The Baltimore Ravens and Kansas City Chiefs are the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl early in 2021. Both of these players are the cream that has risen to the top.
Let’s break down their Week 1 affairs and see about getting a couple of proper NFL predictions for the Houston Texans vs. Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, and the Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
TNF with the Kansas City Chiefs & Houston Texans
The point spread was sitting at 9.5 but has since, moved to 10 points. Now that we are on that key number, the action each side is roughly the same. 52% of the bets at Pinnacle are going towards Patrick Mahomes and his Cheifs and 48% is going to DeShaun Watson and the Texans.
The Houston Texans are looking to be a better team with JJ Watt back on the field. But they also lost some personnel on defense … especially at the LB positions. So, all in all, I don’t think the Texans will improve much. In fact, ESPN’s early Football Power Index has the Texans losing by 1.5 points against average teams on a neutral field. So, the Texans are at this point considered a sub-par team and will have to prove otherwise.
On the flip side, the Chiefs are returning Super Bowl champions and top the FPI at +7.4. This number indicates that they should beat average teams by 7.4 points in a neutral environment. They are also projected to win 12 or more games in 2020. Meanwhile, the Houston Texans are set with a season wins total betting line of 8 games.
Now if we add the home-field advantage, which Arrowhead stadium gives a full three points, some might say more, like 4 You have scoring margin of -1.5 + 10.4, meaning the Chiefs should win this game by just under 12 points. If we cross-reference this against last year’s numbers, we find that the Texans averaged 23.94 points per game, while the Chiefs pit up 29.89. Both of those numbers improved slightly in a home vs. away scenario.
The KC defense was also much better, allowing just over 21 per game at home against the Texans’ nearly 27 points allowed. With Kansas City’s added help in the back-field, they have another threat for defenses to worry about. I see this game a 35 to 21 crushing of the Texans. So, I like Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to cover the 10-point spread.
Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens
I’ll be honest. I believe the Ravens come close to running the table this season and win the Super Bowl. I think they will have a 14-win season, as they are not only perhaps the strongest team in the league, but have one of the easiest schedules.
They start out with a division game against the Browns, which is never easy. But the Browns are expected to lose by about a half-point (0.4) against average teams in a neutral setting, while the Ravens are expected to win by 6. Add the home field advantage of 3 points and we have a 9.4 point expected margin of victory in this game.
Lamar Jackson went from being a glorified running back to the best QB in the league in just one offseason. I can’t wait to see how much he’s improved this year. I have a feeling this young man is just hitting his stride and he will stride right past Baker Mayfield and the Browns on September 13th.
Why? It isn’t just the FPI I’m thinking about. It’s the Purple Reign home defense. They allowed just 19.67 points per game at M&T Bank Stadium last season. Meanwhile, the Browns only mustered 19.75 points per game as a road offense. This Week 1 matchup has smothering written all over it. The Browns are a rich, old woman who can barely move … and the Ravens are the greedy, able-bodied nephew with a pillow.
Take the Ravens to cover the spread at -8.5.