Kansas City Chiefs Betting Preview, Week 1 Odds, Super Bowl Chances & Schedule

Can the Chiefs make it two Super Bowls in three years? Taking a look at the Super Bowl odds, schedule and betting preview for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2021.
Nikki Adams
Wed, August 18, 11:07 AM EDT

Kansas City Chiefs Betting Preview, Week 1 Odds, Super Bowl Chances & Schedule

  • Chiefs Super Bowl Odds
  • Chiefs Betting Preview
  • Complete breakdown of the Chiefs 2021 schedule

The Kansas City Chiefs are sat lotus atop Super Bowl 56 betting markets across the board, unanimously touted by every single market operator as the indisputable team to beat. There’s no muddle. No confusion about where the Chiefs Super Bowl Odds should sit ahead of the 2021-22 NFL season. Just straightforward, absolute agreement in outlook and market placement no matter where you look.

Being identified as the “hunted” rather than the “hunters” is both an honour and a privilege. With it comes a level of expectation and responsibility that’s shared by all those involved, although Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes likely bear the brunt of it. It’s not a role to be taken lightly either – ‘heavy is the head that wears the crown ’, so they say – and you can bet Reid and Mahomes understand only too well what it means to be Super Bowl favourites.

Indeed, since launching what was to inevitably become one of the most enviable head coach-starting quarterback partnerships in 2018, the pair’s track record of success speaks volumes. In a nutshell, the last three seasons are encompassed by three straight AFC Championship game appearances, which include a loss in 2018 (l. to New England Patriots) and back-to-back wins in 2019 and 2020 (against the Titans and Bills, respectively); and by back-to-back Super Bowl appearances, which include a win in 2019 (vs. San Francisco 49ers) and a defeat in 2020 (l. to Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

This kind of dominance and consistency in the NFL is rare, especially in today’s game. And for that reason, it’s really not surprising that the Kansas City Chiefs opened as the top Super Bowl pick for 2021-22 even after suffering an ignominious 31-9 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in SBLV.

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Chiefs Super Bowl Odds and Other Futures Markets 2021

Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl Odds

Across multiple sports betting platforms, the Chiefs are pegged at +500 to win SBLVI. Those odds are considerably shorter than Tampa Bay Buccaneers odds which are tipped at +600. So, the question tossing around in NFL betting circles is: why would the Kansas City Chiefs be favoured at the expense of the reigning Super Bowl champions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Especially, after being soundly beaten by the Buccaneers in a lopsided 31-9 final.

The answer to that is multifaceted, even though, at its root, it’s steeped in subjectivity spurred on by the public’s undisguised predilection for the charismatic Mahomes and the Chiefs’ brand of high-octane, offensive football that is eye-catching, thrilling and that leaves fans gassing for more. The long and short of it: yes, their favour is justified.

Reid and Mahomes together provide the fundamental architectural foundation for the Chiefs’ success; not to mention their head coach-quarterback synergy is exactly the modus operandi many in the league seek to emulate with the Chiefs drawing flattering comparisons to the dynasty years of the New England Patriots. A period of time when Tom Brady and Bill Belichick were full of jovial bonhomie, basking in the glow of multiple Super Bowl rings like a pair of beached seals basking in the sunlight.

Whether you were a Chiefs fan or simply a football fan, it was obvious right from the beginning that Kansas City had stumbled upon something special  – a generational talent and once-in-a-lifetime quarterback that would be the envy of every coach in the league. Those that went ahead of the Chiefs in the 2017 NFL draft are still kicking themselves today. However, arguably, no team has suffered the angst of missed opportunity more than the Chicago Bears who’d been in the market for a quarterback but passed on Mahomes in favour of Mitch Trubisky instead. That worked out well, didn’t it?

