The health of injured quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the biggest question mark of the week as the Kansas City Chiefs prepare to face the Buffalo Bills in Sunday's AFC Championship Game as 3-point favourites on the NFL odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Mahomes was a participant as Kansas City returned to practice on Wednesday, but remains in concussion protocol just days ahead of Sunday's matchup at Arrowhead Stadium.
The former NFL MVP was injured in the Chiefs' narrow 22-17 win over Cleveland in AFC Divisional Playoff action last weekend, and his absence would deal a blow to Kansas City's chances of paying out as a +200 wager on the Super Bowl odds. Mahomes ranked second in the NFL this season with 4,740 passing yards and connected on 38 touchdown passes.
Despite their star quarterback's exploits, the Chiefs have emerged as an unreliable wager. After falling short as 8-point chalk in Sunday's victory over the Browns, the Chiefs have now failed to tally a win against the spread in nine straight outings.
Diminished offensive output has contributed to the Chiefs' 0-8-1 ATS slide. Kansas City has averaged just 20 points per game over its past three contests, and has scored 22 or fewer points in four of its past six. That comes in stark contrast to their first 10 games of the campaign, during which the team scored 30 or more points on seven occasions. The dip in points has not produced even results in totals betting, with the OVER currently on a 5-4 run.
Low scoring is just fine with the Bills, who travel to Kansas City for their first AFC Championship Game appearance in 27 years. The Bills extended their current straight-up win streak to eight games with last weekend's 17-3 victory over Baltimore as 2.5-point home favourites at online sports betting sites. Unlike the Chiefs, Buffalo currently enjoys a steady run at the sportsbooks, going 9-1 ATS in its past 10 contests.
The Buffalo defence has risen to the occasion during the team's march into contention. Listed at +325 on the Super Bowl odds, the Bills have given up just 17.1 points per game during their current surge, and single-digit point totals in two of their past four outings. With quarterback Josh Allen leading the way, the Buffalo offence has done its job. Even with last weekend's small point total, the Bills have averaged 34.1 points per game during their current win streak.
However, Buffalo has averaged just 16.2 points per game during a 1-4 SU and ATS run versus the Chiefs.