Network Notebook: Chiefs in Another Huge NFL Game!
IT'S LIKE A BROKEN RECORD...RED HOT CHIEFS ARE ONCE AGAIN IN A MARQUEE TV MATCHUP
You know the Kansas City Chiefs have to be the biggest story in the NFL right now because we keep talking about them in JIM HURLEY'S HANDICAPPING NOTEBOOK. Not only are they undefeated...but they're undefeated against a schedule that includes high quality teams.
*Beat New England BAD in the season opener
*Didn't let down against new NFC power Philadelphia
*Coasted past the LA Chargers
*Survived resurgent Washington in a Monday nighter
*Had no trouble with improved Houston last Sunday night
That was possibly four playoff teams in five games...though Houston's season is much more dicey with all of those defensive injuries. And, Kansas City continues to look very legitimate across the board. They're 5-0, without running into the likes of Cleveland, Indianapolis, or San Francisco. Sure, the Chargers are struggling...but that was at least a road game against a divisional rival that showed up to play. Great stuff.
And, NOW the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town!
Super Bowl futures prices rate New England, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh as the three teams most likely to go the distance this season. Should the Chiefs take care of the Steelers this week...that would clearly make them the statistical frontrunner. The market might not adjust because everyone loves betting New England. KC would be the value choice with a 6-0 mark against a tough schedule.
This has become a tricky game to handicap at -4...because Pittsburgh isn't playing at all like they were expected.
*Only beat horrible Cleveland by 3 in the season opener
*Lucked into facing Case Keenum of the Vikes
*Lost on the road at lowly Chicago
*Beat Baltimore because Joe Flacco is playing hurt
*Embarrassed at home by Jacksonville
Pittsburgh is 3-2, but hasn't faced a healthy high-quality opponent yet. Their opposing quarterbacks have been Deshone Kizer, Case Keenum, Sean Glennon, a hobbled Joe Flacco, and perpetually bad Blake Bortles. Going 3-2 when you're favored to win ALL FIVE games by a field goal or more isn't very good. Particularly against that slate of quarterbacks. No wonder Ben Roethlisberger is thinking about retirement.
If you're looking only at recent stats, or running computer simulations based only on this season's stats...you're going to get Kansas City winning by at least 10. They've played well vs. a tough schedule, are healthy, and are clearly in playoff (possibly championship) form right now. Pittsburgh has played poorly vs. a weak schedule, is dealing with behind-the-scenes turmoil involving unhappy players, and will get run off the field Sunday afternoon if they don't get their heads on straight.
All that said...the Vegas point spread is only KC -4.5. Not -7. Not -10. But, just a bit over a field goal. What's going on?
Our sources behind the line are telling us that many professional gamblers are much higher on Pittsburgh as an underdog than as a favorite. There's still a lot of talent here. There's still a quality quarterback who is more the victim of a temporarily dysfunctional offense than the cause (plus one who can come through the backdoor with a TD in the final minutes if the team is down by 10-11 late). There's still a lot of pride...which really comes into play in a spot like this.
From the Chiefs...despite the great record, they had to sweat the endings against both Philadelphia and Washington on this field. They don't have an offense that runs away and hides from opponents unless the opposing defense just no-shows (as New England did in the opener), or unless cheap points are gifted from the opponent. Roethlisberger kept handing TD's to Jacksonville last week. Is he going to do that two Sundays in a row?
JIM HURLEY is watching this one very closely because he knows it's the game EVERYONE wants to bet. Both the Sunday night and Monday night games this week are lemons, relatively speaking. The best matchup of the weekend in the NFC was already played Thursday night. THIS IS THE GAME of the weekend in the NFL. We never force plays just because a game is in TV. But, we do look in every nook and cranny to find edges for our clients.
Have you been struggling on your own? JIM HURLEY has a few BLOCKBUSTERS on tap for his clients. You can purchase all of our college and pro football BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, please call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 to take care of business. Don't forget to ask about combination packages with the MLB playoffs (what great matchups with Yankees/Astros and Cubs/Dodgers) or with the NBA (just about to start!)
Back with you Monday to preview a big college football game for Week 8. We are looking at Oklahoma/Kansas State, Oklahoma State/Texas (whoever wins OU/Texas might determine our preview!), Michigan/Penn State, and USC/Notre Dame. Some good teams are finally starting to run into each other! Get ready for a great run through the second half of the season.
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