Week 13 NFL Best Bets: Broncos At Chiefs Value Lies With Total

Written By Eli Hershkovich on December 5, 2021

Throughout the season, there’s been plenty of value in the market with underdogs. They’ve gone 101-77-1 against the spread overall (56.7%). So where should we look for our NFL Week 13 best bets?

Admittedly, there isn’t much worth betting on this week. But let’s focus on the Sunday Night Football matchup between the Chiefs and Broncos, which presents value in one particular market.

Kansas City currently holds a one-game lead over Denver in the AFC West, and the Broncos sit behind the Chargers for the final AFC wild-card spot because of tiebreakers. Hence, this game is critical for both sides.

NFL Week 13 Best Bets: Chiefs vs. Broncos

Chiefs’ Defense vs. Broncos’ Offense

Over Kansas City’s first seven games, Steve Spagnuolo’s defense surrendered the second-most expected points added (EPA) per play. But the Chiefs are tied for the No. 3 ranking in that department since then.

  • EPA is calculated by expected points scored based on the down, distance, and field position at the start of a play — juxtaposed with the play’s conclusion.

Their turnaround has been trigged by an enhanced pass rush, as they’re accruing the league’s sixth-highest pressure rate. Chiefs defensive end Chris Jones looks more comfortable on the edge after making the switch in the offseason, leading the NFL in pressures since Week 8. Moreover, edge rusher Frank Clark is tied for the second-most quarterback hits and forced fumbles, respectively, over the four-game stretch.

Before the bye week, they notched 17 pressures on Cowboys QB Dak Prescott while yielding the fifth-fewest EPA per dropback. Newly-acquired Melvin Ingram only tallied one tackle in the win, yet his presence alone is freeing up space for Jones & Co.

Couple that with an improved run defense, and this bunch is set to continue its turnaround against a Broncos attack that’s predicated on utilizing their ground game within a positive script. Even if their offensive line contains left tackle Garett Bolles (reserve/COVID-19 list) and left guard Dalton Risner (back), they rank No. 22 in rushing success rate (SR) overall.

  • SR showcases whether a play is successful if a team gains:
    • 50 percent of the yards needed to move the chains on first down
    • 70 percent of yards to gain on second down
    • 100 percent of yards to gain on third or fourth down

Best of luck to Teddy Bridgewater if he’s forced to beat this defense through the air, especially with playmaker Juan Thornhill in at safety over Daniel Sorenson.

Broncos’ Defense vs. Chiefs’ Offense

Over the same aforementioned stretch, Denver boasts a top-11 ranking in both defensive SR and EPA per play. The Broncos’ passing defense has led the way, and they’re expected to regain safety Kareem Jackson (neck) after he missed their latest win over the Chargers.

Similar to Kansas City, Denver presents a top-10 pressure and hurry rate, respectively. They’re up against one of the NFL’s more respectable offensive lines in front of MVP candidate Patrick Mahomes ().

Nevertheless, the public perception surrounding Mahomes’ current play is a bit overstated. He’s outside of the top 10 in passing SR and completion percentage over expected (CPOE) in his last four games. I’m expecting Fangio’s unit to generate enough havoc while its stout secondary holds up. Keep in mind, the Broncos held Justin Herbert to the 12th-lowest CPOE in Week 12.

How I’m Betting This Game

With both defenses set up for success, there’s still enough value in the total to grab the under for this primetime affair.

Eli’s Bet: Under 47.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook — placed at 4pm ET on Tuesday, Nov. 30
NFL Best Bets: Under 46.5 or better
Best Available Odds: O/U
2021 NFL  Record: 39-24 (+11.49 units)

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Written by
Eli Hershkovich

Eli Hershkovich is a lead sports betting writer with TheLines and Catena Media, formerly with Audacy and The Action Network. His goal is to provide you with data and information to lead you to winning bets. Eli is an avid college basketball gambler — among many other sports — and still hasn't forgiven Virginia for ruining his 2018-2019 Texas Tech futures.

View all posts by Eli Hershkovich