The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs opens with a Saturday afternoon showdown between the Colts and Chiefs. For this game and every postseason 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.
NFL Wild Card Football Betting Odds
Indianapolis Colts at Kansas City Chiefs
NFL Wild Card Football Breakdown
The Chiefs hold the red-hot Colts in a spot that’s created tons of bad memories for their fan base. Kansas City has lost six straight home playoff games and is 1-10 overall in the playoffs since 1994.
Yet now they have an MVP frontrunner in Patrick Mahomes leading the most explosive offense in the NFL. Andy Reid and his staff have to be fed up with the narrative that their scheme doesn’t work in the playoffs. Thus, they’ll no doubt have a good game plan in place against Indy’s stationary defense.
That Colts defense, keyed by all-pro rookies Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson, is playing extremely well right now. Indy ranks fourth in DVOA rush defense and has allowed the fewest receptions (166) to WRs this season. But Indy’s Cover 2-based scheme is largely predictable, and the Chiefs have the personnel to exploit it.
Colts DC Matt Eberflus likes to protect the sidelines, for one thing. So, what, force throws toward the interior of the field? Great, KC has arguably the best all-around TE in the game in Travis Kelce. Indy ranks 29th in DVOA pass defense against TEs and allows the most receiving YPG (76.6) to the position. Therefore, Kelce is worth paying up for in DFS contests on DraftKings and FanDuel.
The Colts’ physical corners like to play bump-and-run and pass routes off inside? Great, KC has the fastest WR in the game in Tyreek Hill. He can burn any defense on crossing routes and is nearly impossible to bracket.
If the Colts double either of those main weapons, the Chiefs have several secondary options to step up.
Sammy Watkins (foot) has been hobbled or inactive throughout the second half of the season, but is expected to play Saturday. DeMarcus Robinson, Chris Conley, and TE Demetrius Harris are all capable of find holes in the Colts zone coverage. Robinson is another game-breaker to use opposite Hill. And Reid knows how to free up those burners for big plays. Conley is another big body in the red zone, and Harris can also exploit Indy’s shaky TE coverage.
Indy is strongest against the run, yielding just 3.27 YPC over their last nine games. That’s also fine for KC, which led the NFL in DVOA pass offense and logged the 10th-highest rate of pass plays this season.
Indy also primarily plays zone pass defense, and Mahomes was lights out with a 14:0 TD:INT ratio and 64.1% completion rate against five zone-heavy teams this season. The Colts may be without FS Malik Hooker (foot) and will be without backup safety Mike Mitchell (calf).
In the backfield, the Chiefs haven’t missed a beat since releasing Kareem Hunt. Spencer Ware has been a solid replacement on early downs with the ability to catch passes as well. But the real winner has been former Dolphins third-down back Damien Williams.
Williams played on at least 50% of offensive snaps over the Chiefs’ last four games, handling touch counts of 12, 16, 20, and 12 during that span. Ware returned from a hamstring issue to log snap counts of 49 and 41 over his last two appearances, sharing the field with Williams at times.
Indy has allowed the second-most receptions (110) to RBs and ranks 23rd overall in DVOA against short passes. We’re recognizing Williams as the greater value in this matchup and a more important weapon for KC against Indy’s scheme.
The Colts have won in low-scoring fashion recently but will have to keep pace in a game with a 57-point total. Teams facing the Chiefs average the most pass attempts (39.5) per game this season and KC gave up the second-most passing YPG (273.4). However, that number drops to 221.4 passing YPG when they play at home.
Andrew Luck threw for 443 yards and 4 TDs, including a late 64-yard TD pass to T.Y. Hilton for a 41-38 win in his only playoff game at Arrowhead Stadium back in 2014 (a miraculous comeback, if you’ll remember). This season, Luck is playing at an MVP level and trailed only Mahomes with 39 TD passes.
The key matchup to watch on this side of the ball is the Colts’ offensive line, which allowed a league-low 18 sacks this season, against the Chiefs’ fearsome pass rush.
Keyed by Justin Houston and Dee Ford rushing from the outside, the Chiefs ranked seventh in adjusted sack rate (8%). They also tied the Steelers for the league lead with 52 sacks this season. While KC was routinely pummeled on the road, the Chiefs held QBs to a 74 passer rating, an 11:12 TD:INT ratio, and 6.1 YPA while recording 31 of those sacks at Arrowhead.
Indy will likely look to establish the run in an effort to slow that pass rush. KC ranked 30th against power run blocking and dead last at the second level. Conversely, Indy ranks sixth in run blocking.
Marlon Mack has been elite in terms of getting to the next level while averaging 4.7 YPC this season. That number spiked to 6.2 YPC in a road playoff win at Houston last week. Should the Colts fall behind, Nyheim Hines will have a larger role against a Chiefs team that’s coughed up the fifth-most receiving yards (894) to RBs this season.
The Chiefs have improved vastly in pass defense during the second half and now rank 12th in overall DVOA, as well as ninth against opposing No. 1 receivers.
T.Y. Hilton averaged just 8.84 yards per targets on the road (compared to 12.28 at home) and caught only one of his six receiving TDs away from Lucas Oil Stadium this season. The Chiefs should devise a better scheme to contain Hilton than the Texans did in the Wild Card round. Hilton could still produce a few big plays as the Chiefs ranked 21st in DVOA on deep passes and gave up the most pass plays (65) of 20-plus yards this season. Note, however, he’s been limited in practice by an ankle injury.
If Hilton is doubled, TE Eric Ebron is slated to benefit against a Chiefs team that ranked 25th in DVOA against TEs. Along with Ebron, Dontrelle Inman and Chester Rogers are slated to step up against a Chiefs team that ranks 29th in DVOA against tertiary WRs.
NFL Divisional Round Picks
The Chiefs are 7-1 at home but only 4-4 against the spread (ATS) this season. Meanwhile, the Colts are 5-3 ATS in road games this year. They have also won 10 of their last 11.
The Chiefs are 2-4 against playoff teams this season. And as great as Mahomes has been, teams with QBs making their first playoff start are 2-15 since 2013 when facing a QB with postseason experience. Therefore, half of public money is coming in on the Colts (+5), forcing the line down from where it opened at 6 points.
Indy leads the league in pace, and KC is sixth in neutral situation pace. The Chiefs play at the fifth-fastest pace during the first half but have been up big so often that they rank 23rd in pace during the second half of games.
Yet seven of the Colts’ last 11 games have gone Under. And five of the Chiefs’ eight home games have gone under this season.
Ultimately, Indy will try desperately to slow the pace of this game by establishing the run, and KC’s defense is strong enough at home to respect the Under (57). The Chiefs rank dead last in drive success rate, but the length of the Colts’ drives could hurt the pace.
With cold temperatures and increased pressure factoring in, three of four Wild Card games went Under last weekend. The Colts defense is strong enough to keep the Chiefs in the 20s. Lastly, games at Arrowhead have averaged only 50.4 PPG this season.