4 straight-up record, which included an even more impressive 6-0 SU (5-1 ATS) mark within the division.
Furthermore, they started the season with a ho-hum 2-2 SU record heading into their Week 5 bye and then went 10-2 the rest of the season, only losing those two games by scores of 19-17 (vs Tampa Bay, vs Tennessee) and recording six straight road wins in the final three months of the season.
Entering the new season, like all teams, there are some questions and possible stumbling blocks. How will Spencer Ware and Tyreek Hill follow up great seasons? Is that run defense going to be improved? Is Bennie Logan an upgrade over Dontari Poe? Plenty of questions linger, plus there is the issue of the AFC West having the hardest schedule in football with the Chiefs owning the NFL’s toughest.
The postseason loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers was a blow and that is essentially the story for this franchise and quarterback Alex Smith.
The Chiefs have consistently put up impressive regular seasons since Smith moved from San Francisco in 2013. In 61 regular-season games under center in K.C., he’s put up a record of 41-20. Pretty damn good no matter how you cut it.
The problem is, he just can’t get them to the AFC championship game. In fact, in four postseason games, he’s just 1-3. Much like I wrote in my Dallas Cowboys preview, there are some hurdles to overcome before I’m comfortable backing the Chiefs in certain futures markets.
Speaking of futures, here’s a look at some of Kansas City’s markets entering the 2017 season with odds courtesy Sportsbook:
Super Bowl +2800
So much value here, it makes me want to hit the book right now. But, again, err on the side of caution and think twice here. This team hasn’t even been to an AFC championship game since 1993 when Dave Krieg filled in for an injured Joe Montana under center in a 30-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
I do like Alex Smith, but I just don’t think he’s a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. He was not good in that 18-16 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers last year, going 20-34 for a paltry 172 yards, one touchdown and one pick, yielding a quarterback rating of 69.7.
This is a regular-season team you can probably bet with relative confidence week to week (9-7 ATS last year, 6-2 ATS on the road, 3-1 ATS as dogs) but in terms of futures, be cautious.
AFC West +240
Deciding between the AFC West and NFC East being the superior division is a good debate. Personally, gimme the NFC East, but this division is no joke either.
The Chiefs won the division last season, ending a five-year Denver Broncos reign, and are second on the board at +240 behind the Oakland Raiders at +160. The Raiders bandwagon is almost full but I’m firmly on board. I think they are the team to beat in what will be a tightly contested division.
But you know what? A shot at this price is worth it. The defense is good and the young weapons that emerged on the offensive side of the ball look great and progress will be integral to their success. But at +240? I'll take a shot here.
Win Total – 9
Again, the parallels with the NFC East are in effect here. This is going to be a highly competitive division where, considering the strength of schedules across the board, the division Sportsbook might be a 10-6 team or 11-5 at best.
Right off the bat, the Chiefs are in New England for a Week 1 Thursday nighter so that will be a telling contest. Extremely winnable games versus the Eagles (Week 2), Chargers (vs Week 3, @ Week 15), versus the Bills (Week 12), at the Jets (Week 13) and versus the Dolphins (Week 16) SHOULD make up more than half that cashed OVER right there. Can they win four more? It’ll be tough, but this should be a solid play with the -125 price.
Andy Reid to Win Coach of the Year +2000
I mean, Smith is out there at +10000 to throw the most passing yards, but you’d be crazy to take that. Spencer Ware and Travis Kelce are around +5000 to lead the NFL in rushing yards and receiving yards respectively. So those are available for those looking for season-long props with much, much longer odds.
Backing Reid to win Coach of the Year feels a bit more feasible.
Reid won the award with the Eagles back in 2002 and probably could have won more. In four years with the Chiefs, he’s finished second in Coach of the Year voting twice (2013, 2015) and received a vote last year. He’s hit the double-digit win mark in 11 of his 18 years as an NFL head coach including three of four with the Chiefs.
This is going to be a big year for the Chiefs, but if you’re a believer in them to, at the very least, win the competitive AFC West, give this prop bet a shot at +2000.
Odds as of August 19 at Sportsbook