Sunday Night Football Betting Preview

Bills at Chiefs

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Each week of the 2021-22 NFL season, TheLines will provide a betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game. Here we look at the SNF betting odds and dish out a breakdown of the playoff matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs.

SNF betting odds and analysis

Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs – 6:30 p.m. ET

Kansas City opened as a slight favorite at home and the line is now only a 1.5-point favorite at some books. The total (54.5 points) is the highest on the Divisional Round slate by several points.

The Chiefs (13-5) started 4-4 and have won 9 of their last 10 games, with a pair of blowout wins over the Raiders and Steelers. The rest of their victories have been managed narrowly through excellent defense and more conservative play from Patrick Mahomes after he committed 12 turnovers over Kansas City’s first eight games this season.

The Bills (12-6) were also quite inconsistent this season. They opened the year with a surprise home loss to the Steelers and took head-scratching defeats against the Jaguars and Patriots before turning it up with five straight wins, including two beatdowns of rival New England. Buffalo is scoring 34.4 PPG with a 50.7% third down conversion rate and holding opponents to just 12.3 PPG in its wins this season.

Last January, Kansas City defeated Buffalo, 38-22, at Arrowhead to make a second straight Super Bowl. Patrick Mahomes completed 29 of 38 passes for 325 yards and three TDs to lead the way and recently became the third QB in NFL history with five TD passes in multiple playoff games. Josh Allen exacted some revenge by carrying the Bills to a 38-20 win at Arrowhead in Week 5 with 315 passing yards and three TDs on just 26 attempts to post a 139.1 passer rating.

Kansas City is leading the NFL in third-down conversion rate (53%) and averaging the second-most yards per play (6.0) this season. However, Buffalo ranks second in third-down conversion rate (47.6%) and first in a number of vital defensive categories, including PPG allowed (17), total YPG allowed (274.6), and opponent’s third-down conversion rate (32%).

The Bills are 5-3 on the road and 6-5 outside of the AFC East. The Chiefs are 8-2 straight up at home, but only 5-5 against the spread (ATS) at Arrowhead this season.

Here are the betting trends of note for both the Bills and the Chiefs from recent seasons:

  • The Chiefs are 9-10 ATS when listed as home favorites since 2020
  • The Chiefs are 16-3 straight up (SU) when listed as home favorites since 2020
  • The Chiefs are 5-1 SU when playing with a rest disadvantage since 2020
  • Chiefs games against AFC foes are 10-3 to the Over this season
  • The Bills are 9-7 ATS on the road since 2020
  • The Bills are 19-7 ATS SU following a win since 2020
  • Bills games are 3-0 to the Over this season when they’re listed as underdogs and 5-0 to the Over since last season when they’re listed as road underdogs

Live betting angles: Buffalo vs. Kansas City

SNF prop search tool

Looking to bet on props for Sunday Night Football? Use our prop search tool to find the best odds across legal sportsbooks in the US.

Bills vs. Chiefs game matchup

Despite losing top CB Tre’Davious White (ACL) for the season on Thanksgiving, the Bills secondary remains elite at all venues. Buffalo is yielding the fewest yards per attempt (5.5) and the second-lowest completion rate (58.7%) on the road this season. Over their last three games, the Bills are only allowing 14.7 completions per game and 130 passing YPG, but of course they played the run-heavy Patriots and the weak Jets and Falcons offenses in that span.

Mahomes is averaging 320.2 passing YPG with a 15:2 TD:INT ratio while completing 70.3% of his passes over his last five starts. The youngest SB MVP in history owns a 22:3 TD:INT ratio with a 114 passer rating over eight playoff games at Arrowhead.

On the road, the Bills offense posted the third-most total YPG (401.5) and yards per play (6.1) while averaging a league-high 30.8 PPG. Allen completed 67% of his passes on the road, compared to a 59.7% completion rate at home, and Buffalo had the sixth-highest TD conversion rate (63.9%) on the road.

The Chiefs held opponents to 17.9 PPG and 5.4 yards per play at home this season. Opponents converted 48.4% of third downs when the Chiefs traveled, but were held to a 34.4% third-down conversion rate at Arrowhead. Passing yards accounted for 70% of the opponent’s yardage at Arrowhead, which plays into Buffalo’s spread attack system.

