Welcome to the Thursday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming Thursday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick”. A lean is a wager that we have a certain degree of certainty in. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
For more detailed information on this week’s matchup – including further game analysis, betting trends breakdown, betting tips specific to TNF, and a synopsis of the history of the line movement for the game, please see our Thursday Night Football Betting Preview over at TheLines.
Two teams heading in opposite directions in the Chiefs and Broncos meet up for an AFC West clash at Empower Field at Mile High on Thursday night. The surprise here is the club on the descent. That would be 2018 AFC conference runner-up Kansas City. The Chiefs have lost two straight home games and now must head into Denver’s thin air to try and snap that dubious streak.
One good piece of news for the Chiefs in the Week 6 defeat against the Texans was the return of Tyreek Hill from his sternoclavicular injury. Hill scored a pair of touchdowns, the first on a spectacular 46-yard grab over two defenders. Sammy Watkins did miss the contest with a hamstring injury. He reportedly has a chance to return Thursday. If he does, Patrick Mahomes will have both of his top wideouts for the first time since the first half of Week 1.
On Denver’s end, the Broncos have one of their own pass-catchers hurting. Emmanuel Sanders wasn’t able to play in the second half of the 16-0 win over the Titans in Week 6 due to a knee issue. He was a limited practice participant Monday, but he was upgraded to full Tuesday. Sanders thus appears on track to play. His presence figures to be key in a game where Denver wants to have as many weapons as possible due to the Chiefs’ high-octane attack.
The Broncos did a good job *containing* Hill in two 2018 meetings. Hill accumulated six receptions for 124 yards over that pair of contests. Those numbers are actually underwhelming over a two-game period by Hill’s lofty standards. Denver will likely look to have shutdown corner Chris Harris track Hill as much as possible. However, given the creativity of Andy Reid and his staff, Hill will very likely be deployed in creative ways that have him avoiding Harris at times. If Watkins is able to suit up, that should also make Hill’s path to potential success a bit clearer.
On the defensive side, KC’s biggest challenge will be slowing down Denver’s capable running back tandem of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. The Chiefs have essentially had trouble slowing down any running back this season. The Texans’ Carlos Hyde and his 116 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 are the latest example. Kansas City is dead last in rushing yards (818) allowed to running backs and has also yielded the second-most running backs yards per carry (5.25). As that latter number implies, the Chiefs are yielding plenty of sizable gains in the form of the second-level yards per carry (1.64). In turn, the Broncos’ O-line has facilitated the ninth-most second-level yards per tote (1.25), making it even more likely Denver will focus on the ground attack.
It won’t be easy, but I see the Chiefs having enough to pull out a win here.
TNF Point Spread
The Chiefs’ projected advantage has taken a dip since this line opened. Kansas City is now favored by three points on both FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook. The Chiefs were originally were 4.5-point favorites. However, KC’s two-game losing streak coupled with the Broncos’ back-to-back wins have moved the needle plenty with the betting public.
The Chiefs are 3-3 (50.0 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-1 (66.7 percent) as an away underdog and 1-0 in division games.
The Broncos are also 3-3 (50.0 percent) against the spread this season, including 2-1 (66.7 percent) as a home favorite and 1-1 in AFC West matchups.
Given Denver’s improved defensive play and the fact this game unfolds on its home field, I see the Chiefs having to work hard for their success Thursday. However, KC’s secondary is underrated, which should eventually prevent Denver from keeping pace. It may take until the fourth quarter, but I see the Chiefs doing enough to pull away for a cover.
The Lean: Chiefs -3 at DraftKings Sportsbook
TNF Over/Under Total
The total here is slightly elevated for a game that’s unfolding at Mile High and that features the generally pedestrian Broncos offense. Denver is averaging the eighth-fewest yards per game (336.2) and has scored 16 points or fewer in four of six games. Meanwhile, Kansas City has just 37 combined points over its last two contests and has scored 27 apiece in each of its last two games in Denver.
Then, the Over is 4-2 (66.7 percent) in the Chiefs’ games this season, including 2-1 in their away games. The Over is 2-4 (33.3 percent) in the Broncos’ games this season, including 1-2 (33.3 percent) in their home games.
While I see the Chiefs eventually scoring a solid amount of points here, I don’t see the Broncos doing enough on their end to send the game over its projected total.
The Lean: Under 49 points at FanDuel Sportsbook
Best TNF Prop Bets
Chiefs (-3.5) & Under 48.5 Points: (+290 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
This prop lines up with my predictions of a Chiefs cover and the Under hitting. Four of KC’s last five wins in this series over the last two-plus seasons have been by four points or more. So have all four of their 2019 victories. Meanwhile, five of the Broncos’ six games this season have finished under 48.5 points.
Any Time Touchdown Scorer: Tyreek Hill (+125 at FanDuel Sportsbook)
Betting on a Hill touchdown is always worthwhile at plus-money. The all-world speedster scored twice in his Week 6 return and has amply demonstrated he can strike from anywhere on the field, regardless of matchup.