Bills vs Chiefs Picks | NFL Week 14
Regular readers are familiar with my weekly column — How to Bet Every Game & Every Team — so let’s run the format back for Sunday Night Football and find an Bills vs. Chiefs pick for each side. Be sure to come back every Saturday for picks for the full slate each week.
For now, let’s get into my Bills vs. Chiefs picks on Sunday night.
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What you need to know:
- There’s plenty of recent history between these teams. Most memorable was the 13 seconds at the end of regulation in the playoff game that still haunts Buffalo. Patrick Mahomes is 3-2 against Josh Allen, including 2-0 in the playoffs, and this will be the fifth of the six matchups in Kansas City. The road team won all three previous regular-season matchups — so Allen is 2-0 in Kansas City in the regular season — and the games have been super high scoring, averaging 57 PPG.
- Neither team is particularly happy with how things are trending over the past five weeks. The Chiefs rank around league average offensively and below average passing, and they also rank last against the run by DVOA. The Bills are actually running the ball very effectively, and a defense that briefly cratered has rebounded somewhat to around league-average.
- Two of my favorite, most reliable trends go head-to-head, so good luck choosing. Josh Allen is incredible as an underdog at 16-9 ATS (64%) and a 35% ROI on the moneyline, but Patrick Mahomes as a three-point favorite or anything worse is 15-5-1 ATS lifetime (75%). He’s also 16-3 straight up after a loss, so trends won’t help us here.
- Buffalo is coming off a much-needed bye week, so the Bills have a major rest advantage. It looks like they’ll also have a real health advantage. The Chiefs will be missing four starters in RB Isaiah Pacheco, LT Donovan Smith, LB Drue Tranquill, and S Bryan Cook, though it does look like LB Nick Bolton could return. With all those injuries, this one is close to a pick’em now.
- Both teams badly need this one. Kansas City needs to find some offensive rhythm and still hopes to contend for the AFC 1-seed, and Buffalo might need to run the table to make the playoffs.
How to bet the Bills:
1. Josh Allen over 30.5 rushing yards & escalator
2. Gabriel Davis 80+ receiving yards & Anytime TD SGP (+1400)
We usually get points in this matchup, so that sets up well for prop overs.
Josh Allen rushing overs are the first thing I look for in every big Buffalo game. The pattern for years now has been the Bills saving Allen’s legs in less important games, then dialing up designed runs and extra scrambles in the games that matter most. Allen has the most EPA on QB scrambles this season, and the numbers from recent years speak for themselves.
In 22 games against non-playoff teams over the past two years, Allen has run 6.4 times for 39.5 yards. In 16 games against playoff teams, those numbers spike to 8.7 rushes for 53.0 yards. This year, in four games against presumed playoff games, Allen’s at 7.8 runs for 44.5 yards and over this line in three of the four, compared to just 4.4 carries for 20.5 yards in the other eight games.
This prop has been money against the Chiefs in particular. Allen has at least seven rushes and at least 32 yards in all five games against Kansas City, averaging 9.2 carries for 57.8 yards and going over this line in all five at 32, 59, 42, 68, and 88 yards. All the better if Chiefs linebackers Nick Bolton and Drue Tranquill are still out. I’ll play multiple units on Over 30.5 and also sprinkle 50+ yards at +320 with just a dash of hope on 75+ yards at +1425 (bet365).
Remember Gabriel Davis? Chiefs fans do. Davis lit up Kansas City for 201 yards and four scores in that aforementioned playoff matchup, and he could be in for another big game here. Trent McDuffie has done a great job against opposing WR1s, but the Chiefs rank bottom 10 against WR2s by DVOA. Check out some of the lines allowed by Kansas City this season to WR2s: Christian Kirk 11/110, Allen Lazard 3/61/1, Jordan Addison 6/64/1, Josh Palmer 5/133, Jerry Jeudy 2/50/1, DeVonta Smith 6/99 and Jakobi Meyers 6/79/1.
Davis has been feast or famine this season, so there’s no use playing a median outcome. If he pops, he really pops, usually with at least one long touchdown. Davis has had at least five catches for 80 yards and a score in four games already this season. We can play an SGP for just 80 yards and an anytime TD.
How to bet the Chiefs:
1. Fourth quarter over 13.5
2. Both teams to score in 4th quarter (-170, bet365)
3. Jerick McKinnon over 16.5 receiving yards (-119, BetRivers) & 50+ receiving yards (+1075, bet365)
These teams are so evenly matched. Both offenses are obviously great, led by the best two quarterbacks in the league, and both power rushing attacks are underrated. The Chiefs have the better defense, but are trending down while the Bills are trending up. This game is being priced correctly as a coin flip and these matchups usually come down to whoever scores last.
One thing that’s been consistent across the Mahomes vs. Allen duels: things tend to start out a bit slow, then pick up for a torrid fourth quarter finish. Buffalo’s offense has been worse in the first half this season and Kansas City is better early, so that fits the script. Both teams have scored in the fourth quarter of all five matchups so far, with 10, 28, 14, 16 and 13 points in those games. That’s an average of 16.2 PPG in the final stanza as Mahomes and Allen unleash everything in their arsenal.
The Bills rank top three in most receptions and yards allowed to opposing backs, and they’ve already allowed four RBs this season to catch at least five passes for 50 yards. Jerick McKinnon had 5/54 in that playoff shootout, and he’s a dangerous weapon and a terrific pass blocker so he could be on the field a lot with Isaiah Pacheco out and Clyde Edwards-Helaire untrustworthy. I’ll play McKinnon over 16.5 receiving yards (BetRivers), a ridiculously low line he’s gone over in 6-of-10 games even in this quiet season.
McKinnon hasn’t hit 50 receiving yards this year but did it four times the back half of last season and led the league’s RBs in receiving DVOA and EPA, and he can get most of that on one long play with his speed, so I’m compelled to play the 50+ receiving yards at +1075 (bet365) as a mis-priced escalator.
1. Josh Allen over 30.5 rushing yards & escalator
2. Gabriel Davis 80 yards & TD SGP (+1400)
3. Jerick McKinnon over 16.5 receiving yards & 50+ escalator (+1075)
I was all set to bet the Bills here and considered Buffalo +3 on The Lookahead, but waited hoping to snag a +3.5 and now it’s gone the other way and squashed the value. I still like Buffalo, but I’m betting the Bills now by playing their props. I love the Allen rushing prop, and the Davis line looks way off too. By the way, if you want to get wild, Davis for 80 and a TD with 50 Allen rushing yards is +4500 at PointsBet.
The other way to play the Bills is by getting aggressive in the futures market. If Buffalo wins here, I’ll like them again against the Cowboys next week. If they win both of those, everything changes. The Bills are still live to win the division in that scenario (+1700, Caesars), and if Buffalo wins out with a huge finish from Allen, he might still be live to steal the MVP at +5000 (BetRivers).
Buffalo is good, the defense has bounced back, and this still feels wide open. I love the McKinnon escalator too. I’m playing it all.
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