On Thursday (10/12/23), the Denver Broncos face the Kansas City Chiefs in an AFC West matchup. In this article, find the latest betting odds for the game and a full preview of the matchup. In addition, find our best bet & prediction, which is the Broncos +10.5.
Denver Broncos Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Prediction & Best Bet
The Chiefs sit at 4-1, and while they haven’t always looked their best this year, there’s no question that the defending Super Bowl champions remain in the top tier of teams. The Broncos’ season has spiraled, meanwhile, and now sitting at 1-4, fans aren’t happy with the early returns in the Sean Payton era.
The defense has been the primary culprit for Denver’s demise as the torches and pitchforks are out for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph. The Broncos rank dead last in points and yards allowed and are the worst defense in the NFL by DVOA and EPA. They’re also responsible for allowing 70 points to the Dolphins earlier this year.
However, the Chiefs’ offense hasn’t fully clicked this year. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce both seem to be working through injuries, and the pass-catching options outside of Kelce are sparse. Mahomes ranks just 17th in yards per attempt and 19th in adjusted completion rate – the consistency hasn’t been the same as last year.
Denver’s offense, meanwhile, has been better than perhaps some realize. The public perception is that Russell Wilson’s struggles have extended into this season, but he quietly ranks second in completion percentage over expectation. He’s also fourth with a 106.1 passer rating. The fumble to seal last week’s loss hurt, but down to down, he’s been very solid.
The Broncos are getting contributions from young offensive weapons, including undrafted free agent running back Jaleel McLaughlin. Don’t be shocked if McLaughlin is a real X-factor in this game – he ranks second among running backs with a 22.7% explosive run rate. He also has 206 yards on just 29 touches, averaging 7.1 yards per touch.
Denver has lost 15 straight games in this so-called rivalry, and as a Broncos fan, I can’t express much optimism that will change this week. However, the spread of 10.5 points is too high on a short week, and Denver will come out with its hair on fire here. Expect the Chiefs to win, but the Broncos keep it within 10 points.
Denver Broncos Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Prediction & Best Bet: Broncos +10.5
Denver Broncos Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Betting Odds
DEN @ KC
Oct. 12, 7:15 PM
Odds updated October 12th, 2023, at 10:03 pm
The look ahead line for this game had the Chiefs as 8.5-point favorites, but after the Broncos lost to the Jets and the Chiefs beat the Vikings, the spread now sits at 10.5 points. The over-under is on the high side for a Thursday night game at 49 points, but it makes sense with the reigning MVP Mahomes facing the Broncos’ league-worst defense.
Denver Broncos Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Key Injuries
The Broncos are getting closer to full health on defense, which is huge given their struggles on that end. Pay attention to the status of safety Justin Simmons, edge rusher Baron Browning, and defensive tackles D.J. Jones and Mike Purcell throughout the week.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, have Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce working through injuries, although both are expected to play. Edge George Karlaftis and linebacker Nick Bolton are both listed as questionable, and they would be big absences for Kansas City.
Denver Broncos Vs. Kansas City Chiefs Key Matchups
When these AFC West foes match up on Thursday night, there are some interesting matchups that will help determine the outcome. Let’s break down some of the key matchups in this game.
Chiefs’ Wide Receivers Vs. Broncos’ Secondary
Travis Kelce left the game on Sunday briefly with a scary non contact ankle injury, but he returned and scored a touchdown. Still, he might not be at 100% health this week, which would put further onus on an underperforming group of wide receivers. There are 38 wide receivers averaging over 2 yards per route run per PFF, and the Chiefs have just one of them.
That one would be rookie Rashee Rice, who has just 173 yards through five games but has started to emerge more in recent weeks. Last week, he scored a touchdown against the Vikings. Kansas City would love to get more out of second-year receiver Skyy Moore, who leads the team with 127 routes run but has just nine receptions.
Denver’s secondary got back former All Pro safety Justin Simmons last week while Patrick Surtain II, perhaps the best cornerback in the NFL, leads the way. The potential return of safety P.J. Locke would also be a big boost for the worst pass defense in the NFL by EPA.
Broncos’ Pass Rush Vs. Chiefs’ Pass Blocking
If the Broncos’ defense wants to have any chance of slowing down Patrick Mahomes, it starts with reducing the amount of time he has to operate in the pocket. That hasn’t been a strength of Denver’s this year – in fact, they rank dead last in pass rush win rate (30%) and pressure rate (13.6%).
High-priced free agent Zach Allen has four pressures and a sack in each of his last two games, and he’ll need to make a big impact here. The Broncos could also get some much needed reinforcements as edge rusher Baron Browning could be set to make his season debut after starting on the PUP.
The Chiefs’ offensive line has been outstanding this year as they lead the NFL in pass block win rate and have allowed just four sacks, the second-fewest in the league. They’re led by outstanding interior offensive line play from guard Joe Thuney and center Creed Humphrey.