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One of the weird recent streaks in sports betting was the Kansas City Chiefs failing week after week to cover a spread.
From Nov. 1, 2020, to Nov. 7 of this year, the Chiefs were 3-16-1 against the spread over a 20-game stretch that includes the postseason. It's not like the Chiefs were that bad. They just weren't covering.
On one hand it made sense. Oddsmakers lost so often during the first part of the Patrick Mahomes era that all Chiefs lines were inflated. On the other, the Chiefs losing for bettors every week was strange. Bettors couldn't make money on one of the best teams in the NFL.
Like everything else in sports betting that has flipped. The Chiefs are profitable again. It seems right.
Chiefs have been good to bettors lately
The Chiefs had a great cover for anyone who bet on them Thursday night. They trailed by eight points in the fourth quarter and tied it, trailed by seven points late in the fourth quarter and tied it again, then won on a walk-off touchdown in overtime. A field goal win would have gotten Chiefs -3 bettors an unsatisfying push. The win was a lot better.
That's five in a row against the spread. Here's a quick recap of the Chiefs' winning streak for bettors, with the closing lines from Covers.com:
Week 10, -2.5 at Raiders: This was a sign the Chiefs might be awakening. They won 42-14, and bettors had a really easy cover.
Week 11, -2.5 vs. Cowboys: The Chiefs defense came through in this one, grinding out a 19-9 win with a cover that really wasn't in doubt.
Week 12, bye
Week 13, -8.5 vs. Denver: This was a big spread for a Chiefs team that had struggled to cover big numbers. It was a fairly lucky cover, with a pick-six helping on a night the offense didn't do much. The Chiefs won 22-9 and bettors cashed another ticket.
Week 14, -10 vs. Raiders: The Chiefs defense scored on a fumble recovery on the first play, and there was no question where this game was headed. The Chiefs won 48-9.
Week 15, -3 at Chargers: Mahomes was on fire late in the game, and his touchdown pass to Travis Kelce ensured another win for bettors.
Can the Chiefs continue this ATS run?
The problem is that oddsmakers aren't going to give away Chiefs wins.
When Kansas City is hot against the spread — and even when they're not — they don't get value on the point spread because many bettors love backing them. They're a public team, with a star quarterback leading an explosive offense that has had a ton of success and finds itself in a lot of nationally televised games. It always feels a little scary to fade the Chiefs, even when they're not covering spreads, because of Mahomes. Oddsmakers know that many will back the Chiefs no matter how high their spreads get.
That will be especially true now that they've covered every spread for more than a month. But there can be more confidence in Kansas City if you decide to bet the Chiefs. They're back to covering spreads every week. That makes more sense.