Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans (12/18/2022): Betting Odds, Prediction, Depth Chart

One of the league’s best teams visits one of the worst when the Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) head to Houston for a matchup with the Texans (1-11-1) on Sunday, December 18. Despite holding the league’s worst record, the Texans might be gaining some confidence after nearly defeating the Dallas Cowboys last week. They held a three-point lead late in the fourth quarter before surrendering the game-winning touchdown with just 41 seconds to go.

The Chiefs bounced back from a loss to the Bengals two weeks ago to beat the division rival Broncos last week. With a win this week, the Chiefs will clinch the AFC West division crown for the seventh consecutive season, which would tie for the second-longest streak since the AFL-NFL merger.

Let’s take a look at the odds, injuries and depth charts for this Chiefs vs. Texans matchup and see my picks and predictions for the game.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans Betting Odds

The Chiefs opened as two touchdown favorites on the road with a spread of -14, which appears to be a very good line as the public money is split right down the middle in this matchup. The Chiefs’ moneyline odds range from -800 to -1000 depending on the sportsbook, and unsurprisingly the public lean is much stronger with that pick. Over 80% of the money is on the Chiefs.

The over/under for this matchup opened at 47.5 and has increased to 49.5, which is the highest total on the week 15 slate. Roughly 60% of the public money is on the over, which contributed to the two-point bump, but even if that continues it seems unlikely that it will push it past 49.5.

The implied outcome of these odds is the Chiefs winning 31.75-17.75.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans Prediction

Can the Texans do it again? Last week they faced the longest odds of any team this season with a +16.5 point spread against the Cowboys, and not only did they cover, but they actually messed around and almost won the game outright. Now they come home against another Super Bowl contender to try to do it again.

Nobody expected that outcome last week, and nobody is really expecting them to compete with the Chiefs either, but that game last week is just the latest evidence that anything can happen on any given Sunday. There might be some recency bias at play, but that is also why the money is split so evenly on the spread in this matchup. As good as the Chiefs are, and as awful as the Texans have been, it’s really hard to win by more than two touchdowns in the NFL.

Looking at this matchup objectively, do I think the Chiefs should win by more than two touchdowns? Yes, I do. Would I bet on it? No, I would not. I learned my lesson last week and from countless other games with double-digit spreads. More often than not, a team favored by a double-digit spread fails to cover (unfortunately reliable data on this is hard to come by).

So I’m staying away from betting the spread in this game, but for the purposes of making an official prediction, I will take the Chiefs and lay the points. I just don’t think a team as bad as the Texans can do it two weeks in a row. Compared to the Cowboys, I also like the matchup better for the Chiefs, who have a lot more offensive firepower than Dallas and won’t be as likely to get stifled by the Texans’ weak defense.

Instead of betting the spread, I’m focusing my units on the total in this game, and I’m fading the public and taking the under. My logic is the same as last week – I don’t expect the Chiefs to need to score a ton of points to win this game comfortably. Once they build up a lead, they should have no problem running out the game with Isiah Pacheco against the Texans’ terrible run defense.

While the Chiefs’ defense is not nearly as strong as the Cowboys’ defense, they will be facing a Texans’ offense without its best player in running back Dameon Pierce, who suffered an ankle injury last week and is expected to miss this game. Pierce helped the Texans move the ball last week, gaining 78 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. There is a big drop-off to backup Dare Ogunbowale, and the Texans will likely be relying more on pass-catching backs Eno Benjamin and Rex Burkhead.

The Chiefs also have the benefit of having some tape on the two-QB offense the Texans ran last week with Davis Mills and Jeff Driskel, which was effective against the Cowboys partly because they weren’t prepared for it. The Chiefs will not have that problem and should be able to hold the Texans to less than the 23 points they managed last week.

My Prediction: Chiefs win 31-13, Chiefs cover, under 49.5

Betting Trends

  • Chiefs are 0-5-1 ATS in their last six games.
  • Chiefs are 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a straight up win.
  • Texans are 1-4 ATS in their last five games and 1-4 ATS in their last five home games.
  • The Over is 9-2 in the Chiefs’ last 11 road games.
  • The Under is 4-1 in the Texans’ last five games overall and 4-1 in their last five following a loss.
  • The Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these teams.

Key Injuries

Kansas City Chiefs Injuries: WR Kadarius Toney (Q – Hamstring), S Nazeeh Johnson (Q – hamstring), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (O – ankle), WR Mecole Hardman* (O – abdomen)

*eligible to be activated from IR this week

Houston Texans Injuries: CB Steven Nelson (Q – ankle), RB Dameon Pierce (O – ankle), G Justin McCray (Q – hamstring), WR Nico Collins (Q – foot), WR Brandin Cooks (Q – calf), CB Derek Stingley Jr. (Q – hamstring), LT Laremy Tunsil (Q – illness), G Kenyon Green (Q – ankle), DT Kurt Hinish (Q – shoulder), DL Roy Lopez (Q – hip), DL Taylor Stallworth (Q – calf)

Key Matchups

Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans below.

Patrick Mahomes vs. Texans’ secondary

Houston has a terrible run defense, worst in the league in terms of yardage and 27th in DVOA, but they actually have a decent passing defense. They are 14th in the league in passing yards allowed and 17th in passing defense DVOA. However, they are banged up in the secondary, with both starting cornerbacks Steven Nelson and Derek Stingley questionable for this game.

That is less than ideal when you’re facing the league’s leading passer in Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown for over 300 yards in seven of his last eight games (345.3 per game). He is also expected to get back speedy wide receiver Kadarius Toney from a hamstring injury, and another speedster Mecole Hardman is eligible to be activated from IR.

Texans’ running backs vs. Chiefs’ linebackers

The Chiefs have allowed the most receptions and the second-most receiving yards to opposing running backs this season, and the Texans have two dangerous pass-catching running backs in Eno Benjamin and Rex Burkhead. Those backs are expected to see increased snaps this week with the injury to Dameon Pierce.

With both starting wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Nico Collins still questionable to return from injuries, the Texans may look to target their running backs more than usual this week. With the Chiefs being vulnerable against that, it could be a mismatch that helps the Texans move the ball and pick up first downs.

Kansas City Chiefs Depth Chart

QB: Patrick Mahomes
RB1: Isiah Pacheco
RB2: Jerick McKinnon
LWR: Marquez Valdes-Scantling
SWR: JuJu Smith-Schuster
RWR: Kadarius Toney
TE1: Travis Kelce

Houston Texans Depth Chart

QB1: Davis Mills
QB2: Kyle Allen
RB1: Dameon Pierce
RB2: Eno Benjamin
RB3: Dare Ogunbowale
RWR: Brandin Cooks
SWR: Chris Moore
LWR: Nico Collins
TE1: O.J. Howard

Noah hails from Philadelphia and is a diehard Philly sports fan. He graduated from Penn where he was a sports writer and editor for the student newspaper and also spent a summer covering the Baltimore Orioles for MLB.com. He has been playing fantasy sports since before live stats were a thing, and he has enjoyed learning the nuances of DFS in recent years. As a current resident of Florida, he is hoping the wave of sports betting legalization will eventually reach his home state.

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