NFL

Sunday Night Football Betting: Will the Chiefs Snap Out of Their Funk?

The Kansas City Chiefs are 2.5-point road favorites tonight over the Las Vegas Raiders, per FanDuel Sportsbook. The total is set at 52.0 points.

Our metrics don't particularly love either of these teams. We have the Raiders (19th overall) ranked slightly higher than the Chiefs (21st). It's been a rough campaign for a KC squad that has played in back-to-back Super Bowls and three straight AFC title games.

Let's dive into some interesting betting angles for this contest.

Quantifying Mahomes' Struggles

With Kansas City, as one may presume, offensive conversations must start with Patrick Mahomes.

Using our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, Mahomes clocks in barely above the 2021 league average with a mark of 0.17 Passing NEP per drop back. While he has thrown for more than 2,500 yards and 20 touchdowns, Mahomes' 10 interceptions drag down his metrics. He's also taken 17 sacks, which isn't helping matters, either.

On the other side of the field, Derek Carr has been marginally better than Mahomes. He's posted 0.22 Passing NEP per drop back on 312 drop backs, but he's found the end zone just 13 times. He's averaged 8.2 yards per attempt, which ranks seventh this season and is well above Mahomes' clip of 7.0.

In KC's backfield, Clyde Edwards-Helaire has been injured for a long stretch, which has led to Darrel Williams assuming lead-back duties. Williams has been pretty good, logging 0.05 Rushing NEP per rush. He's also snagged 22 receptions.

For the Raiders, Josh Jacobs has returned from early-season bumps, but his -0.04 Rushing NEP per carry shows he hasn't been the most efficient runner. He has, however, been more involved this year as a pass-catcher, totaling at least three catches in four of his last five games.

Defensively, it's been a struggle for the Chiefs while the Raiders have managed to put together a decent unit. Our numbers rank KC 5th-worst in overall D, and Vegas checks in 16th.

Bets to Consider

With KC a slim 2.5-point favorite and the total at 52.0 points, where should you have your money for this one, according to our numbers?

We are projecting this to be a very tight affair and see it as a nail-biting 26.50-25.21 victory for Kansas City. We give the Raiders a 50.29% chance of covering the spread. Given the Chiefs' struggles to cover -- they have done so only twice in their last 10 games -- backing Vegas to cover isn't a bad idea.

We also give the under a 52.31% chance of hitting.

One player prop our projections like is the over on Derek Carr's passing yards. The line currently stands at 286.5 yards, but we have him throwing for 301.0 yards against a Chiefs defense that we rank eighth-worst versus the pass. Slam this puppy.

Historical Betting Trends

-- Betting on the Chiefs has been a losing proposition. They are 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 games.
-- Vegas has been no betting wonder, either. They are 2-4 against the spread in their last six games.
-- The under has hit four of the last five KC games.