The NFL calendar turns to October with a Week 4 Monday night matchup featuring AFC West rivals in the Chiefs and Broncos. For this game and every other primetime contest, we’ll break down the sports betting lines and recommend where to place your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.
Keep an eye on injury news right up until kickoff since things can change quickly in the NFL. Any player listed as questionable may see limited action or not suit up at all if they don’t respond well in warm-ups.
Week 4 Monday Night Football Betting
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Over/Under Total: 54.5
With Patrick Mahomes at the helm, the Chiefs have unquestionably been the most prolific offensive team in the NFL this season. Kansas City has also been one of the worst defensively. They’ve allowed the most passing YPG (362.7) while ranking 30th in both DVOA pass and rush defense through three weeks.
The Chiefs will likely continue to miss Eric Berry (heel), the leader of their secondary. Pass-rushing LB Dee Ford (groin) hopes to play after returning to practice Friday. Still, KC has generated very little pressure even with Ford in the lineup.
Due to negative game flow and a lack of pressure, opponents have logged a league-high 47 pass attempts per game against KC. Denver QB Case Keenum is coming off a couple of middling performances, but he’s due for positive touchdown regression in this plus matchup.
Denver will likely look to establish the run early in an effort to keep Mahomes off the field. The Broncos have been using a three-man committee with Philip Lindsay and Royce Freeman handling the bulk of the work ahead of Devontae Booker.
Last week, Lindsay was ejected in the second quarter for his involvement in a scrum and could cede some playing time for disciplinary reasons. A third-round pick, Freeman should lead this backfield at some point over an UDFA in Lindsay.
Yet this is not a prime spot for an early-down back in Freeman. The Broncos will likely go pass heavy in the second half in an effort to catch up. The Chiefs have given up 27 receptions, 334 yards, and 2 receiving TDs to opposing RBs this season. That gives Lindsay and Booker some appeal as low-cost options in Showdown DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.
Now, Keenum is predictable in terms of his targets. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas have combined for 49-of-107 targets on the season. Sanders is the more reliable option in real life and DFS terms. He’s secured 19-of-23 looks for a team-high 269 yards this season. He’ll have a superior matchup to Thomas too. The former Steeler runs two-thirds of his routes in the slot and will likely pile up receptions if Denver is in comeback mode.
Promising young TE Jake Butt drew 13 targets on the year before suffering a torn ACL in practice this week. In his absence, Denver may give more run to big-bodied WR Courtland Sutton, who is averaged 18.2 yards per reception on five receptions this season. Then, Jeff Heuerman is expected to log more snaps as a traditional tight end. On this note, the Chiefs have been awful at defending TEs this year.
The Chiefs’ creative coaching staff will find ways to attack Denver’s defensive weaknesses. They’ll likely avoid elite slot CB Chris Harris and solid No. 2 corner Bradley Roby. With Tramaine Brock (groin) unlikely to play and Adam Jones (thigh) questionable, backup CB Isaac Yiadom could become a whipping boy for Mahomes.
Sammy Watkins could be “sacrificed” to Roby’s coverage on one side. Meanwhile, Tyreek Hill moves around the formation and looks to find space against Harris. Chris Conley could also draw Harris’ shutdown coverage in critical situations, giving him less appeal as a longshot in GPP formats.
Hill has tons of upside as always, but the premier play in the Chiefs passing game is Travis Kelce. He draws a fantastic matchup after all. This Broncos team that ranks 29th in DVOA pass defense against TEs.
Denver has allowed the fifth-most passing plays of 20-plus yards (13) and the eighth-highest completion rate (69.7%) in the NFL this season. And Kelce leads all TEs in air yards (300) by a wide margin. He has absolutely torched this defense with 26 catches for 404 yards and 2 TDs over their last three meetings.
Kareem Hunt has been much less of a factor with Mahomes under center. The second-year back figures to be schemed out of this game since Denver is still stout up front. They allow the fifth-lowest YPC average this season.
The Chiefs (-3.5) have seen their number drop from 4.5, indicating a healthy amount of money coming in on the Broncos in the last 24 hours. Approximately 67 percent of the tickets are coming in on KC because of that high-powered, fun-to-watch offense of theirs. While production from the Chiefs’ offense is bankable, the Broncos’ offense is not necessarily reliable enough to take the Over (54.5).
The Under may be the best bet on this primetime slate. The fired-up Broncos defense could show signs of life early and hold Mahomes in check long enough to keep this game in the low 20s. Denver did hold foes to a 3.2 YPC average and 84.8 passer rating with 18 sacks over eight home games last year. Thus, this Broncos defense may contain Mahomes well enough to keep the total below 50 points.