Bills vs. Chiefs Prediction: Best Bets for NFL Divisional Round, Jan. 21

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Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) shake hands
(Ed Zurga/AP Photo)
Nick Hennion @nickhennion Jan 19, 2024, 3:31 PM
  • The Bills are 2.5-point home favorites against the Chiefs.
  • Buffalo captured a 20-17 road win against Kansas City in Week 11.
  • Patrick Mahomes is historically brilliant as an underdog

Ahead of Sunday’s AFC divisional round matchup in Buffalo, I’m here to offer a Bills vs. Chiefs prediction. 

The Bills cruised to a 31-17 home win against the Steelers in the wild-card round, while the Chiefs also produced a nonchalant home win over the Dolphins. 

Now these sides will renew their rivalry in the divisional round. Buffalo earned a 20-17 win in Kansas City earlier this season, their second straight win over Kansas City. 

Here’s a look at NFL betting lines for Sunday’s game, along with my bets for the contest. 

Bills vs. Chiefs Betting Odds

  • Buffalo Bills Moneyline: -145
  • Kansas City Chiefs Moneyline: +120
  • Game Spread: Buffalo Bills -2.5
  • Game Total: 46 Points

Bills vs. Chiefs Betting Predictions

Bills-Chiefs Total Under 46 Points (-110)

If the Chiefs get back to +3, I’ll have no choice but to bet them as underdogs. 

However, given I’m holding a Bills Super Bowl future, I need a key number to fade them. For his career, Patrick Mahomes is 8-1-1 ATS as an underdog, including 7-0-1 as a road dog. 

For now, I’ll take the under in a game with two sneaky-good defenses. 

Buffalo notched 31 points in the wild-card round against Pittsburgh. However, the Steelers operated without their best defensive player in T.J. Watt. 

In the divisional round, they’ll face a Chiefs team that held them to 20 points in Kansas City and has played superb defensive football this season. 

This season, Kansas City sits second league-wide in points per game allowed (16.7), second in offensive touchdowns allowed per game (1.7) and sixth in EPA per play. 

Of Buffalo’s four touchdowns against Pittsburgh, half came via a short field or extended run. As a result, I expect their offense will struggle against a superior defense. 

At the same time, Buffalo surrendered only 14.8 home points per game during the regular season. 

Shrink the sample down to three games against the Cowboys, Dolphins and Buccaneers, and bettors will find they’ve allowed only 16 points per game. 

Plus, since acquiring Rasul Douglas, Buffalo sits 10th in defensive EPA per play. 

Even though they’re playing on short rest, a second straight home game should mitigate that disadvantage. 

Lastly, this game matches a historically profitable betting system. 

Since 2004-05, non-divisional outdoor playoff games are 60.5% to the under. When the total is 45.5 or higher, it’s 63.6% to the under. 

As a result, bank on both defenses to shine and take this market under the total at 45 points or better.

James Cook Over 16.5 Receiving Yards (-115) 

Cook produced five catches for 83 yards against the Chiefs earlier this season, and I suspect he could break out again. 

Although he receives only the fourth-most targets against man coverage on the Bills, Cook has proved remarkably efficient when the ball comes his direction. 

He leads the Bills with 10.68 yards per target against man coverage and helped Josh Allen produce a 149.5 passer rating when Cook is targeted against man. 

Additionally, he’s facing a Chiefs team that struggles to defend running backs through the air. To date, Kansas City ranks 22nd in DVOA against the position, per ftnfantasy.com. 

Just last week against the Dolphins, Kansas City surrendered five receptions on nine targets for 34 yards to Miami running backs. 

In their previous “meaningful” game against the Bengals, they allowed four catches for 45 yards to the position. 

I’m encouraged by the fact Cook received four targets against Pittsburgh, who predominantly plays zone coverage. 

Given the switch in scheme, back Cook to clear this number for the second straight game against the Chiefs.

Dawson Knox Under 15.5 Receiving Yards (-115)

Since sustaining an injury, Knox has slowly seen a decreased role in favor of new tight end Dalton Kincaid. 

Dating back to Week 14 against the Chiefs – his first game back from injury – Knox has amassed only 10 targets and eight receptions across six games. 

Comparatively, he accounted for 28 targets and 15 receptions in his first seven games of the season prior to exiting with an injury. 

Although he cleared this number against the Chiefs, Knox managed only one catch for nine yards last week against the Steelers. 

Now he gets a Chiefs team that ranks 10th in DVOA against tight ends, his second straight top-10 opponent. 

Plus, he sees a decreased target share against man coverage, which the Chiefs run at the eighth-highest rate in the league. 

For the entire season, Knox has received only 8.5% of targets against man coverage compared to 11.1% against zone, per ftnfantasy.com. 

Even with wide receiver Gabe Davis out, it’s reasonable to expect Josh Allen will target Kincaid more often than Knox. 

Entering the divisional round, Kincaid ranks second on the Bills in target share against man coverage. 

Add in the possibility of cold weather and high winds, and there’s a case to be made the Bills will prefer a run-first approach against a suspect Chiefs run defense (27th in rush defense DVOA). 

Take the under on Knox as a result.

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About the Author

Nick Hennion

Read More @nickhennion

Nick Hennion is a senior content writer for BetMGM. His previous stops include VSiN, NBC Sports, The Action Network and Forbes Betting. He owns a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree from Northwestern University.

Nick Hennion is a senior content writer for BetMGM. His previous stops include VSiN, NBC Sports, The Action Network and Forbes Betting. He owns a bachelor's degree from Syracuse University and a master's degree from Northwestern University.