Patrick Mahomes and the 8-1 Chiefs will be looking for revenge against Derek Carr and the 6-3 Raiders when they travel to Allegiant Stadium this Sunday night. The Raiders handed Kansas City their only loss of the season back on Oct. 11 at Arrowhead. This is sure to be a solid matchup.
Week 11 Prime Time Picks: Chiefs (-7) vs Raiders (+280) O/U 56.5 – All lines via DraftKings
Prime Time Picks: 11-9
AFC West Battle
It’s a battle of the top two teams in the AFC West in this one, with Chiefs atop the division at 8-1, and the 2nd place Raiders at 6-3 looking to close the gap and take down the defending Super Bowl champs. A win for the Chiefs would give them a stranglehold on the division, but a Vegas victory would make things a lot more interesting. These two teams come into this game rolling, as the Chiefs have won four in a row, and the Raiders have won three in a row. The Chiefs will be looking to avenge their only loss this season, as the Raiders defeated them in their own building back on October 11th by a score of 40-32. This will be Kansas City’s first road game in nearly a month, but the good news is that they are coming off a bye week so they should be plenty rested and ready to roll. It will be Las Vegas’ second home game in consecutive weeks, as they easily handled the Broncos 37-12 last week.
Tough to Slow Down Kansas City
The Kansas City offense continues to be dominant, and they are able to move the ball and put up points no matter who they are playing. Kansas City ranks at the top of the league in most offensive categories: 2nd in total yards per game (409), 2nd in passing yards per game (294.7), and 1st in points per game (31.8). They’ve put up 43, 35, and 33 points in their last three games, and even in their lone loss this season, they still put up 32 points and 413 total yards of offense. Patrick Mahomes is doing what Patrick Mahomes does, lighting up opposing defenses week-after-week. He is not turning the ball over, as he has 25 touchdown passes and just one interception this season. He is also as efficient as ever, as his 66.9% completion percentage is the best of his career thus far. His receiving weapons are all capable of big plays at any time, and RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire has provided a nice boost to the running game with 4.7 yards per carry, as well as being able to make plays catching passes out of the backfield. They added veteran RB LeVeon Bell to the equation as well, and although he isn’t exactly setting the world on fire, him and Edwards-Helaire provide a stable backfield.
In their first year in Las Vegas, the Raiders are playing very well and find themselves right in the middle of the playoff scenario. The Raiders offense is fairly balanced, as QB Derek Carr has steadily improved in the passing game, and the running game between Josh Jacobs (124 carries, 700 yards, 8 TD) and Devontae Booker (49 carries, 304 yards, 3 TD) has developed into a very solid 1-2 punch. Altogether, the Raiders rushing attack is 7th in the league, with an average of 139.2 yards per game. That should give the Chiefs rushing defense, which is 29th in the league, a lot of problems. Derek Carr has really taken a step forward this season, completing nearly 70% of his passes and throwing 16 touchdown passes and just two interceptions. Carr’s top receiving option is TE Darren Waller (53 catches, 431 yards, 4 TD), but WR’s Hunter Renfrow (29 catches, 399 yards, 2 TD), Nelson Agholor (18 catches, 355 yards, 5 TD) and Henry Ruggs III (13 catches, 251 yards, TD) all provide steady options to throw to.
What Is the Recipe for Success for Vegas?
The Chiefs are favored in this game, as they should be. They are the better team and the better offense. But the question becomes, is seven points too many, and what would Vegas have to do in order to not only cover the spread, but win the game? The answer is to run the ball. The Raiders have the rushing attack that can exploit the Chiefs weak rushing defense. In addition, running the ball can help move the clock and help keep Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs explosive offense on the sidelines. The Chiefs are giving up 4.8 YPC this season, and if the Raiders can run the ball effectively with Jacobs and Booker, not only will that help control the clock and time of possession, but it will open up the play action game and passing attack as a whole. Derek Carr hasn’t put up Mahomes-like numbers, but he has controlled games and not turned the ball over. If Vegas wants to sweep the season series, they need to establish the run to set up the pass in order to win.
Will It Work?
In the first matchup, it did. The Raiders mixed the run with the pass very well and were able to outscore the Chiefs which is very rare. Jacobs and Booker were able to lead the Vegas running game that ran 35 times for 144 yards and 2 TD’s. That setup Derek Carr for a big day through the air, where he threw for 347 yards and 3 TD’s. However, Carr has not hit those numbers lately, as he has gone three straight games with under 170 yards passing. But, he has not thrown any interceptions in those games, and has attempted under 25 passes in all three games. The Chiefs passing defense is far better than their rushing defense, as they are 8th in the league allowing 215.7 yards per game through the air. If the Chiefs can limit the run, and hold their own against the pass, they have a good chance of limiting this Raiders offense.
Betting Trends in This Series
Both teams are 6-3 ATS this season, and while the Raiders are just 2-2 SU at home, the Chiefs are 4-0 SU on the road. In this series, the home team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings. That favors the Raiders. However, the Chiefs are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 meetings on the road against the Raiders, and the favorite is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings. Those numbers favor the Chiefs. Those numbers may be a little arbitrary, but two trends that I think stand out are that the Chiefs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following an ATS loss (they failed to cover their last game against Carolina), and the Raiders are 6-16 ATS in their last 22 games following a straight up win (they beat Denver last week). Take these numbers as you will, but it seems that Kansas City has an edge in the betting trends department.
I think the Chiefs will win this game. I just don’t see them getting swept by the Raiders in the season series this year. The question then becomes, can they cover the seven points? I think yes. In the time that Patrick Mahomes has been leading the Chiefs, they are 4-1 against the Raiders, and their four wins have been by 7, 32, 18, and 31 points. The Raiders gave them problems in their first matchup, but I think head coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs will have a great game plan coming off a bye. I think Kansas City will be extremely motivated on the road in this spot, and that extra week to prepare will benefit them greatly. It’s just so hard to bet against Mahomes and this offense, which is capable of striking at any moment regardless of who they are playing. The Raiders defense isn’t anything special (21st in total yards, 25th in passing yards,19th in total points), and I think Mahomes and company will be able to move the ball and find the end zone often. The Chiefs defense has their problems, but surprisingly they are 6th in total points, allowing 20.3 points per game. I think they will do just enough to hold the Raiders at bay, while the offense does what they do best–trust Patrick Mahomes and get the ball in the hands of their explosive playmakers. Give me KC -7.
Title Photo: Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports
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