LAS VEGAS – In a league that prefers quarterback play, Patrick Mahomes has topped the elite class for a few years. This is why the Chiefs remain Super Bowl favorites after two early losses this season.
While many signs point to the downfall of Kansas City, the Mahomes Magic still convinces plenty of betters. The third defeat, a Sunday night blowout from the Bills, was a game changer.
The Buccaneers are the new Super Bowl favorites at 11/2 Odds (+550) at BetMGM, followed by Buffalo (6/1) and Kansas City 15/2 (+750). The Bills are AFC favorites at +240, 3/1 in front of the Chiefs.
“I think there is a change of guards, and right now, the Bills are looking like the best team,” said Michael Lombardi, a VSiN analyst and former NFL general manager. “I never thought the Chiefs would lose five games a year.”
Considering that the Chiefs finished 14-2 at the end of last season, their 2-3 record at this stage is stunning. Mahomes is not the same magician, and when he pulls the rabbit out of his helmet and wanders, the worst protection disappears.
Kansas City has lost twice, the Bills 38-20 in Week 5 and the Chargers in Week 30-24.
“Mahomes isn’t playing well,” Lombardi said. “When you can’t stop anybody and then you turn the ball over to the offense, your winning margin is really small. I think there is clearly a separation between good and bad in the NFL. The Bills are clearly on the good side. I’m not saying the Chiefs are bad.
The Chiefs have been on a bad bet for a long time, however, posting a 2-13-1 record against the spread from the center of last tu. What, then, is the problem? The problems are many.
After losing the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay in February, the Mahomes game fell behind a weak offensive line. The biggest downfall is in defense. Kansas City ranks last in defense (32.6 points per game) and 31st in yards (437.4).
Josh Allen led the Clippers, completing 15 passes for 315 yards and three touchdowns. Allen, who was not fired or intercepted, also ran for 59 yards. Buffalo managed the Defense Mahomes by forcing short throws, blocking big plays and eliminating their improved ability to create something.
Although the top line of chefs looked cheaper for some people at -2.5 to -3, this was not a win-win for the bookmakers, as the Bills have received plenty of betting measures.
“We adjusted the numbers based on the performance of the Chiefs,” said Vinnie Magliulo, a senior Las Vegas admaker and director of the Gaughan Gaming Sportsbook. “I think some betters are beginning to realize that teams have figured out how to protect the Chiefs and Mahomes. That’s the recipe for defeating the Chiefs.
“You just can’t win games by scoring a ton of points. You have to be able to play defense, and the Chiefs can’t do that. Now, the Chiefs are still a team to contend with and it’s still a topic in the playoff conversation. I’m not writing off the Chiefs.
The betting public is buying tickets to ride the Buffalo Bandwagon until further notice. The Bills are 4-0 ATS, winning by 35, 22, 40 and 18 points because of their early loss to the Steelers.
“Can the chiefs fix it?” Lombardi said. “Sure, they can, but they need to outdo the way teams play defensively.”
The Chiefs are a 6.5-point favorite in Washington this week, and the Washington defense has allowed 33.8 points in their last four games.
Meanwhile, the Chargers (4-1), Browns (3-2) and Ravens (3-1) are rising contenders in the AFC. Baltimore, which hosted the Colts on Monday, is a 3.5-point favorite against the Chargers in Week 6.
The Browns’ only losses came in road shootouts for the Chargers and Chiefs. Cleveland is a 2.5 point home favorite against Arizona.
The Cardinals (5-0) are the only unbeaten team in the NFL, but it’s their toughest test. The Browns are the league’s No. 1 rushing offense (187.6 yards per game) and boast.
“Is Buffalo the new team to beat?” Said Magliulo. “It’s definitely transitioning, and there’s definitely more balance in the AFC.
“In the last two years, have you heard who can beat the Chiefs in the AFC? Now the AFC is wide open, and the NFC is wide open and that’s good for our business.