SNF Week 4 Pick: Chiefs vs. Bucs

by | Sep 29, 2022 | nfl

Kansas City Chiefs (2-1 SU, 1-2 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)
When: Sunday, October 2, 8:20 p.m.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa OR U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis
TV: NBC

Point Spread: KC -1/TB +1
Total: O/U 45

Outlook

The biggest question surrounding this game is where it will actually be played, given that the NFL still hasn’t made a decision on whether Hurricane Ian will allow the game to be played in Tampa as scheduled. With Tampa International Airport closed as of Thursday and the storm still battering Florida, the NFL has a contingency plan in place for the game, as the game could be played in Tampa if it’s safe or in Minneapolis if the Chiefs can’t get to Florida. Update: It is going to stay in Tampa Bay.

For now, the plan is for the game to be in Tampa, but that could change, and bettors will have to plan for multiple scenarios. There’s also the fact that the Bucs haven’t looked good to this point as it is and are likely to be a distracted team, whether the game is at home or in Minnesota. With the Chiefs coming off a giveaway to the Colts and having none of the distractions that the Bucs are dealing with, this seems to be a prime spot to go against the Bucs in a rematch of the Super Bowl from two years prior.

How the Public is Betting the Kansas City/Tampa Bay Game

The public has backed the Chiefs, but the money has come in on the Bucs. Even with 65% of tickets on Kansas City, the line has moved from Tampa Bay +2.5 to Tampa Bay -1, with the total falling from 47 to 45.5.

Injury Concerns

Kansas City:

Wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (abdominal), running back Ronald Jones II (illness), wide receiver Mecole Hardman (heel), tackle Darian Kinnard (elbow), kicker Harrison Butker (ankle), and defensive end Mike Danna (calf) are questionable. Linebacker Willie Gay (suspension), cornerback Trent McDuffie (hamstring), offensive lineman Lucas Niang (knee), tight end Blake Bell (hip flexor), and wide receiver Justyn Ross (foot) are out.

Tampa Bay:

Wide receiver Mike Evans (suspension) and wide receiver Julio Jones (knee) are probable. Wide receiver Breshad Perriman (hamstring), wide receiver Russell Gage (hamstring), cornerback Zyon McCollum (hamstring), tackle Donovan Smith (elbow), and tight end Cade Otton (personal are questionable. Running back Giovanni Bernard (ankle), tackle Josh Wells (calf), defensive lineman Akiem Hicks (foot), wide receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring), center Ryan Jensen (knee), linebacker Cam Gill (foot), guard Aaron Stinnie (knee) and running back Kenjon Barner (groin) are out.

When Kansas City Has the Ball

Even with Patrick Mahomes running the show, the most important player on this roster right now might be Harrison Butker. The Chiefs kicked away a win at Indianapolis because Butker wasn’t healthy and they had to roll with Matt Ammendola, who missed an extra point and lost the trust of Andy Reid early in the game. Once Ammendola missed, the Chiefs showed no desire to attempt field goals, going for it whenever they got close to scoring.

Kansas City has the offense needed to put up numbers, but against a Tampa Bay defense that has held firm in giving up a mere 27 points in three games, the Chiefs might need to be okay with settling for field goals now and then. Matthew Wright was signed in the leadup to this game, and the Chiefs will hope for a better performance that allows them to think about getting three points when they get inside the 30-yard-line. Otherwise, the Chiefs will have to attack via the pass; Tampa Bay’s defense is excellent and the run defense even more so. Kansas City is well set up to exploit Tampa’s flaws, but they also should have done the same to Indianapolis.

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When Tampa Bay Has the Ball

Is age finally getting the better of Tom Brady, or is it a lack of healthy receivers? The Bucs’ offense has been stuck in neutral in large part because the receivers either can’t stay on the field or can’t get on the field, forcing Tampa Bay to do what it can where it can. The Bucs are finally starting to get a little bit healthy, but there’s no guarantee that leads to an offensive explosion in this game.

Once upon a time, Brady made mediocre receivers look great and made good and great ones really shine. That’s no longer the case. Brady can still do the job at age 45, but now he needs to be surrounded with the appropriate amount of talent in order to be effective. So far, he hasn’t had much talent at all around him, and the results have shown it. The Bucs getting Evans and Jones active and healthy should make a difference, but there is the underlying concern that Brady might be running out of bullets.

Betting Trends

Indianapolis wasn’t a friendly place for the Chiefs, and Tampa Bay is no better, as the Chiefs have lost four straight games to Tampa Bay at Raymond James Stadium. The rest of the trends are tough to get anything out of here because we don’t really know if this will be a home or neutral site game. The Chiefs have covered four times in five in Week 4, so that’s at least something to build on outside of the stadium and field trends that can easily be tossed out by the hurricane.

Weather Report

If the game’s in Minnesota, weather will not matter. If it’s in Tampa, it should still be okay with 70-degree temperatures, wind at 5 miles per hour going west-southwest, and no rain. But field conditions could make this game a quagmire in Tampa if it’s played there.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Tampa Bay is going to be a distracted team on Sunday, and that’s never ideal when making an NFL bet. It’s even worse when you consider that Kansas City should be 3-0 and knows it should be 3-0. The Chiefs gave away the game with bad decisions and ill-timed penalties, and they should be able to take advantage of Tampa Bay’s off-field situation.

I’ll back Kansas City.