2004 Season NFL Football Past Picks
October 04, 2004
This pick was released to clients on July 10, 2012 at 3:33PM ET.
Kansas City at Baltimore
Monday 10/04 09:05 PM Eastern
2 units on Kansas City +6 (-110) (risk 2 to return 3.82) RESULT: win
1 unit on Kansas City +220 (moneyline) (risk 1 to return 3.2) RESULT: win
The Chiefs are on the ropes. After having some preseason prognosticators put them in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs are an ugly 0-3. Meanwhile, the Ravens, after losing to Cleveland as a week one favorite, have won two-straight in convincing fashion. The Ravens defense is reminding many of 2000 as they have allowed just 22 combined points in their last two games. Speaking of defense, it is apparent that the addition of defensive coordinator Guther Cunningham hasn't brought any to Kansas City yet. They are giving up nearly 29 points per game and are ranked 29th against the run and 23rd overall. But, you could argue Kansas City has played some pretty good teams in Denver, Carolina and the surprising Houston Texans. Baltimore's offense hasn't impressed but could explode against the Chiefs. Will the Chiefs step up and get their first win or will Baltimore push them to 0-4 and kill their hopes for the playoffs?
On the surface it would appear that the Ravens offense will have its way against the Chiefs. On the ground that would seem to be the case. The Baltimore passing game, however, is terrible - ranked second-worst in the league. Kyle Boller is still struggling, averaging an anemic 138 yards per game passing. The running games are about equal here with both teams averaging 5.1 yards per carry. If Kansas City can keep Jamal Lewis somewhat contained, the Chiefs should be able to hold Baltimore under 25 points. I think Kansas City can put up more than that. They are averaging 21 per game but they have played very good defenses in Denver, Carolina and Houston. Through three weeks, all three of these opponents are ranked higher in defense than Baltimore and all are in the top half of the league with Carolina being ranked #7 and Denver ranked #1.
These two teams feature two of the best (if not the two best) tight-ends in the league. Kansas City's Tony Gonzales is the undisputed #1 player at that position. Young Todd Heap is definitely one of the league's best but he is expected to miss this game with an ankle injury. This doesn't bode well for an already struggling Baltimore pass offense. Deion Sanders is doubtful for the game.
Kansas City is 1-5 ATS following a loss by 3 or less. Baltimore is 6-1 ATS at home after allowing 9 points or less. Kansas City is 6-1 in their last seven October games. When teams that are really struggling face winning teams from week four on and they are large home underdogs, they have covered the spread 67% of the time over the past four years. Underdogs off a loss by 6 or less when facing a team off two big wins are 54-22 (71%) against the spread. Finally, home favorites of 3.5 to 10 points after covering 2 of 3 in October games are 24-57 (30%) ATS. This happens because teams that are on a roll early in the season get the public money and push the line out of whack.
The Bottom Line
Everyone is writing the Chiefs off. At 0-3 they can either give up or come out fighting. I think it will be the latter. They know this and have something to prove. They also have a season to save. I knew that it would take time for Cunningham's changes to start working. With three games under their belt, maybe this is the week. This line started at 4.5 and the public has pushed it to 6 which is too high. Kansas City keeps it close and might come away with the win. One unit on KC at +6 and a half a unit on them to win the game straight-up.