Kansas City Chiefs vs. Houston Texans (1/12/19): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

Last Week: 2-5
All Time Results: 110-99-2, +17.1 Units

Houston Texans +9.5 @ Kansas City – .1 Units

How good is Andy Reid really?

Kansas City Chiefs HC, Andy Reid I’ve often heard ranked by smart people as the second or third best coach in football.  He has an incredible 20-year track record, winning 62% of his games and succeding with two very different franchises in two entirely different locals.  He has made the playoffs in 15 of his 21 seasons as a head coach.

Just to put Reid’s success in perspective.  The Jacksonville Jaguars started as a franchise in 1995, 4 years before Andy Reid took over in Philadelphia.  To date he as 37 more wins than they do.  That means if he stopped coaching the Jaguars would have to go 19-0 twice to overtake his win total.

That said: if he’s one of the very best coaches now – and if has been so for twenty years – surely he is one of the best coaches of all time, right?

The question itself practically begs the follow up: How come he has never won the Super Bowl? Moreover, how could he beat one of the best coaches ever and only make 1 Super Bowl in his career? 1 out of 21 seasons.  The average team has a 1 out 16 chance to make the Super Bowl in any given year.  Reid’s teams have performed worse than that.  Is it just bad luck? Or is there something we are missing about his teams.

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Good not great?

My uncle always says, “Only one team is happy at the end of the year.”   What I took from that: the task of building a Super Bowl champion is entirely different from that of creating a contender.   I don’t know why Andy Reid hasn’t had success in the playoffs.  But I don’t think it’s a coincidence.  My theory: a player-friendly coach can achieve a lot of winning by keeping his players in a cool and relaxed mood throughout the year.  But to raising one’s intensity without losing discipline presents a unique challenge.  Perhaps players will always struggle to adjust to the highest intensity moments if the vibe around the team all year has been sandlot-style fun.

Andy Reid is 12-11-1 ATS for his career in the playoffs, but only 2-6-1 ATS since the 2009 season, including losing outright with the Chiefs three times as a home favorite.

Houston Texans +4 (+180) @ Kansas City – .1 Unit

Houston Texans +7.5 (+115) @ Kansas City – .1 Unit

Can Texans repeat their winning gameplan from week 6?

When the Chiefs lost by 7 against these Texans in Week 6, all the talk was about Mahomes ankle.  In truth, the Chiefs offense was a great that day, posting the 14th highest single-game Offensive DVOA of any team that lost out of 260 games this entire season.  Kansas City lost because of how badly it lost the ground game, and thus the Time of Possession battle.

houston texansTexans ran for 192 yards vs. only 53 for the Chiefs.  The 139 Rush yards differential was the 25th most in the NFL this season (90th percentile).  Despite having no answers for the Chiefs offense, Houston kept Mahomes off the field running the ball and converted two key fourth downs to ice it.

While the Chiefs defense has statistically improved since then, they have faced a lot of butterscotch offenses down the stretch, (i.e. not that good).  Even with their improvement, Chiefs have by the worst rush defense by far of any team left in the playoffs – 29th according to DVOA.  I could see another game like the one we had in Week 6 breakout.  Kansas City may make me look foolish and score 50, but I think the much better bet is for Texans to keep it close.

In his career, DeShaun Watson is 13-4 ATS as an underdog, with a +5.3 ATS margin.

Since 1986 the Chiefs are just 4-17 ATS in the playoffs, including 1-9 ATS at home.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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