Tennessee Titans vs. Kansas City Chiefs – AFC Championship NFL Betting Analysis
Tennessee Titans (11-7 10-7-1 ATS) at Kansas City Chiefs (13-4 11-5-1 ATS)
The AFC title game is set and the Tennessee Titans head to Kansas City for the 2nd time this season to face the Chiefs, who are a 7.5-point betting favorite. The total for this game sits at 52.5.
The public money has been on the home Chiefs in this game, as they opened as a 7-point favorite and as of Wednesday are a 7.5-point favorite.
The Titans beat the Chiefs 35-32 in KC earlier this season, but can they do it again to reach the Super Bowl?
Tennessee’s run to this game has been more than impressive beating the Patriots and the AFC #1 seed Ravens on the road. In their last game, they beat the Ravens 28-12 even though they were outgained by 230 yards, but they forced soon-to-be-named MVP, Lamar Jackson, into having his worst game of the season with him coughing up the rock three times.
The Chiefs staked the Houston Texans a 24-0 lead last week at home and then for the rest of the game outscored them 51-7. KC made a ton of mistakes early but roared back and lit up Houston.
The two major questions in this conference title game are can the Chiefs’ D keep Derrick Henry from having another huge game and can the Tennessee D keep Patrick Mahomes from doing the same.
The Titans have covered the spread in their last four games facing the Chiefs.
Henry has Been a Beast
The main reason that Tennessee is in this AFC title game is the play of RB Derrick Henry. He rushed for 195 yards and passed for a TD averaging 6.5 yards per carry against the Ravens and against the Patriots in the previous game rushed for 182 yards. Not only has he rushed for at least 182 yards in each of the last three games but in the win over the Chiefs in KC early in the 2nd half of this season he rushed for 188 yards with two TD and averaged a sick 8.8 yards per carry.
Henry has torn it up in the playoffs and Ryan Tannehill has not had to do much. Still, when he has passed the ball he has been legit in the post-season. In the win over the Ravens, he was 7/14 for 88 yards with two TD and no picks. He only has 29 pass attempts in the last two games.
KC’s defense played much better in the 2nd half of the season with the main exception being the loss to the Titans. They rank a legit 8th in the league in pass defense and while only ranking 26th in run defense they held the Houston Texans to 94 rushing yards last week.
Mistakes and then Boom!
Last week at home the Chiefs beat the Texans 51-31 where they were down 24-0 and outscored Houston 51-7 the rest of the game. They had a blocked punt and a muffed punt return to go down big in the game but Mahomes brought them back.
Mahomes passed for 351 yards with five TD and no INT in the win over Houston and TE Travis Kelce and RB Damien Williams had 3 TD each. Once the Chiefs got hot they could not be stopped and can Tennessee, who gave up 530 yards in the win over the Ravens, keep Mahomes in check.
The Titans had two INT and one fumble recovery last week and in the win over the Pats iced the game with an INT late. With their D they have to force some turnovers in this game.
Tennessee only ranks 12th in the league defending the run and 26th defending the pass but in their two playoff wins, both on the road, they gave up 13 and 12 points respectively.
Most of the betting trends point to the Titans in this game. They are 5-0 ATS in their last five road games, 5-1 ATS in their last six games facing the Chiefs in KC, and they have covered in their last four games facing the Chiefs. Henry has been a beast but Mahomes and the KC offense will not be stopped. Henry will go big but will not go huge and the Chiefs will win at home covering the spread and advance to the Super Bowl.
PICK: Chiefs -7.5
Bettorsworld Pick – We went against our model in the GB/San Fran game and we are going to do the same here in this spot.
For this game, our model has KC winning by 7 and 6 when using full season and the last 7 games worth of data. When using only the last 4 games, the model predicts a Titans upset, 27-17.
We have to acknowledge what these Titans have done in the playoffs, knocking off the Patriots and Ravens, on the road no less. But we also have to point out that they did in fact lose 7 games this year and were proven to be vulnerable defensively against teams like the Saints and even these Chiefs, albeit in a win.
The Chiefs get the rare opportunity of returning to the AFC Championship game where they came up just short a year ago. We simply do not see them coming up short this time around.
Coming back from a 24-0 deficit to win by 20 last week solidifies the message that no one is going to stop these Chiefs this year.
Unlike the favorite 49ers in the NFC Championship, the Chiefs have in fact been able to extend margins this year, winning by a TD or more 10 times. We think they do so one more time as they punch their ticket to Super Bowl 54 with an exclamation point.
Chiefs -7 -120