Pick: Cincinnati Bengals over 25½ total points, playable to over 26½. You can also find over 27 at +112, a bet I have made. For the game, the pick is Chiefs -2½, but it’s not a best bet. If the Bengals get back to +3 or +3½ I would play that instead.
There is no denying the Chiefs have the most potent offense in the NFL. Patrick Mahomes and his squad are scoring almost 13 points per game more than expected after accounting for the down, distance and field position of each play, per data from TruMedia. That’s more than double the Buffalo Bills, who rank second, producing 5.5 more points per game than expected. The Kansas City defense, however, is suspect, ranking 22nd per Football Outsiders after adjusting for opponents faced.
The Bengals are a much more balanced team than the Chiefs — with the eighth-best offense and 13th-best defense, per Football Outsiders — and should have little trouble putting points on the board. How many points? Using Cincinnati’s season-to-date touchdown and field goal rates, adjusted for opponent and scaled to Kansas City’s defensive rates, suggests the Bengals have a 53 percent chance at scoring at least 27 points.
The plays above represent our best bets of the week because our analysis shows their value is the most lucrative compared with what we expect to happen on the field. Below, you will find against-the-spread picks for all of the games on this week’s schedule. However, trying to pick every game is something of a fool’s errand. The house wins so often partly because bettors try to make too many plays when the odds aren’t in their favor. Keep that in mind when evaluating the remaining games from the Week 13 slate.