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The UNDER in Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) at Las Vegas Raiders (6-10) Saturday in Week 18 at Allegiant Stadium looks super juicy thanks to a massive overreaction to Raiders backup QB Jarrett Stidham‘s debut last week.
First-year Raiders coach Josh McDaniels threw now-former Vegas starting QB Derek Carr under the bus and benched him for Stidham.
Las Vegas responded by lighting up the San Francisco’s NFL-best defense for 500 total yards in the Raiders’ 37-34 overtime loss in Week 17.
Stidham completed 23-of-34 passes for 365 yards with 3/2 TD/INT vs. the Niners. The 49ers’ defense allowed the second-most points and second-most yards to Vegas of any opponent they’ve faced this year.
KC was the San Francisco opponent who put up the most yards and points. The Chiefs have won four straight and the Over has cashed in three of those contests. They squeaked past the Broncos 27-24 at home last week.
Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is running away in the NFL MVP race as -750 favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook. Kansas City has by far the highest offensive EPA/play in the NFL.
In fact, the Chiefs’ offensive EPA/play (0.173) is nearly as far ahead of the second-place Bills (0.113) as Buffalo is from the ninth-place Jaguars (0.051). So KC games having high totals makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is this total.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Chiefs (-410), Raiders (+330)
- Against the spread (ATS): Chiefs -9 (-110), Raiders +9 (-110)
- TOTAL — 52 — Over: -115, UNDER (-105)
Other notable Chiefs totals
A Stidham-led offense is being priced in a neighbor it doesn’t belong. Let’s go through some of the other KC games with high totals and compare them to Chiefs-Raiders.
- 54 at the Cardinals with Kyler Murray in Week 1
- 52.5 and 53 vs. the Chargers with Justin Herbert in Weeks 2 and 11
- 51.5 vs. the Raiders with Derek Carr in Week 5
- 54.5 vs. the Bills with Josh Allen in Week 6
- 51.5 vs. the Jaguars with Trevor Lawrence in Week 10
- 53.5 at the Bengals with Joe Burrow in Week 13
This total is clearly due to an overreaction to how well Vegas did in Stidham’s first start. But, I’m literally betting he cannot do that again
Fading Raiders QB Jarrett Stidham
I’m pretty much calling “bullshit” on Stidham’s Week 17 performance. Remember, this is the same Stidham who couldn’t beat out Cam Newton for QB at the 2020 New England Patriots when Newton was awful.
Sure, Stidham was great vs. the Niners last week and he had the best completion rate over expectation in the league, per NFL’s Next Gen stats. But, can Stidham be that accurate two weeks in a row?
The 49ers could’ve easily slept on the Raiders since Sunday was New Year’s Day. San Francisco players spent New Year’s Eve night in Las Vegas. Trust me, these guys weren’t up late studying game film in Sin City.
Plus there wasn’t even game film on Stidham to study. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo have something to work with and can begin to crack the Stidham-code this week.
The public perceives the Chiefs as being a bad defensive team. However, Spagnuolo is a legit defensive innovator and multiple-time Super Bowl champion as a defensive coordinator.
With that in mind …
Kansas City’s defense is actually pretty good
The Chiefs are seventh in defensive pressure rate, 10th in yards per play allowed, and 12th in defensive success rate. Their defensive line has an edge over Raiders’ offensive line in the trenches, per Pro Football (PFF).
Furthermore, Chiefs All-Pro DT Chris Jones is one of the best defensive players in the NFL and all three of Vegas’ interior lineman have a below-average PFF grade.
Jones tied a season-high with five pressures on Carr earlier this year. He had a strip-sack fumble recovery on Carr overturned at the end of the first half because of a bogus roughing the passer penalty.
Kansas City pressured Carr on 33.3% of his dropbacks and the NFL-high is the Cowboys at 25.6%. Say what you will about Carr but he’s definitely better than Stidham and better at adjusting pre-snap protections.
In addition, as a result of the NFL’s ruling of the tragic Bills-Bengals’ Damar Hamlin situation, with a win, the Chiefs can ensure they don’t have to go to Buffalo for the AFC title game.
I.e. this isn’t a meaningless game for Kansas City and we should see a full effort from the Chiefs on both sides of the ball. Also, both offenses have put up clunkers this season.
Per Football Outsiders, KC is 28th in offensive variance and Las Vegas is 29th. Perhaps the offenses no-show or the defenses show up for this end-of-the-season divisional battle.
Finally, this is a …
‘Pros vs. Joe’s game in the betting market for the total
Per Pregame.com, more than 60% of the money is on the Over in the consensus market. Whereas nearly three-fourths of the bets placed are on the Under. The cash column is considered the sharp side of the betting splits because professionals wager a lot more dough than you or I.
On top of that, the public likes to bet Overs in primetime games. Chiefs-Raiders is an “island” game and part of an NFL Saturday doubleheader. Primetime games are 20-32-2 Over/Under this season.
BET: UNDER 52 in Chiefs-Raiders (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook
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