The Kansas City Chiefs were fortunate to beat the visiting Browns 22-17 in the Divisional Round of last year's playoffs with Patrick Mahomes leaving injured, and the two have a rematch at Arrowhead Stadium in one of the marquee Week 1 games of the 2021 season. It will mark the second straight year that the Chiefs' season opener will feature a rematch of the previous campaign's Divisional Round. Kansas City opened as 6-point favorite on the NFL odds and could be (with good health, etc.) favored in every single game. Presuming KC is favored in all nine at home, the one road matchup that stands out where it could be a dog is Week 2 in Baltimore.
The best bet regarding NFL win totals since 2013 has easily been the Chiefs as they have gone Over their betting total an astonishing eight straight years – by far the longest such streak in the league. Mahomes and the Chiefs are the +525 favorites to win Super Bowl 56 at William Hill Sportsbook and also have the NFL's highest Over/Under win total of 12, with the Over a slight -130 favorite.
With the addition of the 17th game this season, it was going to be interesting to see how oddsmakers adjusted. On first look, it does appear they added about a half-win average. For a point of reference, the Chiefs' highest win total during their previous eight seasons of going Over was 11.5 last year when they finished a league-best 14-2.
Kansas City reached a second straight Super Bowl this past February but came up short of becoming the first team since the 2004 New England Patriots to repeat as the favored Chiefs were dominated 31-9 by Tom Brady and the Bucs on Tampa's home field. The Chiefs are attempting in 2021 to become just the fourth franchise to appear in three straight Super Bowls.
The most noticeable issue of that Super Bowl 55 loss? Kansas City's offensive line as Mahomes was under siege all game. Mahomes was pressured on 51.8 percent of his dropbacks, the third-highest mark in a start of his career. Both starting tackles, Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher, were out injured that game and are now gone.
The Chiefs threw big money this offseason at Patriots All-Pro guard Joe Thuney, who never missed a game or a start in his five seasons with New England. KC made a big trade for Ravens two-time Pro Bowl tackle Orlando Brown, but it cost this year's first-round picks and a few other selections. Brown is set to become a free agent after this season and likely will be very costly to retain (or franchise tag). The team also signed ex-Rams center Austin Reiter, and former Chicago Bears Pro Bowl tackle Kyle Long came out of retirement to join Kansas City. Guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who opted-out of the 2020 season, will play this year.
While the line will look very different, the high-powered offense is back intact for the most part other than wideout Sammy Watkins, who wasn't a major contributor in 2020. Mahomes, as usual, is the betting favorite to win NFL MVP. He had offseason surgery to repair a turf toe but will be fine for camp.
The Chiefs' 2021 schedule is ranked as the 11th-toughest in the league as its 17 opponents – hosting Green Bay is the 17th game -- were a combined 138-132-2 last season.
Kansas City Chiefs trends/William Hill Sportsbook odds
- 2020 record: 14-2 (6-9-1 against the spread, 8-8 Over/Under)
- 2021 strength of schedule rank: 11th (opponents' combined winning percentage of .511)
- 2021 Over/Under win total: 12.0
- SportsLine Projection Model forecasted wins: 11.6
- Odds to win Super Bowl 56: +525
- To win AFC: +260
- To win AFC West: -280
- To make playoffs: Yes -1000, no +650
- NFL MVP odds: Patrick Mahomes +550 (favorite)
Kansas City Chiefs Schedule
Week 1 vs. Cleveland Browns: First regular-season meeting since 37-21 Chiefs win in Cleveland in 2018
Week 2 at Baltimore Ravens (SNF): Chiefs on four-game SU winning streak vs. Ravens overall, winning 34-20 last year
Week 3 vs. Los Angeles Chargers: Bolts won meaningless Week 17 game in KC last season 38-21
Week 4 at Philadelphia Eagles: Philly has covered two of past three at home in series but not last meeting in 2013
Week 5 vs. Buffalo Bills (SNF): Teams played in Buffalo last year and Chiefs won 26-17 at -5.5
Week 6 at Washington Football Team: Chiefs have easily won past three in series, last 45-10 in 2013
Week 7 at Tennessee Titans: Tennessee is 3-0 SU & ATS in past three meetings overall, last in 2019
Week 8 vs. New York Giants (MNF): First visit to KC for Big Blue since 31-7 loss in 2013
Week 9 vs. Green Bay Packers: 17th added opponent and marquee game of 2021 regular season with Mahomes vs. Aaron Rodgers (presumably)
Week 10 at Las Vegas Raiders (SNF): KC's first-ever trip to Vegas was 35-31 escape last year at -7.5
Week 11 vs. Dallas Cowboys: Teams have split the past four meetings ATS in KC, last in 2013
Week 12 BYE
Week 13 vs Denver Broncos: Chiefs have won past five at home in series but didn't cover in 22-16 win last year
Week 14 vs. Las Vegas Raiders: KC's seven-game home win streak in series ended in 40-32 huge upset in 2020
Week 15 at Los Angeles Chargers (TNF): Bolts ended seven-game ATS home losing streak last year in OT loss
Week 16 vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Chiefs won 42-37 in Pittsburgh in most recent meeting (2018)
Week 17 at Cincinnati Bengals: Kansas City's first visit to Cincinnati since 36-21 loss in 2015
Week 18 at Denver Broncos: Chiefs have covered past seven in Denver, winning 43-16 last year
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