This week’s AFC West battle features one team battling for playoff seeding and another with nothing to play for.
The Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) head to Colorado to take on the Denver Broncos (7-9) in a game that really only means something for the Chiefs.
After a slow start to the season, the Chiefs have gotten their groove back and are in position to finish as a top-two seed in the AFC.
For Kansas City, the task is simple. With a win, the Chiefs will fall no lower than the No. 2 seed and could still take the AFC’s top spot if the Texans upset the Titans on Sunday. With a loss, they could fall as low as No. 4.
While it’s tough to predict what will happen leading up to this afternoon kickoff on Saturday, we’ll at least know that the Chiefs have something to play for in Denver.
Please note that all NFL gameday odds are current as of 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday, January 7.
Chiefs vs Broncos Prediction
There are a few scenarios at play heading into this game. If the Titans win against the Texans, they’ll be the AFC’s top seed, regardless of what Kansas City does here.
This scenario is the most likely, but the Titans have already lost to the Texans once this year, and it’s the NFL, so we’ve got the “any given Sunday" factor at play as well.
The Chiefs are coming off a tough last-second loss to the Bengals last week, but have been playing great football over the last two months. They’d won eight-straight heading into that loss and are arguably the most dangerous team in the NFL.
Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce are all healthy, and that’s bad news for Denver (and the rest of the league).
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The Broncos, however, are backing into the offseason having lost their last three games.
They’ve had to rely upon Drew Lock at quarterback and haven’t scored more than 13 points in any of their last three games. They’re also dealing with a robust reserve/COVID list, so there’s quite a bit of roster uncertainty for the Broncos as well.
While we won’t know exactly which seed Kansas City earns until Sunday, we at least know they’re well-positioned to improve their record to 12-5.
Prediction: Chiefs 27, Broncos 12
Chiefs vs Broncos Best Bets
Best Bet: Chiefs -11 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
The Broncos are at home, but that’s about all they have going for them this week. They’re playing with a backup (lame duck) quarterback who probably won’t be an NFL starter next year, they’re dealing with a myriad of players either still on or just coming off the COVID list, and they’ve been eliminated from the playoffs.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, can still give themselves a shot at a first-round bye and home-field advantage with a win, and could drop in the AFC playoff standings with a loss. Simply put, the Chiefs still have a lot to play for.
Whether or not all of that will translate to a 11-plus point win is an open question (and one that makes me drop my confidence a bit), but all of those factors combine together to make me think the Chiefs will win this one and win it big.
Best Bet: Chiefs Moneyline (-550) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
There honestly isn’t a whole lot of value to be had on this bet, but I also don’t see a way in which the Chiefs lose this game. They’re the superior team, they have a lot more to play for, and the Broncos are still rolling out Lock at quarterback. The only thing really going against the Chiefs is that they’re on the road.
With all that’s at stake for the Chiefs (along with their superior roster), I don’t see any way they lose this game. The only question is how much they win by.
Best Bet: Under 45 Total Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
The Chiefs come in fourth in the NFL at 28.3 points scored per game, while the Broncos are in the bottom-10 at 19.4 points per game. The Chiefs haven’t scored less than 31 points in any of their last three games, while the Broncos haven’t topped 13 during that timespan.
On the flip side of the ball, Denver’s defense has allowed the third-fewest points per game at 18.4, while the Chiefs rank in the middle of the league at 21.3 points allowed per game.
I don’t think the Broncos will be able to do much on offense, so the Chiefs would have to carry any potential Over here. While I think the Chiefs could easily score 30, I have a tough time seeing how the Broncos will eclipse 10-13 points, so I’m going to lock in the Under.
Nick Raducanu’s 2021 NFL Team Vs Team Betting Record: 23-10, +15 Units
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