The Chiefs’ transformation from a good team to a great team occurred in the blink of an eye. The day Mahomes made his debut as the starter in replacement of veteran Alex Smith, who’d built up the team before being traded away in that same offseason to make room for the young gun. It was Sunday, September 9, 2018, and the Chiefs were kick-starting their 2018 campaign against the Los Angeles Chargers on the road. On that fateful day, the young gunslinger fired four touchdowns passes on the way to an awe-inspiring 38-28 victory. And before anybody could dismiss his performance as a fluke or one-off, he returned the following week and dropped another six touchdowns in a whopping 42-37 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

And so, a phenom was born. Mahomes captured the imagination of Kansas City fans instantly, mesmerising them, and neutrals alike too, with his otherworldly talents and those is-he-for-real throws and Hail Mary passing touchdowns that are now well-established hallmarks of his game. And he’s taken the Chiefs and Kansas City on one hell of a magic carpet ride ever since, taking a franchise that for far too long seemed resigned to its inability to win the BIG game exactly there. To the Promised Land.  

Arguably, few would have predicted such enormous success so soon in his career, even though he did chill out for a year behind veteran signal caller Alex Smith. There’s many an elite quarterback in the league after all, but the reality is that not all will go on to reach the dizzying heights Mahomes scaled so effortlessly and especially not in their first three years in the NFL

Mahomes’ achievements are mindboggling, but none more so than winning SBLIV in only his second year as a starter. In taking the Chiefs to back-to-back Super Bowls though, he’s shown the league that he’s more than just a phenom. He’s in fact a kid (in the sense of a baby goat) trotting merrily along a path of maturation towards GOAT status. In fact, that’s exactly the terminology that was used for Super Bowl 55. It was billed amongst many things as a clash between ‘the kid’ and ‘the Goat’ in direct reference to the matchup of Patrick Mahomes vs. Tom Brady.

Kansas City Chiefs Division Odds

Chiefs favour trickles down the various levels of betting. From Super Bowl to AFC Conference and AFC West odds, all three facets see the Chiefs installed as the betting faves. To win the AFC Conference, the Chiefs are tipped at +250, and to win the AFC West, they’re favoured by a country mile at -250.

Andy Reid’s Chiefs have dominated the AFC West since 2016. The year after Hall of Fame quarterback, Peyton Manning, decided to hang up his cleats, thereby ending Denver Bronco’s five-year stranglehold over the division. At the close of the 2020-21 regular season, Reid’s Chiefs matched the Denver Broncos’ unbeaten run of five-straight AFC West titles, which is the longest active winning streak to date in the division. This year, the Chiefs are eying a record-setting sixth title and fourth-straight AFC Conference title. So, quite rightly, they’re favoured by odds makers to pull off both feats.

To begin with, the AFC West isn’t going to be a picnic. Quite the opposite, it’s one of the fastest developing divisions in the league with an intriguing harvest of talent spread across the entire field. The LA Chargers are on the rise with new head coach Brandon Staley and promising second-year quarterback Justin Herbert; the Denver Broncos appear poised to take significant steps forward with better depth at the quarterback position this year and a stouter defense; while the Las Vegas Raiders hope they’ve finally upgraded enough to prove all those Dereck Carr critics wrong.

Consider the Chiefs too have seen the ebb and flow of talent this offseason. Reid took an axe to the roster following Kansas City’s humiliating Super Bowl performance, upgrading both sides of the ball. Some of the interesting additions include G Joe Thuney, G Kyle Long, CB Mike Hughes, S Will Parks and G Orlando Brown, to name a few.  How the roster moves will hold up remains to be seen, but when the constant denominator is still Mahomes….well, then, the sky is the limit. He’s the kind of player that elevates everyone around him to another stratosphere.

Kansas City Chiefs Win Total

Getting to the top of one’s sport is one thing, staying on top is another entirely. That’s the challenge the Chiefs face each and every season; and it’s a challenge that they’ve risen to admirably since 2016 en route to winning the AFC West title, even in the midst of a quarterback change two seasons later.

By the stats, the last five seasons have seen the Chiefs finish: 12-4-0, 10-6-0, 12-4-0, 12-4-0 and 14-2-0. That yields a five-year average of 12 wins per season. Taking the smaller cross-section that embodies Mahomes’ three terms with the Chiefs, the average win total is 12.7 wins per season. If simple maths tells us this is a team that’s averaged 12.7 wins over the last three years, it partly explains why the Chiefs are projected to 12.5 wins at most top-rated sportsbooks – the highest win total of any team in the league. What it fails to address is the fact it stands in stark contrast to the way the projected team win total odds currently stack up with the UNDER 12.5 favored at -130 while the OVER is priced at +110.

