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Chiefs Open as 3-Point Chalk to Bills for Sunday AFC Championship

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All eyes are on Kansas City this week in anticipation of the AFC Championship Game.  Leading up to Sunday’s matchup is the ultimate NFL betting question.  Will Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes be able to answer the bell?  Specifically, Mahomes has an undisclosed injury.  Most believe the injury is a concussion, although that is denied.  But the fact remains he had to leave last week’s playoff game against the Cleveland Browns.  Mahomes is the NFL’s ultimate impact player.  Although most observers believe he’ll play, the concern is if he’ll be 100-percent. As for Buffalo, they’re the hottest team in football.

2020 AFC Championship Game  

NFL Betting:  Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs

When:  Sunday, January 24, 2021, 6:40 p.m. ET

Where:  Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

TV:  CBS

CashBet Odds:  Buffalo Bills +3 at Kansas City Chiefs -3, Total 53

Bills at Chiefs CashBet Betting Odds Analysis 

On this occasion, the defending Super Bowl betting champions get the benefit of the doubt.  Kansas City’s status as first seed and the home team calculated as well.  But gamblers are taking a liking to Buffalo.  They have become the most profitable team at US Sportsbooks.  Casual gamblers will fret over Mahomes.  Sharper bettors want confirmation on his status.  As a result, in-game “live” betting is going to draw plenty of action too.  Gamblers see this as a game that will have considerable ebb and flow.

Buffalo Paying the Bills 

Overall, the Bills are 15-3 straight up, 12-6 against the spread, and 11-6-1 over the total.  Buffalo has beaten the pointspread in nine of their last ten games. And that hasn’t gone unnoticed by gamblers.  In the playoffs, the Bills beat Indianapolis 27-24.  Ironically, they failed to cover as 7-point chalk.  Last week Buffalo beat Baltimore 17-3 as 2.5-point chalk.  This season marked the first time in 25 years that the Bills won a playoff game.

Why are the Bills Successful?  

Quarterback Josh Allen was Buffalo’s first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.  Allen played in Wyoming and wasn’t well known.  He was granted on the job training in 2018 and 2019 and rapidly improved.  But this season was a breakthrough.  Allen threw for 4544 yards with 37 touchdown passes and just ten interceptions.  And then his quarterback rating was 107.2.

On the whole, Allen has played with an increased confidence level.  His first two years saw moments of hesitation.  Also, he lacked a go-to receiver.  This year that problem has been solved.  Namely, wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught 127 passes for 1535 yards and eight touchdowns.  Diggs was a crucial factor in increasing Allen’s confidence.  Second-ranked in the NFL for scoring offense demonstrates Buffalo’s best evidence of contender status.

Defensively the Bills were more inconsistent.  But in the win over the Ravens last week, they rendered quarterback Lamar Jackson helpless. In turn, Buffalo ranks second in the NFL for takeaways.

Why are the Chiefs Successful?

Kansas City has evolved from a one-dimensional team into a complete one.  Two years ago, the Chiefs were defenseless in their AFC championship game loss to New England.  However, those problems ended with the hiring of defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.  Spagnuolo quickly made the unit serviceable for 2019.  And it was good enough to assist in a Super Bowl title.  This year the Chiefs defense became an NFL betting asset.  Kansas City bends but doesn’t break. To illustrate, they ranked 10th for points allowed.

Of course, the man that makes the Chiefs go is Mahomes.  In 2018 he was the NFL Most Valuable Player.  And he was Super Bowl Most Valuable Player last year.  Mahomes allows the Chiefs the luxury of margin for error.  Kansas City often screws around for the first three-quarters of a game before Mahomes brings them back.  This trait has served to infuriate gamblers.  To show, the Chiefs were 14-2 straight up but just 7-9 against the spread. Kansas City is said to be a team playing with a lightswitch.  And there are concerns they will eventually pay.

Chiefs Paint Gamblers Red – A Gambling Lesson in Value 

How can a team win so many games but lose so many bets?  As mentioned earlier, part of that has to do with incomplete performances.  But another factor just as important is public demand.  For the 2018 and 2019 seasons, the Chiefs were one of the board’s biggest moneymakers.  But this year, the public was all too enamored with Kansas City.  Two years of success and the Super Bowl title were a draw to casual gamblers.

Oddsmakers were well aware of this.  Since the men who make the line want equal betting action on both sides, they adjusted the price.  Kansas City was “taxed” for its popularity with the masses. Specifically, oddsmakers tacked on extra points to chase away prospective gamblers.  As a result, if the Chiefs weren’t perfect, they’d win the game and lose the bet.

What to Watch For 

Buffalo is a young and hungry team.  On this occasion, they are playing with a confident hot hand.  Kansas City is the defending champion.  Accordingly, they compiled the best record in the AFC.  What worries gamblers is that they often seemed off their game.  They did just enough to sneak by.  And against an emerging contender like the Bills, that could prove fatal.

Assuming Mahomes is healthy, there are still questions. Will he be able to lead the Chiefs to a complete game performance?  So too is the question of the Chiefs containing Josh Allen.

On the other hand, the Bills defense will have its hands full.  Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is the best at his position.  While wide receiver Tyreek Hill is a game-breaker.  Running back Darrel Williams has averaged 6.0 yards per rush in relief of Clyde Edwards Helaire.

The Secret Weapon That Could Make the Difference

Kansas City kicker Harrison Butker is 121 of 134 on field goals for his career.  Further, he can hit from long range with no problem.  Butker may be the difference-maker at US Sportsbooks.

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