Kansas City Chiefs’ Covering The Spread Problem

By Malcolm Darnley | November 10, 2021, 8:30 am

Over their last 20 games, the Kansas City Chiefs are 14-6. That is a 70% winning percentage and equates to a 12-5 record over the course of a 17 game NFL season.

One would expect that a team winning 70% of their games over a long period of time would be a popular selection with bettors and that assumption would be correct.

Each week the Chiefs play, there are more bets on Kansas City to cover the spread than on their opposition to do the same.

However, over those same 20 games, the Chiefs have actually become a nightmare for chalk gamblers. Somehow a team that is 14-6 straight up is only 4-16 against the spread. (ATS)

From a gambling standpoint, that equates to only a 20% ATS success rate, leaving many of us frustrated with the Chiefs and also a little lighter in the pocket book.

The 2020 Chiefs – Lots Of Wins, Very Little Covers

Last season, KC had won 10 consecutive games, before finally snapping that streak with a Week 17 loss against the LA Chargers.

Many gamblers will remember that the Chiefs rested a lot of starters in that Week 17 loss and were instead preparing for a long playoff run.

What is really interesting about their long winning streak is that when you focus on only their last seven consecutive wins, somehow Kansas City covered the spread only one time. (7-0 SU, 1-6 ATS).

Wk 16AtlantaKCWin17-14KC-11No
Wk 15KCNew OrleansWin32-29KC-2.5Yes
Wk 14KCMiamiWin33-27KC-7.5No
Wk 13DenverKCWin22-16KC-13No
Wk 12KCBucsWin27-24KC-3.5No
Wk 11KCRaidersWin35-31KC-7.5No
Wk 10Bye WkBye WkN/AN/AN/AN/A
Wk 9CarolinaKCWin33-31KC-10No
Results from a 7-game Chiefs win streak. KC was 7-0 SU, but only 1-6 ATS.

That one cover was actually on the road against a very good New Orleans team that finished 12-4 and won the NFC South.

Also worth noting, the Chiefs went into Tampa Bay in Week 12 and beat Tom Brady and his Bucs by a field goal, but failed to cover what seems in hindsight as an unfair -3.5 spread.

KC also failed to cover the spread in games against Carolina, (5-11) Denver (5-11), and Atlanta. (4-12)

Overall, Kansas City won seven consecutive games with only a +27 point differential, which is an average of only four points per game. All seven of those wins were decided by less than a touchdown.

That stat alone, the fact that a team would win seven consecutive one-score games seems very unique and hard to do.

2021 Chiefs – Can’t Cover A Spread, Can’t Recover A Fumble

Since losing 31-9 in the Super Bowl to Tampa Bay, it’s fair to say that Kansas City is not quite the dominant team they were in 2020. At 5-4, they already have two more losses than all of last year, when they finished 14-2.

However, what has remained consistent from last year is that every time Kansas City takes the field, they do so as the betting favorite and they also regularly fail at covering the spread.

KC is only 2-7 ATS this season. In their defense, they have had a very difficult schedule to start, with games against Buffalo, Tennessee, Cleveland, Baltimore, and the Chargers.

Those five teams have a combined 28-14 record this year.

This season the Chiefs’ 22% success rate covering the spread ranks 31st out of 32 teams, with only the Washington Football Team (1-7 ATS, 2-6 SU) worse.

For perspective, the 0-8 Detroit Lions are 4-4 ATS this year.

The only two games the Chiefs successfully covered were against Washington (2-6 SU) and Philadelphia. (3-6 SU)

KC Chiefs And Some Interesting Takeaways

When researching the Chiefs over the last two seasons one stat that really jumps off the page is with their turnovers. Kansas City finished 2020 as the eighth-best team in overall turnover differential.

Patrick Mahomes had an incredible season last year, throwing 38 TD’s and only 6 INT’s. Through nine games in 2021, Mahomes already has 10 INT’s, and trails only Joe Burrow (11) and Sam Darnold (11) for the league lead.

It is believed that interceptions are more controllable (and fixable) than lost fumbles, which are considered by some to be a more random game occurrence stat.

If that is true, Kansas City may be due to some fortunate bounces in the near term.

Currently, the Chiefs have a league-worst nine lost fumbles and have recovered the ball only three times when their opposition has put it on the turf.

Also of interest is how the Chiefs perform ATS when they are more than a touchdown favorite.

Spread RangeSU ResultATS Results
As an underdog0-10-1
-0.5 – -32-22-2
-3.5 – -74-32-5
-7.5 and above8-00-8
Last 20 games. 8-0 as a -7.5 or more favorite. Failed to cover any of those 8 games

Kansas City clearly has a skill for winning football games. As a betting favorite, they are 14-5 SU in their last 19 games.

In games where they are more than a seven-point favorite, the Chiefs are a perfect 8-0 SU.

However, and it is big, however, Kansas City just does not blow out many teams, despite winning so many games. The Chiefs are 0-8 ATS when favored by 7.5 or more points.

Hard to believe that a team would win all eight of those games but fail to cover the spread in any of them.

At least bettors can use the knowledge that if they ever need one more team to fill out their moneyline parlay card, then KC has you covered, as long as you aren’t asking them to actually cover.

Don’t forget to check our betting preview for Chiefs vs. Raiders this week.