One team is looking to repeat as Super Bowl champions. The other is coming off its first playoff win since 1994.
Sunday’s NFL divisional playoff meeting between the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs will not be short on intrigue. It also won’t be short on betting.
Here’s a closer look at Sunday’s clash and the important sports betting info you need before kickoff.
Iowa sportsbooks soundly backing Kansas City
While the Browns had an impressive showing last week against Pittsburgh, oddsmakers are still viewing Cleveland as a big underdog against the Chiefs. Here are the NFL odds:
|Browns vs. Chiefs Divisional Playoff Odds||DraftKings||FanDuel||PointsBet||William Hill|
(-110 juice unless noted)
|CLE +10 -114|
KC -10 -107
|CLE +10 -115|
KC -10 -105
|CLE +10 -115|
KC -10 -105
(-110 juice unless noted)
|O 57.5 -106|
U 57.5 -114
|O 57 -115|
U 57 -105
Across the board, Kansas City is listed as a 10-point home favorite against the Browns.
When it comes to the moneyline, Kansas City is a big favorite. Odds for the Chiefs are ranging from -480 to -510. The Browns are listed from +380 to +400. The over/under for the contest is largely listed at 57 points.
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Series pretty even between the two
The Chiefs and Browns have met 26 times in their history. Kansas City has a slight advantage, holding a 13-11-2 edge over Cleveland.
Kansas City has won the last three meetings, including a 37-21 victory in their last collision, during the 2018 season. Despite the losses, Cleveland is 3-1 against the spread in its last four versus KC.
The trends aren’t terribly strong for the Browns this weekend. Cleveland is just 4-11 ATS in their last 15 road games. They are also just 3-12 ATS in their last 15 conference games.
Kansas City is 4-1 ATS in their last five playoff games and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 games against a winning team.
The public betting feels a little better about the Browns’ chances to cover. Cleveland is currently getting 54% of the wagers as the underdog.
Browns make the fan base happy
Cleveland provided some much-needed joy for its fanbase last week when it earned its first playoff win in over 25 years.
Adding to the joy was that the Browns did it in pretty dominant fashion against the Pittsburgh Steelers, earning a 48-37 road victory.
Cleveland scored on the first play from scrimmage when Ben Roethlisberger fumbled a snap into the endzone and Karl Joseph recovered it. The Browns then went on to score 28 points in the first quarter and never trailed in the game.
It was a balanced team effort in the win, as Baker Mayfield continued to play well under center. He threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns without an interception.
After struggling with turnovers earlier in the season, Mayfield has just one interception over his last 10 games. In that same span, he has thrown 14 touchdown passes.
Despite Mayfield’s play, the run game is a big strength for the Browns. They rank third in the NFL with 148.4 yards per game on the ground. Cleveland nearly had a pair of 1,000-yard rushers, as Nick Chubb ran for 1,067 yards while Kareem Hunt had 841 yards this season.
One major concern for the Cleveland offense this week is the status of starting tackle Jack Conklin. He left the win over the Steelers early with a hamstring injury and is questionable for Sunday’s game.
Defensively, Cleveland will have its hands full with Kansas City on Sunday. A key for the Browns’ defense this year has been its ability to pressure the QB. The Browns had 38 sacks during the season, with Myles Garrett leading the way with 12. Olivier Vernon had nine prior to suffering a season-ending Achilles injury.
Garrett has been dealing with a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable on the injury report. He was limited in Wednesday’s practice.
Chiefs remain unmatched offensively
The Chiefs are the defending NFL champs and they followed it up by earning the top seed in the AFC for the playoffs.
Kansas City was the lone AFC team with a bye last week, so the Chiefs had a chance to heal up some key injuries.
Both receivers Tyreek Hill (hamstring) and Sammy Watkins (calf), as well as rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle), have been nursing injuries. Both Hill and Edwards-Helaire took part in practice on Wednesday, while Watkins did not.
The three are a big part of the KC offense that leads the NFL in total yards (415.8 ypg) and passing yards (303.4 ypg).
Hill caught 87 passes for 1,276 yards and 15 touchdowns this season, while Edwards-Helaire led the league in rushing with 803 yards and four touchdowns.
Patrick Mahomes remains one of the top contenders for NFL MVP after throwing for 4,740 yards and 38 touchdowns with just six interceptions. Had Mahomes not sat out the regular-season finale, he likely would have thrown for 5,000 yards.
Travis Kelce continues to be the top tight end in the league. He caught a career-high 105 passes for 1,416 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2020. Kelce, an Ohio native, grew up a Browns fan.
Defensively, Kansas City has been middle of the road, but the Chiefs don’t need to be great there when they score at the rate they do. KC is giving up 358.3 yards per game this season. Where the Chiefs have struggled in stopping the run, allowing 122.1 yards per contest on the ground.
Can Cleveland run the ball effectively enough to produce long possessions and keep the KC offense off the field?
How to watch the Browns vs. Chiefs
- What: Cleveland Browns (12-5, 6-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (14-2, 6-2)
- When: 2:05 p.m. CST on Sunday, Jan. 17
- Where: Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO
- TV: CBS
- Online Livestream: CBS Sports App
- Radio: Westwood One
- Online Radio Stream: Westwood One
- Satellite Radio: Sirius XM Channel 226 (Browns); Sirius XM Channel 225 (Chiefs)