Improvements in the broad spectrum of the AFC West are responsible for this somewhat lower than usual expectation for Kansas City. As mentioned above, the AFC West figures to be a much tougher section with the Chargers, Broncos and Raiders expected to make some strides. So, there’s an assumption that wins within the division may not be as easy to come by as previously. This notion is further evinced by the projected team win totals for the Chargers (9.5) and Broncos (8.5), but to a lesser extent for the Raiders (7).

Having said that the Chiefs lead the league with a 15-3-0 SU mark against divisional opponents since 2018, a run of form that includes a whopping 10.2 winning margin on average. So, while 2021 figures to be a tougher slog for the Chiefs through divisional opponents on paper, until proven otherwise those six divisional games are theirs to win or lose.

Where the Chiefs will face stiff competition is outside of the division, clinching the remaining seven games (at a minimum) needed to crack the 12.5 projected win total. NFL Strength of Schedule (SOS) rankings show the Chiefs have the eleventh toughest schedule with a .511 opponents win percentage (based on win-loss records of the entire Chiefs schedule). Only four non-divisional teams missed the playoffs last season – the Eagles, Giants, Cowboys and Bengals. The rest represent 2020 playoff contenders and include: Browns, Ravens, Bills, Football Team, Titans, Packers and Steelers. A formidable group indeed. Except…there’s one teeny, weeny, detail… don’t worry if you missed it because only the keenest eye for detail will have spotted it…and that’s none of those teams have ever beaten Mahomes when he’s 100% fit. The only one of the seven 2020 playoff contenders to get the measure of the Chiefs were the Titans, but with the caveat of having accomplished the feat as Mahomes was returning from injuries to his knee and ankle which side-lined him for three games.

Kansas City Chiefs Schedule & Odds

Winning is second nature to Mahomes and he’s made it look easy. As mentioned earlier, the Chiefs boast the best SU record in the league over the last five years with a 15-3-0 SU record against divisional opponents. And yet, in the broad spectrum of the league, the Chiefs are leaders too with a 44-12-0 SU record that includes an 8-point winning margin on average. At home, the Chiefs are third overall with a 23-7-0 SU record and an 8.9 winning margin on average and on the road, they’re second overall with a 19-5-0 SU record and a 6.8 winning margin on average. So, whichever way one slices it for NFL picks, the Chiefs are likely to strike an attractive pose on any given Sunday.

Case-and-point, Chiefs Week 1 odds currently have the Chiefs laying 6.5-points to the Browns. Move to the second week, and the Chiefs once again are at the advantage, laying -1 to the Ravens all the while playing on the road. To look at the Chiefs schedule in its entirety is to see that the Chiefs are maintaining the status of the ‘hunted’ throughout with odds ranging no lower than  -1 (vs. Baltimore) and as high as -10.5 (vs. the Raiders at home).

Of course, markets aren’t static and NFL odds and lines are fluid with their ebb and flow determined by the betting. Short of something out of the ordinary happening though, the Chiefs are likely to maintain favour in most of their games throughout the course of the season. And if the season unfolds according to wide expectations, the Chiefs, once in the playoffs, are the likeliest to maintain their favour to win SBLVI too, if not win it. 

Week Opponent Spread Total
1 vs. Cleveland -6.5 52.5
2 @ Baltimore -1 51.5
3 vs. LAC -7.5 52.5
4 @ Philadelphia -8 50.5
5 vs. Buffalo -4.5 54.5
6 @ Washington -6.5 50.5
7 @ Tennessee -4.5 48
8 vs. NYG -10 49
9 vs. Green Bay -7 52.5
10 @ Las Vegas -7.5 53.5
11 vs. Dallas -7.5 55
12 BYE    
13 vs. Denver -9.5 50
14 vs. Las Vegas -10.5 53
15 @ LAC -6.5 52
16 vs. Pittsburgh -8.5 550
17 @ Cincinnati -7.5 49.5
18 @ Denver -3 45.5
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