October 21, 2021

Chiefs-Titans: Why You Need to Hammer the Over

In case you haven't noticed, the Kansas City Chiefs have endured an underwhelming start to the 2021 season, with the two-time defending AFC Champions seemingly solidifying their position as the class of their conference under significant threat.

The Chiefs have been unconvincing even in victory, as was the case in their win against the Washington Football Team in Week 6. While their mediocrity to this point has served as one of the most surprising aspects of the campaign, what is not in any way shocking is that all the Chiefs' matchups have been high-scoring.

In fact, Kansas City's 31-13 win in Washington was the Chiefs' first game this season to go under 50 points. The Chiefs are fifth in offensive scoring with 185 points while their defense is 29th in points allowed (176). With a still explosive if increasingly turnover-prone offense and a defense for whom stops have proven extremely hard to come by, the Chiefs are a team whose games consistently demand high point totals.

Sunday's matchup with the Tennessee Titans has the highest such total of Week 7, and there are several reasons why bettors should not hesitate to hammer the over in what looks destined to be another shootout for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

Per Oddshark, the points total for the Chiefs' trip to Nashville opened at 56. That has since jumped and now stands at 57.5 at both FanDuel and DraftKings. However, it is not one that should daunt bettors looking to put their faith in the respective offenses come Sunday.

Indeed, four of the six games involving the Chiefs this season have seen more than 57 points and a meeting with the Titans provides the perfect recipe for another scoring barrage.

Of course, high-scoring games involving Mahomes are nothing new. From his time in college at Texas Tech through his spectacular start to life as a pro with the Chiefs, Mahomes' career has been one partially defined by shootouts.

Yet arguably the greatest reason for confidence in the Chiefs and the Titans going over this weekend is not the remarkable talent of Kansas City's signal-caller, but the similarly stunning ineptitude of Steve Spagnuolo's defense.

The win over Washington marked the first time the Chiefs had held an opponent under 20 points this season, and that should not be expected to happen again this week. Kansas City is allowing a league-high 6.71 yards per play, with arguably the Chiefs' most significant vulnerability coming against opposing rushing attacks.

That does not bode well for a matchup with a running back in Derrick Henry, who is averaging over 130 yards per game. Henry is on pace to shatter Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record. Which, if you did not know, is quite an accomplishment. 

Until last week, the Chiefs hadn't succeeded in stopping anyone. It is foolish to think they can stop Henry. Expect a lot of yardage and points from the Titans' offense, which they will likely need to keep up with Mahomes.

Mahomes certainly has not been vintage Mahomes in 2021. He has thrown eight interceptions, which have come on uncharacteristically bad decisions. Yet he is still averaging 314.5 passing yards per game and has thrown a league-leading 18 touchdowns through six games.

He now gets to face a Tennessee defense that is ranked 24th in yards per pass play allowed, giving up 7.30, and has just five takeaways on the season, tied for 26th in the NFL.

Even with the miscues that have played a substantial role in an unusually inconsistent start to the season for the Chiefs, Mahomes is putting up numbers beyond many of the league's quarterbacks and shouldn't have much trouble moving the ball on a soft defense that struggles to produce momentum-changing turnovers.

The Chiefs have not lived up to expectations so far this season when it comes to their record, but they have predictably delivered the points that have become expected of this high-powered offense.

There is little to indicate Week 7 will see the Chiefs hold the Titans in check and deliver a blowout win. The defense has been too poor and the Titans are starting to heat up. The high total may put some bettors off, but those who trust six weeks of hard evidence and hammer the over will be rewarded. 

Both teams are a threat to score quickly and both defenses are shaky this season. The over is the easy play this week. 

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