Sunday sports betting caps off with a primetime offering that begs the question: When does that flex scheduling start, anyway?
It’s a mismatch in the AFC West as the Broncos travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. Our NFL injury report handicaps everything you need to know about the largest of the NFL point spreads on the board this week. Thoughts on the sportsbook installing Kansas City as a nearly two-touchdown favorite to help you make your NFL picks follow?
|Game: Broncos (4-7) vs Chiefs (10-1)
Location: Arrowhead Stadium
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Fun division-rivalry trivia: Now in the eighth year of his coaching tenure with the Kansas City Chiefs, Andy Reid has faced off against the Denver Broncos 15 times. He lost the first five, mostly against coach John Fox. Since then, the Broncos are on their fourth coach and Reid’s Chiefs won ten consecutive games in the series (by an average of 13.7 points).
Broncos vs Chiefs Betting Lines
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Last Sunday, millions of people who otherwise have zero enthusiasm for football became interested in the story of the hapless team with no quarterback when the Denver Broncos’ COVID news broke. The team panicked, given their obligation to play a game in under 24 hours with no active QB on the roster.
When the dust finally settled, the Broncos signed Pat Shurmur’s kid Kyle, played Kendall Hinton (whose gear is on its way to Canton), burned the game tape, issued a bunch of fines, and finally, on Tuesday, activated Drew Lock, Brett Rypien, and Blake Bortles from the COVID-IR (IR-C).
With the Broncos back to what could loosely be considered “full” strength at quarterback, they will also return DT Shelby Harris from the IR-C. Harris tested positive and hasn’t played since Week 8. (Currently, only patient-zero of the quarterback COVID conundrum, Jeff Driskel, and WR/KR Diontae Spencer remain on that list.)
In a loss to a secondary not well equipped to handle it, CB Bryce Callahan aggravated the same foot with which he’s struggled since last season, badly enough to land him on injured reserve. Also, for a second consecutive week, S Trey Marshall (leg) is their only declared player out for Sunday.
On the plus side for the defense, OLB Malik Reed worked back to full practice by Friday though still listed questionable. His injury detail changed from ankle to shin midweek, but they’re sort of connected and it seems like whatever aches might not keep him from playing again this Sunday night. Next to him, the Broncos also activated ILB Mark Barron from injured reserve in that sneaky way that suggests he could show up at kickoff dressed and ready to play — for the first time of the season, as would be the case for Barron.
Same on the offense, where FB/TE Andrew Beck missed the last six games with a wounded hamstring. He’s been activated from injured reserve and shouldn’t be a surprise to see him playing Sunday night.
Denver should also have RB Phillip Lindsay (knee) and WR Jerry Jeudy (ankle) active after sustaining injury last week. Linday’s injury merited an MRI and a second opinion, but he practiced fully on Friday and seems to have beaten the early-week odds against playing. Jeudy’s injury was not as severe, and both players should be able to go despite their questionable tags.
Finally, the Broncos claimed S Will Parks off waivers from the Eagles, but he won’t clear COVID protocol and be wearing his old team uniform again until next week.
Kansas City Chiefs
For the second consecutive time, the shortest, most uneventful (thus, good) injury report of the week belongs to the Kansas City Chiefs. Even Sammy Watkins’ hamstring reports in at full strength.
They did lose WOLB Dorian O’Daniel to injured reserve with a high-ankle sprain sustained in last Sunday’s game.
The only other issue regarding the Chiefs might come down to something like tainted chili at the Arrowhead Cafeteria. Both CB Bashaud Breeland and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire came down with similar symptoms that coach Andy Reid described as a “stomach deal.”. Whatever was going on in their digestive tracts lasted a few days. Breeland missed the early part of the week’s practice but fully participated Friday. Edwards-Helaire took ill a day later, missed Friday and is still listed questionable but is fully expected to play Sunday night.
Not counting the return of the quarantine quarterbacks, Denver will have a few new players on the field to help try to stave off an onslaught. (Hey, the O-line is stabilizing and Shelby Harris is back!) Some sharp bettors seem thrilled to catch two touchdowns with the Broncos because the point spread opened at 13½, moved to 14, and got bought down to the opening 13½.
While the Broncos are bolstering their roster, a bunch of other Broncos like Lindsay and Jeudy will hobble back into action to play through the injury. Harris has already admitted to being on a snap count. Much worse is the loss of the closest thing Denver has to a shutdown corner, Bryce Callahan. If Chiefs’ WR Tyreek Hill doesn’t have a field day, it’ll be because Denver assigned both Michael Ojemudia and A.J. Bouye to two-man blanket coverage, and everyone else on the Chiefs runs wild, scoring their own touchdown.
The Chiefs could name the score in this game (or at least their own) and few teams consider that like Andy Reid’s Chiefs. The only thing stopping a play on laying -13½ with Kansas City is the understanding that Reid generally doesn’t humiliate inferior teams with runaway scores. Moreover, he likes Broncos’ coach Vic Fangio and isn’t naive to how much short-term damage could be caused if they went out of their way to try and hang 50 on Denver. The Chiefs’ 27-point browbeating of the Broncos back in Week 7 resulted more from Denver’s ineptitude with the football than a Chiefs’ offensive assault.
The line being what it is, we’d take a strong lean to the Kansas City Chiefs -13½. But if the sharps and line movers decide they’d like to take that down to 13 or less, we’d happily play it.
The total took a jump from its open of 48½ up to 51, at which time money came for the under and it dropped to its current number of 50½. With the weather not forecast to be a factor in the game, we missed the value early in the week but would still play over 50½ (but probably pass if it floats back up to 51).
Looking for a single-game, end-of-the-night, action-junkie teaser? It’s pricey, but a 7-point teaser with the Kansas City Chiefs -6½ and over 43½ pays -140 and by our guess hits more than 60% of the time.