Chiefs vs. Browns: NFL Playoff Betting Preview – January 17, 2021

Posted By Staff on January 15, 2021 - Last Updated on January 17, 2021

The Kansas City Chiefs (14-2) host the Cleveland Browns (11-5) in the AFC Divisional round of the 2020 NFL Playoffs as big favorites on January 17, 2021 at 3:05 PM ET on CBS. The point total is set at for the contest.

The game marks the 27th meeting between the teams in a series the Chiefs lead 13-11-2. The most recent game between the teams unfolded in Week 9 of the 2018 season, when Kansas City notched a 37-21 road win.

In that face-off between then-rookie Baker Mayfield and then first-year starter Patrick Mahomes, the latter emerged with the upper hand by racking up 375 yards and three touchdowns. For his part, Mayfield threw for 297 yards and two scores, with each quarterback throwing an interception apiece. Meanwhile, a rookie Nick Chubb rushed 22 times for 85 yards and a touchdown, while current backfield mate Kareem Hunt, then with the Chiefs, lead Kansas City’s running game with 17 carries for 91 yards and two scores of his own.

The betting insights in this article reflect betting data from DraftKings as of January 12, 2021, 1:41 AM ET. See table below for current betting odds and CLICK HERE to bet at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Chiefs vs Browns Betting Odds

Chiefs vs Browns Props

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Betting breakdown

The Browns come into this matchup with a head of steam, having just run up 48 points on the Steelers in Pittsburgh to advance to the divisional round and having prevailed in five of their final seven regular-season contests. However, the Chiefs were a juggernaut once again this season, going 14-2 despite resting the majority of their front-line starters in Week 17 and finishing second only to the Bills in the AFC with a +111 point differential.

As such, even with Cleveland’s momentum, oddsmakers are clearly envisioning the combination of Kansas City’s bye week, homefield edge and elite offensive talent making a significant difference. The line opened at 9.5 points late Sunday night before actually growing a full point to 10.5 and then dipping back down to 10.0 as of Tuesday afternoon. Currently, Kansas City is listed as home favorites.

However, it’s worth noting the Chiefs were far from a dominant team against the spread at home this season. KC finished with a net margin of victory of 5.2 points at home, along with a net ATS +/- of -4.6 points.

The projected total has been more stable overall than the point spread, and it actually qualifies as the largest of the four-game divisional-round slate as of Tuesday afternoon. It opened at 55.5 points late Sunday evening and has subsequently been up to 56.0 points as of Tuesday afternoon. Each team’s offensive metrics does support the notion of a high-scoring contest – the Browns are now averaged 26.8 points per game when factoring in their big night against the Steelers, while the Chiefs finished the regular season with 29.6 points per contest.

Betting the Total (Over/Under)

  • Chiefs games have gone over 56.0 points on seven occasions this season (43.8% of matchups).
  • Cleveland’s games have gone over 56.0 points on five occasions (31.2% of games).
  • The two teams average a combined 55.1 points per contest, 0.9 fewer than the total for this matchup.
  • These teams allow a combined 48.8 points per game, 7.2 fewer points than this contest’s total.
  • The over/under in this game is 56.0 points, 3.8 higher than the average total in Chiefs games this season.
  • Games involving the Browns this year have averaged 51.7 points per game, a 4.3-point differential when compared to the over/under for this contest.
  • The Chiefs score the sixth-most points in the league this season, while the Browns’ offense puts up the 14th-most.
  • This game features the league’s 21st-ranked (Cleveland) and 10th-ranked (Kansas City) scoring defenses.
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Chiefs Betting Insights

  • Kansas City’s games have gone over the point total in eight out of 16 opportunities this season (50%).
  • Kansas City is just 7-9 against the spread.
  • The Chiefs are just 2-4 ATS when favored by at least 10.0 points.

Browns Betting Insights

  • 9 of Cleveland’s 16 games this year have gone over the point total (56.2% of its outings).
  • Cleveland has put together a losing 6-10 record against the spread this season.
  • The Browns are just 0-1 ATS when an underdog by at least 10.0 points.

Chiefs vs Browns: Head to Head

Chiefs vs Browns: Last Meeting
Date Home Team Total Yards Result
11/4/2018 Browns 499-388 KC 37-21 KC

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Browns vs. Chiefs matchup

Even with head coach Kevin Stefanski sitting at home in his basement due to COVID-19 protocols, the Browns offense didn’t miss a beat against what had been a dominant defense in the Steelers on Sunday. In fact, the 48-point haul was Cleveland’s second-highest of the season and was a testament to both on-field talent and the system that Stefanski has implemented. The challenge for Cleveland is they’ll likely need every bit of that firepower against the Chiefs.

