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Bye’ding Time: On Extra Rest, Reid’s Chiefs Heavy Home Favorites Over Texans

Deshaun Watson’s strength in the pocket allowed Houston to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Despite trailing for most of the game, the Texans’ 22-19 overtime victory also earned them the -2.5-point cover to improve their 2019 record to 11-6 straight up and 8-8-1 against the spread. Houston is 5-2-1 ATS on the road this season.

Winners of six straight and thanks to the Dolphins’ Week 17 win over the Patriots, Kansas City earned the first-round bye. The Chiefs enter the postseason 12-4 straight up and 11-5 ATS, with six straight covers and a 4-1 ATS record at home over their past five games. 

Houston Texans vs Kansas City Chiefs

Opening Odds Analysis

The Chiefs opened as 7-point home favorites before an aggressive move to Kansas City -9.5 (some books have K.C. -10). Houston’s moneyline opened at +325 and the point total at 50. The total has gone UNDER in five of the Chiefs’ last six games with an average combined score of 39.33 and in four consecutive Texans’ road games with an average score of 41.25.

Houston News & Notes

Let’s be honest, if Deshaun Watson isn’t made of granite, there’s a good chance we’re writing about the Bills this week. To say Houston snatched victory from the jaws of defeat is putting it mildly. Josh Allen’s inexperience in the big moment really showed and handed Houston several opportunities to rally back and win (and cover) the game in overtime.

Buffalo rushed for 172 yards on 5.7 yards per carry, Allen passed for 264 yards and the team converted 11 of 21 third downs. However, four of the Bills’ drives stalled and Houston forced them to kick four field goals. While this is commendable, the Chiefs don’t need to reach the red zone nor cross midfield to attack Houston’s 29th-ranked pass defense. Whereas Allen let the Texans off the hook, Patrick Mahomes will rip your heart out if you hand him five scoring opportunities.

Some great news is that NFL Network reports wide receiver Will Fuller V is expected to return from a groin injury that kept him out the last few games. Granted, Fuller has returned from soft tissue injuries before and reinjured himself early in the next game. If he can give the Texans 60 minutes, the playbook opens up for Watson and DeAndre Hopkins. For now, Fuller is questionable.

Kansas City News & Notes

Andy Reid’s teams are 22-4 straight up and 17-9 against the spread all-time after a regular-season or postseason bye. Since joining the Chiefs, Reid is 6-3 SU and 5-4 ATS.

However, the betting trend that jumps out isn’t so much Reid’s win-loss record after an extra week to prepare, but the fact the UNDER has hit in 20 of the 26 games and in seven of nine games since he joined the Chiefs.

To reiterate, Kansas City’s offense may get most of the attention, but the Chiefs defense got healthy and more dominant the last two months of the season. The rush defense allowed just 87 rush yards per game and ranked sixth the last three games of the season. Their pass defense ranked eighth against the pass this season as they allowed just 221.4 yards per game.

On the injury front, starting safety Juan Thornhill tore his ACL in the Chiefs’ Week 17 win over the Chargers. Cornerback Morris Claiborne is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Chiefs: Key Defensive Metric Watch

Opposing offenses converted 50.8 percent of their red-zone trips into touchdowns against the Chiefs defense, the league’s ninth-lowest rate. Over their past three games, that rate has dipped to 42.8 percent.

Opposing offenses converted 37.1 percent of their third downs against the Chiefs defense, which ranked 12th in the league.

Betting Pick: Chiefs -9.5

On top of their improved defense, the Chiefs offense became more balanced down the stretch. Their 120 rush yards per game ranked 12th in the league and blended nicely with the fifth-ranked passing game.

When you add it all up, Kansas City rivals Baltimore as the most balanced team in these playoffs.

Shark Bites
  • The Texans are 1-7-1 ATS in their last 9 games after an ATS win.
  • The Chiefs are 6-0 SU and ATS in their last 6 games.
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Texans’ last 4 road games.