Sunday Night Football: Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Opening Spread: Buccaneers +3.
Opening Game Total: 44.
Team Totals: Buccaneers (20.5), Chiefs (23.5).
Weather: Outdoors, no current concerns.
The Line Report
- This line opened between Buccaneers +2.5 and Buccaneers +3.
- This line has experienced considerable movement, moving down to Buccaneers +1.5 early this week, then to a pick’em mid-week. Right now, the Buccaneers are a slight favorite, between -.5 and -1 as of Saturday morning.
- DraftKings Pick’Em has the Buccaneers +1.5.
- Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has this game as a pick’em.
- This total opened at 44 points.
- This total has moved slightly up to 44.5 points as of Saturday morning.
Buccaneers: Out: DL Akiem Hicks. Questionable: WR Chris Godwin, WR Julio Jones, WR Russell Gage, LT Donovan Smith.
Chiefs: IR: CB Trent McDuffie. Questionable: WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
The Buccaneers Offense vs. the Chiefs Defense
There are a few moving parts in this trench matchup. Neither team has a macro edge in the trenches if Bucs LT Donovan Smith plays. If LT Donovan Smith sits again, I’d give the Chiefs front a moderate macro advantage in the trenches. Regardless of Smith’s status, Tampa Bay is significantly worse at left guard and center than they were this time last year. Chiefs DT Chris Jones is among the best interior defenders in the league. Jones will be a real problem for Bucs left guard Luke Goedeke and center Robert Hainsey.
Notes and Observations
- The Buccaneers are 2-1 against the spread this season.
- The Buccaneers are 0-3 on overs this season.
- Per The Edge, Tom Brady is 22nd in the league in yards passing and 25th in yards per attempt, but he’s 11th in air yards per attempt.
- Leonard Fournette is ninth in yards rushing and 29th in yards receiving among running backs.
- The Chiefs have allowed the tenth-fewest yards rushing and the third-most yards receiving to running backs this season.
- Buccaneers wide receiver deployments are a little all over the road as most of this group has missed at least one game. So far, Russell Gage leads the team in target share (21.6%), and Julio Jones leads in air yards share (34.9%).
- Kansas City has surrendered the 15th-most yards receiving on the ninth-most receptions to wide receivers this year.
- Cameron Brate caught five-of-six targets last week for 52 yards. He had two receptions for 16 yards over the first two games of this season.
- The Chiefs have allowed the 13th-fewest yards receiving on the 14th-most receptions to tight ends this season.
The Chiefs Offense vs. the Buccaneers Defense
When these two teams last played, it was in the Super Bowl two years ago, where the Bucs pass rush derailed that game. Kansas City’s starting offensive tackles both missed that contest. Now, the Chiefs have a top-five caliber offensive line while the Bucs front is a top-ten unit. There’s no macro trench edge in this contest.
Notes and Observations
- The Chiefs are 1-2 against the spread this season.
- The Chiefs are 1-2 on overs this season.
- Per The Edge, Patrick Mahomes is ninth in the league in yards passing and seventh in yards per attempt, but he’s only 19th in air yards per attempt.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire is 33rd in yards rushing among running backs, but he’s third in yards receiving.
- Tampa Bay has allowed the tenth-fewest yards rushing and the fourth-most yards receiving.
- JuJu Smith-Schuster leads Chiefs wide receivers in target share (18.1%), and he’s second in air yards share (22.2%).
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling is second among Chiefs wide receivers in target share (17.1%), leading that group in air yards share (22.7%).
- The Buccaneers have allowed the 15th-most yards receiving on the 11th-most receptions to wide receivers this year.
- Travis Kelce leads all Chiefs pass catchers in target share (22.9%) and air yards share (25.1%).
- Tampa Bay has allowed the tenth-most yards receiving on the sixth-most receptions to tight ends this season.
This is What You’re Betting On in Chiefs vs. Buccaneers
A bet on the Buccaneers is a bet on Tom Brady continuing to defy the aging process. It’s also a bet on an offense that has underwhelmed through the first three games, only scoring 17 points per game during that span. Mike Evans returns from his one-game suspension this week, which is a significant addition for the Buccaneers. Chris Godwin is still listed as questionable as of this writing, though it would be a surprise if he suits up and plays a major role in this contest.
This is a big game for Tampa Bay’s defense. If the Bucs can manage Kansas City’s currently middling wide receiver group, that’s a specific way that I can see Tampa coming out on top here. This game will have some emotional charge to it for the Buccaneers, considering the ramifications of Hurricane Ian. You have two major concerns with a Bucs bet. The first is you’re getting Patrick Mahomes coming off a loss. The second is the state of the Buccaneers offensive line, which is a primary reason Tampa Bay’s offense is performing below expectations so far this season.
A bet on the Chiefs is a bet on Patrick Mahomes coming off a tough loss in Indianapolis last week. In my Chiefs team preview, I referred to Kansas City’s new group of wide receivers as a group of role players. That’s been the reality of the situation through the first three games. This is the week that group shows that they can be more than that. Your biggest concern with a Chiefs bet is that handing Tom Brady a loss hasn’t happened all that often this century. The second is that while both of these teams are highly motivated title contenders, the Bucs are playing for more than just football this week.
Chiefs vs. Buccaneers Pool Picks
Awards Market Ramifications: Patrick Mahomes is an MVP contender. Tom Brady is a fading MVP candidate.
Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’ve liked the Chiefs since early this week, and I will stick with that in most of my winner pools. Every week there is a cluster of coin flip games that we have to figure out how to order in confidence pools. If Bucs LT Donovan Smith sits out again, I will be higher than consensus on the Chiefs in this format.
Spread Pool: I expected to take the Chiefs in at least one of my ATS tournament entries this week. The line has moved against Kansas City, which surprised me. The Hurricane Ian component gives me pause as I remember how the Saints played in their first game in New Orleans after Katrina. I have taken the Chiefs at +11 in a three-team, ten-point teaser this week.
Survivor: This game should be avoided for survivor purposes.