On paper, the matchup does appear to dovetail very well with the way Stefanski would prefer to win games, namely, on the ground. Cleveland runs the ball at the fourth-highest rate in the league (48.39 percent). Had both Chubb and Hunt played in all 16 games apiece, it’s almost certain each would have eclipsed 1,000 yards on the ground. The Chiefs had the luxury of teams being forced to abandon the run against them at times because of game script, but they gave up 122.1 rushing yards per game, including 131.0 per home contest. KC also gave up 4.67 adjusted line yards per carry, the eighth-highest figure in the league. In turn, the combination of Cleveland’s stalwart offensive line and the abilities of both backs led to the Browns boasting the sixth-highest adjusted line yards per carry (4.79) and fourth-highest RB yards per carry (4.91).

In contrast, the air attack could have a much tougher task. The Chiefs ranked in the top half of the league with 236.2 passing yards per game surrendered, and they yielded the sixth-lowest completion percentage (62.7). KC was especially effective against receivers. Andy Reid’s squad gave up an AFC-low 134.9 yards per contest to the position, along with a minuscule 59.7 percent catch rate to the position. Kansas City also racked up 16 interceptions and recorded 32 sacks; although Mayfield did a good job cutting down turnovers this season, he still threw eight interceptions and fumbled on eight occasions as well, losing possession four times.

On the other side, the Chiefs often made a mockery of statistical matchups this season by continuing to rack up astronomical numbers on that side of the ball. Kansas City led the NFL with 415.8 total yards per game, including the most passing yards per contest (303.4). KC also finished with the second-highest yards per play (6.3), making them a particularly dangerous foe for a Browns team that struggled badly against the pass at times. Cleveland is now allowing a robust, NFL-high 311.9 passing yards per road game after giving up over 500 to Ben Roethlisberger last Sunday night, particularly foreboding numbers with Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce on tap.

The Browns were much more effective stopping the run. Cleveland allows just 107.4 rushing yards per game, including 96.1 per road contest. They also yielded just 4.08 RB yards per carry as well. As good as those numbers are, however, they may not actually serve much of a purpose. The Chiefs ran the ball at the fifth-lowest rate of any team on its home field (34.55 percent). While rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire should be rested and ready to roll after sitting out the last two regular-season games with an ankle injury and then having the extra week to rest during the bye. How much work he’ll see is up for debate, with CEH only logging 20 or more carries in three of 13 games.

When the Chiefs Have the Ball

  • The Chiefs have put an average of 29.6 points per game on the scoreboard this season, 3.4 more than the 26.2 the Browns have surrendered in each contest.
  • In games where Kansas City score at least 29.6 points this season, they are 8-1 overall and 5-4 against the spread.
  • Cleveland is 7-2 overall and 4-5 against the spread this season in games where they allow fewer than 26.2 points.
  • The Chiefs hold a 57.6-yard advantage in total yards gained versus total yards allowed compared to the Browns defense this season (415.8 to 358.2). The Chiefs average 6.3 yards per play while the Browns give up 5.5 per play.
  • When the Kansas City offense puts together a game with at least their 2020 average in yardage, they are 7-0 overall and 3-4 against the spread this season.
  • When the Cleveland defense allows less than their season average for total yards this season they are 4-5 against the spread and 6-3 overall.
  • The Chiefs have averaged 112.1 yards per game on the ground this season, just 1.6 yards more than the Browns have allowed to opposing rushing attacks (110.5).
  • When Kansas City rushers gain at least a combined 112.1 yards this season, they are 7-0 overall and 4-3 against the spread.
  • When Cleveland limits opposing teams to 110.5 rushing yards or fewer this year, they are 6-5 against the spread and 10-1 overall.
  • The Chiefs have turned the ball over 1 time per game this season, while the Browns have averaged 1.3 takeaways per contest.
  • When Kansas City turns the football over 1 time or fewer this season, they are 12-2 overall and 7-7 against the spread.
  • Cleveland is 5-1 against the spread and 6-0 overall this season when they force at least 1.3 turnovers in a game.

