At this point in the NFL season, there aren’t many surprises. You will see the occasional shocker — like the Texans beating the Chargers — but upsets are tougher to predict the final two weeks. Favorites covered the majority of the games only three times in the first 10 weeks of the season. Since then, they have done it five times in the last six weeks. The betting market has matured with 16 weeks of data under its belt. The weekly lines are very efficient, making it more challenging to find edges. As bettors, we need to refine our process as well.
Gauging a team’s motivation is critical as some teams are already looking toward next year. The Jacksonville Jaguars released a list of the head coaching candidates they will be interviewing. The New York Giants shut down Daniel Jones and publicly committed to him being the quarterback of the future. Five of the seven underdogs that covered last week won on the moneyline, which increased the hit rate on the season to 72%. There is still value in the underdogs, but I need motivated ones I can trust.
The best motivation is taking on a top team right before the postseason. This week I am tackling arguably the two hottest teams in the league at some attractive odds. As they say, scared money doesn’t make money. I am betting our brashness pays off in a big way as these teams test themselves against the league’s elite.
All lines via BetMGM.
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) looks to hand off to running back Derrick Gore (40) in the third quarter against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Dec. 26, 2021. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Chiefs backers from early in the season are taking victory laps as Kansas City has positioned itself to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC. They are now favorites at +400 to win the Super Bowl. Andy Reid’s offense leads the NFL in offensive success rate and has ripped off 6.5 yards per play over the last three weeks — second best in the NFL. Guess who is first? Joe Burrow’s Cincinnati Bengals.
I wouldn’t dare compare the two offenses because KC is in a league of its own. However, I am impressed with the maturation of Zac Taylor as a play-caller. The Bengals have beaten teams in a variety of ways, effectively using Joe Mixon as a runner and a receiver. Cincinnati is fifth in net yards per play and its 5.9 yards per play on the season is tied with K.C. and Dallas. A young ascending team with something to prove in front of its home crowd will be a real test for K.C.’s defense. The Chiefs’ eight-game winning streak only included two …….