Kansas City Chiefs (7-5 SU, 8-4 ATS) vs. Arizona Cardinals (9-3 SU, 8-4 ATS)
College Football Week 14
Date and Time: December 7th, 4:05 PM E
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium
by Jeff Hochman, Pro Football Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: KC +1.5/ARZ -1.5
Over/Under Total: 40
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The Kansas City Chiefs will look to snap its two-game slide against the Arizona Cardinals, who have lost two straight as well. The Chiefs lost 29-16 to the Broncos as 1-point home favorites last Sunday night. Kansas City was outgained by a whopping 237 yards. The Chiefs struggled to gain yards through the air after Denver’s commitment to stop the run. Kansas City has been outstatted in five straight games. Not a good sign. The Cardinals looked tired in losing to the Falcons 29-18 as 1.5-point road chalk. It was Arizona’s second straight road game and they were outgained by 171 yards. The injuries are starting to catch up with the Cardinals. They have really missed Larry Fitzgerald’s production and on-field leadership. He is listed as questionable, but is expected to return.
The Kansas City Chiefs rank No. 1 against the pass, yielding just 196.8 yards per game. Drew Stanton has struggled all season at completing passes. Arizona has also struggled in the running game. The Cardinals are averaging just 74.8 rushing yards per game. That’s the lowest total of any first-place team. Kansas City has the better overall defense, allowing 333 yards per game. Kansas City has struggled at stopping the run though. The Chiefs are allowing 137 yards per game on the ground, but will Arizona be able to take advantage. I am not so sure as Andre Ellington is not expected to play. He’s the best running back on the roster by far. I think both teams will have difficulty moving the ball on a consistent basis.
The key for Chiefs to avoid a three-game losing streak is Jamaal Charles, who is not 100% healthy. Charles has been a non-factor for the Chiefs the last two games, rushing for a total of 115 yards with zero touchdowns. His struggles were evident against the Broncos as Charles finished the game with a season-low 35 rushing yards. Don’t forget, Jammal averaged 99.4 yards and had eight total touchdowns during the Chiefs five-game winning streak. Look for Kniles Davis to get some serious run if Charles continues to struggle. It won’t be easy as the Cardinals are ranked No. 6 in rushing defense, allowing just 89.2 yards per game. Alex Smith might have to throw and that could be a good thing. Despite their talented secondary, the Cardinals have the sixth-worst passing defense allowing 263 yards per game. Most teams will forget the run altogether and just look to pass against Arizona. Those passing numbers against Arizona are somewhat skewed, due to the inordinate number of pass attempts against them.
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Alex Smith was sacked six times in last week’s lost to the Broncos. Kansas City had a season-low 151 yards in total offense and will need it’s offensive line to protect better. Denver has recorded 34 sacks and will give most teams fits. The Cardinals have struggled at getting pressure as they rank 23rd in QB sacks (26). The big difference between these two teams is on the offensive line in pass protection. The Chiefs have allowed 33 sacks while the Cardinals have surrendered just 19 so far this season.
The Chiefs are 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS as underdogs this season. The Cardinals are 13-4 SU and 11-5 ATS in games where the line is 3 points or less. Kansas City is 21-6 SU and 20-7 ATS vs. the NFC West since 1993. Arizona is 10-19 SU and 10-19 ATS vs. the AFC West since 1993.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Pass
This will be a great game to watch without a wager. There are no real advantages to either side and the numbers suggest taking a pass.