Matchups Week 3: Chiefs vs. Colts

Chiefs vs. Colts

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1-1)

Spread: Colts +6.5.

Game Total: 47.

Team Totals: Colts (20.25), Chiefs (26.75)

Weather: Dome.

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Colts +6.5, with some Colts +7 options available.
  • This line has moved down to Colts +5.5 as of Thursday morning.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Colts +5.5.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Colts +6.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest releases their lines Thursday afternoon.
  • This total opened at 47 points.
  • This total has moved up to 49.5 points as of Thursday morning.

Notable Injuries

Colts: WR Michael Pittman Jr. (Questionable), WR Alec Pierce (Questionable), DT DeForest Buckner (Questionable), DE Yannick Ngakoue (Questionable), LB Shaquille Leonard (Questionable).

Chiefs: CB Trent McDuffie (IR), WR Mecole Hardman (Questionable).

The Colts Offense vs. the Chiefs Defense

The Colts have a top-10 caliber offensive line, while the Chiefs have a fringe top-10 front four. We should treat this trench matchup as a relative draw.

Matt Ryan playing in an outdoor weather game was one of the factors that led to the Colts being shut out in Jacksonville last week. The other significant factor was Michael Pittman Jr. and rookie Alec Pierce missed last week’s contest, reducing Colts pass catchers to a replacement level group. If the Colts hope to push the Chiefs in this contest, Pittman is Indianapolis’s only difference-making receiver.

Notes and Observations

  • The Colts are 0-2 against the spread this season.
  • The Colts are 0-2 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Ryan is currently second in the league with 4 interceptions.
  • Jonathan Taylor is currently third in the league in rushing with 215 yards on the ground. Taylor has also run the third most routes among running backs with 48 this season.
  • The Chiefs have allowed the eighth fewest rushing yards and the seventh-fewest yards per carry to running backs through the first two games. Kansas City has allowed the fourth most yards receiving on the most receptions to running backs this season.
  • Pittman missed last week’s matchup in Jacksonville. In Week 1, Pittman led Colts wide receivers with a 26.5% target share and a 36% share of team air yards.
  • Colts’ tight ends have been a relative non-factor so far this season, with Kylen Granson getting more reps than Mo Alie-Cox so far. 

The Chiefs Offense vs. the Colts Defense

The Chiefs have a top-five caliber offensive line, while the Colts have a fringe top-ten front four. Since Kansas City is playing the Colts in Indianapolis, I’ll treat this trench matchup as a relative draw. 

Colts stud linebacker Shaquille Leonard has not played yet this season. Premium DT DeForest Buckner and CB Kenny Moore played in Jacksonville despite being on the injury report. Buckner is listed as questionable this week as of this writing. Indianapolis needs the core of their defense ready to go against the high-powered Chiefs. Missing Leonard, in particular, will make the already daunting task of managing Travis Kelce even more challenging.

Notes and Observations

  • The Chiefs are 1-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Chiefs are 1-1 on overs this season.
  • After destroying the Cardinals’ bottom-tier group of cornerbacks on opening day, Mahomes was solid against the Chargers, throwing for 235 yards and two scores.
  • Per The Edge, Clyde Edwards-Helaire is 16th in rushing yards and fifth in yards receiving among running backs through the first two weeks.
  • The Colts’ defense has given up the 13th fewest yards rushing and the 13th most yards receiving to running backs this season.
  • Travis Kelce is the expected alpha in the Chiefs’ passing attack (92 snaps, 61 routes run, 21.9% target share, 27.5% team air yards share).
  • Wide receivers JuJu Smith-Schuster (84 snaps, 60 routes run, 15.1% target share, 14.9% team air yards share) and Marquez Valdes-Scantling (93 snaps, 63 routes run, 15.1% target share, 18.2% team air yards share) are the very nearly even secondary options in Kansas City’s passing attack.
  • Indianapolis has surrendered the eighth fewest yards receiving on the 12th fewest receptions to opposing wide receivers.
  • Shaquille Leonard missing the first two contests certainly impacts this figure, but the Colts have given up the second most PPR points to inline tight ends this season.
  • Per TruMedia, Kelce has seen 34.4% of his snaps as an inline tight end through the first two games.

This is What You’re Betting On in Colts vs. Chiefs

A bet on the Colts is a bet on a struggling team bouncing back in a big way in their home opener against a perennial contender. The Frank Reich Colts tend to play better against stronger competition. Last season, they beat the 49ers and Bills while losing one-score games to the Rams, Titans and Buccaneers. They did the same thing in 2020, beating the Packers by three in overtime.

If Indianapolis has all its impact players ready for this matchup, they can exceed expectations. Apart from injuries, my biggest concern with a Colts bet is Ryan. The former Falcons quarterback has still had his moments during the past two years, but he’s not what he once was. That said, during the past two seasons, Ryan’s Falcons had a habit of surging against premium opponents themselves.

A bet on the Chiefs is always a bet on Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. Perhaps the best aspect of any Chiefs bet is that even if Kansas City surrenders an early lead, you’re never drawing dead with Mahomes. Reid coming off a long week is not quite the significant advantage he’s had coming off the bye, but the extra prep time is still positive for Kansas City.

My biggest concern with a Chiefs bet here is the Colts have underwhelmed in back-to-back road games to start the season, and Indianapolis has played up against contending opponents in each of the last two seasons. The Chiefs are the current measuring stick in the NFL, but the Colts are better than they’ve played through the first two games.

Chiefs vs. Colts Pool Picks

Awards Market Ramifications: Mahomes is an MVP contender, and Chiefs rookie DE George Karlaftis is a fringe Defensive Rookie of the Year contender.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’m going to wait until later in the week until injury reports are closer to being finalized before making any decisions here. But, if the Colts’ impact players are ready to go here, I expect I’ll take them as a differentiator in one of my large field winner pools with weekly payouts. In confidence pools, I will likely take Kansas City, but I will rank them lower than consensus.

Spread Pool: I’m either going to take the Colts +6.5 in a tournament or pass on this contest.

Survivor: I would avoid this contest for survivor purposes. With that said, this is a difficult week, and the Chiefs aren’t an automatic cross-off, especially if the Colts are missing some of their best players like they did last week. I discuss my plans for the Chiefs in survivor pools here.

WATCH MORE: Charles Davis Dives Into Why You Shouldn’t Give up on the Colts

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