The Bills produced 70% of their yardage through the air on the road. With Gabriel Davis and Cole Beasley off the COVID List, and TE Dawson Knox breaking out, Bills OC Brian Daboll will have a bevvy of options to deploy in a potential shootout.

Kansas City is giving up 365.3 total YPG over its last three games and continues to struggle in red zone defense at home. The Chiefs have gone Over the implied total in five straight home games and their eight home playoff games with Mahomes under center have averaged 58.5 PPG with an average margin of victory over 11.7 PPG.

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How to watch Sunday Night Football

NBC will air all Sunday Night Football games.

The Week 18 TV spot on Jan. 9, 2022 will remain open until much later in the season, as potential playoff battles will factor into the league’s flexible scheduling decisions.

Games are also streamed all season on NBC’s website and the NBCSports mobile apps. Most packages on streaming services such as fuboTV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV include NBC.

SNF drew an average of 20.5 million viewers in 2019. It was Sunday Night Football’s best ratings in four years.

SNF’s Week 1 TV ratings in 2020 were not great, however, as there was a 15% drop in viewership from the previous year. The game in 2020 featured Cowboys vs. Rams, while the 2019 opener was the Patriots vs. Steelers.

SNF betting tips

How to bet Sunday Night Football like a sharp

The hype and hoopla circulating Sunday Night Football can distract casual bettors. Analysts, reporters and local news crews have a full week to pump out every different angle to the game and dig for stories. Players can add to the mirage on social media whether by talking up their own team or taking too many shots at the opposition.

Learn to separate the hype from fact and don’t fall victim to live-betting out of boredom if the game ends up being a dud. Look at the lines early in the week to assess the odds before the public money starts pouring in and either bet on the numbers set by the books or sit and wait to see if the line shifts in your favor. Reassess later in the week and bet against the public if the line shifts too heavily based on nothing more than favoritism.

The standalone nature of the game also draws in more bets. The entire nation is focused on one single game, which, more often than not, is no bigger than the dozen or so games that preceded it that week. Never bet just to add to the excitement (or create excitement around a lackluster matchup) if wanting long-term success. Wait to see if the favorite falls behind early and then is given a high number as a sudden in-game underdog. Carefully browse through lines on prop bets, looking at different sportsbooks and pick the best value. Shop around and pick on a book that seems out of touch with the others. Don’t scoff at an easier play on the point spread in search of a big payday with a heavy underdog winning outright.

Sunday Night Football edges

Primetime games often see home teams too heavily favored. Do the research, keep up to date with injury news and look at the matchup in a vacuum to see if the odds check out. Don’t look too much at individual players returning to their hometown, being reported as having “extra motivation” or who may be close to statistical milestones. Few wide receivers, for example, can seriously impact a game on their own, especially when facing a top corner who’s fully aware of their motivation in the one-on-one matchup.

Look for teams and especially head coaches who thrive under the spotlight and more importantly the additional preparation time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots receive more primetime slots than the average team. This experience provides an edge in certain matchups against teams who may be overwhelmed from added media attention and interview requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Sunday Night Football start?

Sunday Night Football kicks off every week from Sept. 12 through Jan. 9 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern. The ‘Football Night in America’ pregame show begins at 7 p.m. Eastern. NBC first started airing SNF for the 2006 season, taking over from ESPN.

How to stream Sunday Night Football?

Never miss a SNF game when you’re on the go with the NBCSports mobile apps. Cord-cutters can also use streaming services such as Hulu which includes NBC in most of its packages.

Who are the SNF announcers?

Booth announcers Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentary) provide the broadcast each week. Field reporter Michele Tayofa and rules expert Terry McAulay join in. Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio make up the pregame show.

Who was the original Sunday Night Football broadcast crew?

Cris Collinsworth replaced legendary former head coach John Madden as the color commentator beside Michaels in 2009.

Who sings the Sunday Night Football theme song?

Country music star Carrie Underwood has been singing the SNF theme since 2013. She replaced fellow country star Faith Hill, who took over from pop star Pink after just one season in 2007. The current song is titled “Game On”. Previous versions were “Oh, Sunday Night” and “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” in 2016.