Why are the struggling Chiefs such big favorites over the Bengals?

Did the oddsmakers watch the Chiefs last weekend?

Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs
Las Vegas Raiders v Kansas City Chiefs / Kirby Lee/GettyImages
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While this match-up between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs doesn't have quite the same shine to it as the last few have, NFL fans are still excited to watch these two go at it for the fifth time in two years.

Both teams are coming off humbling losses but this is a desperate time for the Chiefs and the Bengals. If the Chiefs lose, they're suddenly facing a nervous situation in Week 18 where they could still theoretically miss the playoffs. If the Bengals lose, they're basically eliminated from making the big dance. A lot is at stake on Sunday evening, that's for sure.

After their embarrassing loss to the Raiders on Christmas Day where the offense was inept, I was surprised when looking at the odds this week to see the Chiefs as such massive favorites. Yes, the Bengals defense has given up more explosive plays this year and overall hasn't been the same daunting unit but the Chiefs offense has looked atrocious over the past month or so yet they're currently 6.5 point favorites for Sunday's game.

Why are the Chiefs favored by 6.5 points?

I already spoke to Matt Conner of Arrowhead Addict about this match-up but I was curious about this line so I asked him what his thoughts were. Here's what he had to say.

"I would say that people are overthinking the quarterback matchup Mahomes versus Browning. The Chiefs are also at home so that’s half the distance there. But people forget that Lou Anurumo always has the Chiefs’ number and the Bengals know it’s all on the line. It will be interesting."

Matt Conner

So, there you go, from a Chiefs perspective. I get why Patrick Mahomes tends to get the benefit of the doubt but he played arguably the worst game of his career last week and has not looked like the same MVP winner from a season ago. Once teams double and triple Travis Kelce, Mahomes doesn't trust many of his other players to make a play for him so he's often trying to do too much.

The Chiefs are also at home, which gives them three points right there. If they were three or four point favorites, I'd understand that but I don't think 6.5 points is the proper line here because, as Matt alluded to, Lou Anarumo has schemed well against Mahomes even when he's been his regular MVP-winning self.

We'll see if the Bengals can cover the spread or outright win the game. If history between these two teams has told us anything, it's that this should be a wild ride.

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