The Washington Football Team (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS) hosts a wounded Kansas City Chiefs (2-3 SU, 1-4 ATS) this Sunday.
Both the Football Team and Chiefs will be anxious to add a tally to the win column after dropping Week 5 contests. It’s been a disappointing start for both teams, who entered the season with postseason aspirations.
Opening odds at several online sportsbooks pegged the Chiefs as 6.5-point favorites, but there has been some line movement in subsequent days.
The Defense Rests
In fairness to the Chiefs, the defense hasn’t been their calling card throughout Patrick Mahomes’ tenure as the starting quarterback. Playing average defense — or even a tick below — isn’t a death sentence when nobody can keep pace offensively.
The Chiefs are still scoring at a high clip — their 30.8 PPG ranks fifth in the NFL. However, as their ranking suggests, teams have caught up to their offensive exploits. Their three losses came to the Buffalo Bills (ranked No. 1 at 34.4 PPG), Los Angeles Chargers (7th, 28.4), and Baltimore Ravens (9th, 27.2). All three of those teams were able to get the stops or takeaways necessary to eventually prevail for victories.
While the Football Team is respectable offensively (12th, 24.6), they’re a class below the three teams that were able to take down Mahomes and Co.
The problem for Washington, however, isn’t the lack of ceiling their offense presents. It’s a defense that’s similarly atrocious to what the Chiefs have fielded. Per DVOA, an advanced efficiency metric, the Chiefs field the league’s worst defense and the Football Team the fifth-worst.
Traditional measures paint an equally bleak picture. The Chiefs rank dead last in scoring defense (32.6 PPG), one spot behind the Football Team (31.0 PPG). While the Chiefs will frown at their hapless defense, the Football Team pinned their postseason hopes on what was supposed to be a ferocious front four and bolstered back end.
Back On The Horse
The Chiefs haven’t done too much losing in recent seasons. They’re 1-1 straight up and against the spread after their first two losses in 2021. The Chiefs won and covered following their only “true” loss in 2020 — they rested most of their starters in their Week 17 defeat. They finished 2-1 SU and ATS after losses in 2019. And finally, they were 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS after dropping games in 2018.
A victory would certainly suffice for the Chiefs, who are aiming to even up their win-loss record. Sportsbooks have painted a promising picture on that front with money line odds reaching -320 (WynnBet).
DraftKings Sportsbook was one of several shops that opened the Chiefs as 6.5-point favorites. They were joined by FanDuel Sportsbook and Circa. All three books remain on that number as of Thursday morning.
Some sportsbooks, including WynnBet, have landed on the key number 7.
Speaking of DraftKings, they’ve been on the extremes in terms of the total. They opened the contest at 53.5 which was lower than most of the books in the market. That number has since ballooned to 56.5 and currently stands as one of the highest numbers available.
Both the Chiefs and Football Team have gone OVER in four of five contests. Siding with the OVER in this spot will certainly be appealing for bettors considering the utter lack of defensive proficiency demonstrated by each of these teams. The likelihood of one or both of these defenses making a 180-degree transformation in a matter of a week is low. Those who want to bet the OVER will likely find 55.5 as their best option.