Free Picks Kansas City Chiefs vs Cleveland Browns

Kansas City Chiefs vs Cleveland Browns - NFL Divisional Round
Kansas City Chiefs vs Cleveland Browns, NFL, Arrowhead Stadium

The Cleveland Browns (12-5) shocked the NFL world last weekend, burying the Pittsburgh Steelers on the road to earn their first playoff win since 1994. Their playoff path doesn’t get easier, though, as they’ll know face the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs (14-2), who should be rested and well prepared. Kansas City has the league’s top offense, while Cleveland’s defense showed how unsightly it can be last week.

Mahomes should make mincemeat out of Browns’ secondary

Would it be better for the Browns if head coach Kevin Stefanski just stayed home again?

We kid. The Browns are surely happy that Stefanski is on track to return to the sideline this weekend (he’s expected to be back inside the team’s facility on Thursday) for the franchise’s biggest game in over a quarter-century.

Cleveland already has its top cornerback, Denzel Ward, back from the reserve/COVID-19 list after missing last week’s win against Pittsburgh. Fellow corner Kevin Johnson (who started six games) is back too, and Pro Bowl offensive lineman Joel Bitonio is expected back soon, too.

That’s all well and good, but we’re not sure it’ll make a difference. The Kansas City Chiefs are 10-point favorites (-105 at Betway) on various betting sites, and for good reason. Reigning Super Bowl MVP winner Patrick Mahomes leads the Chiefs’ top-ranked total offense against a Browns team that could be subjected to a beatdown.

Cleveland has allowed the 22nd most passing yards and 25th most passing touchdowns this season, and they’re coming off a game in which Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger topped 500 yards through the air.

Even with Ward back on defense, the Browns will have their hands full against the Chiefs’ plethora of weapons. Travis Kelce led all tight ends in receiving yards and touchdowns, while Tyreek Hill can beat almost any defensive back in a dead sprint. Mecole Hardman is almost as quick, and Sammy Watkins brings veteran savvy to the receiver’s room.

Here’s the problem: the Chiefs are awful against the spread. They’ve lost seven of their past eight ATS, three of which saw them as double-digit-point favorites. But betting the Chiefs strictly on the money line (-526 at Betway) is really not worth it, value-wise, unless it’s part of a multi-game parlay.

So, then, can the Browns survive receiving 10 points? They are not stellar ATS this season (7-10), so we’d rather put our faith in Mahomes and Co.

Stats

  • Kansas City is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The OVER has cashed in six of the Chiefs’ past 10 games
  • Cleveland is 4-6 ATS in its past 10 games
  • The OVER has cashed in five of the Browns’ past seven games

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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University). You can follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHorrobin

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