When the Browns Have the Ball

  • The Browns average just 2.9 more points per game (25.5) than the Chiefs surrender (22.6).
  • Cleveland is 4-4 against the spread and 7-1 overall a season ago when the team records at least 25.5 points.
  • This season, Kansas City has a 5-4 record against the spread and an 8-1 record overall in games when it holds opponents to 29.6 or fewer points.
  • The Browns average only 11.3 more yards per game (369.6), than the Chiefs give up per outing (358.3). On average, the Browns pick up 5.8 yards per play, while the Chiefs allow 5.6 per play.
  • When the Kansas City offense put together a game with at least their 2019 average in yardage, they were 5-1 overall and 4-2 against the spread last season.
  • In games Kansas City keeps its opponents to 358.3 or fewer yards, it has a 5-1 record ATS and a 6-0 record overall.
  • This season, the Browns pile up 148.4 yards per game on the ground, 26.3 more per game than the Chiefs allow per outing (122.1).
  • Cleveland has a 2-4 ATS record and a 6-0 overall record when the team rushes for at least 148.4 yards.
  • This season, Kansas City is 4-5 against the spread and 9-0 overall when holding opponents to no more than 122.1 rushing yards.
  • This year, the Browns turn the ball over one time per game, only 0.4 fewer turnovers per game than the 1.4 the Chiefs force on average.
  • Cleveland has a 5-7 record against the spread and a 10-2 record overall when it turns the ball over 1 time or less.
  • This season, Kansas City has a 2-2 record against the spread and a 4-0 record overall when it forces at least 1.4 turnovers.

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Chiefs Players to Watch

  • Patrick Mahomes II has thrown for 4,740 yards while completing 66.3% of his passes (390-of-588), with 38 touchdowns and six interceptions in 15 games this year (316.0 yards per game). He’s also carried the ball 63 times for 302 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 20.1 yards per game.
  • Clyde Edwards-Helaire has taken 181 carries for a team-leading 803 rushing yards (61.8 yards per game) while scoring four touchdowns in 13 games. He’s also caught 36 passes for 297 yards (22.8 receiving yards per game) with one touchdown through the air.
  • Le’Veon Bell has 328 yards on 82 carries (29.8 ypg), with two rushing touchdowns over the course of 11 games.
  • This season, Travis Kelce has 105 catches (on 145 targets) to lead the team with 1,416 yards (94.4 per game) while scoring 11 touchdowns in 15 games.
  • Tyreek Hill’s statline this year shows 87 grabs for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns in 15 games. He puts up 85.1 receiving yards per game and has been targeted 134 times.
  • Mecole Hardman has caught 41 passes on 62 targets for 560 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 35.0 yards per game in 16 contests in 2020.
  • Chris Jones has notched a team-leading 7.5 sacks, while adding 3.0 TFL and 36 tackles over 15 games.
  • Daniel Sorensen has collected 92 tackles, 2.0 TFL, and three interceptions to lead the team in tackles so far in 15 games over the 2020 campaign.
  • Tyrann Mathieu has a team-high six interceptions and has tacked on 63 tackles, 3.0 TFL, and nine passes defended 15 in games this season.

Browns Players to Watch

  • This year, Baker Mayfield has collected 3,563 passing yards (222.7 yards per game) while going 305-for-486 (62.8% completion percentage) and throwing 26 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 16 games. He has tacked on a 165 rushing yards on 54 carries with one touchdown, averaging 10.3 yards per game.
  • Nick Chubb has racked up a team-high 1,067 rushing yards (88.9 yards per game) and scored 12 touchdowns in 12 games.
  • Kareem Hunt has 841 yards on 198 carries (52.6 ypg), with six rushing touchdowns over the course of 16 games. He also has 38 catches for 304 yards (19.0 ypg) and five touchdowns.
  • This season, Jarvis Landry has 72 catches (on 101 targets) to lead the team with 840 yards (52.5 per game) with three touchdowns in 16 games.
  • Rashard Higgins’ statline this year shows 37 catches for 599 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games. He puts up 42.8 receiving yards per game and has been targeted 52 times.
  • Austin Hooper has caught 46 passes on 70 targets for 435 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 33.5 yards per game in 13 contests in 2020.
  • Myles Garrett has 12.0 sacks to lead the team, and has also racked up 10.0 TFL and 48 tackles over 16 games.
  • In 16 games over his 2020 campaign, B.J. Goodson has 91 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 0.5 sacks, and two interceptions, and leads the team in both interceptions and tackles.
  • Goodson has a team-high two interceptions and has tacked on 91 tackles, 2.0 TFL, 0.5 sacks, and five passes defended 16 in games this season.

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