Sunday Night Football: Seahawks host Chiefs as underdogs

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Bettors need to make an informed decision about what trend is more likely to win out – the Kansas City Chiefs’ winning ways on the road, or the Seattle Seahawks’ knack for covering when they get points at home.

Tied for the AFC West lead, the Chiefs are 2.5-point road favorites on the NFL odds against the Seahawks with a 54.5-point total in their Sunday Night Football matchup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

The Chiefs, who are trying to avoid the precipitous drop from frontrunner for No. 1 playoff seed to wild-card team, are 6-2 straight-up and 6-1-1 against the spread in their last eight games on the road, according to the OddsShark NFL Database. But the Seahawks’ reputation for a great home-field advantage at CenturyLink Field is buttressed by a 12-1 ATS record in their last 13 games as an underdog at home, dating back to 2011.

The Seahawks, who are fighting for a NFC wild-card berth, are also 15-3-3 ATS in their last 21 night games at home.

The big question with the Chiefs is whether their true self is reflected more by their overall record of 11-3 SU and 8-5-1 ATS, or by a 2-2 SU record over their last four games. Thanks to quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Chiefs lead the NFL in points per game (35.6) and yards-per pass (8.8), while Mahomes’ 45 touchdown passes are 11 more than anyone else.

The Chiefs have some troubling trends – their point differentials in second and fourth quarters are markedly less than in the first and third. But Seattle is 25th in the league in yards-per-pass allowed and 28th in yards per rush, and its secondary is short-handed with free safety Tedric Thompson (ankle) out and strong safety Bradley McDougald (knee) questionable.

The Seahawks, 8-6 SU and 8-4-2 ATS, have become a team that, with quarterback Russell Wilson behind center, has the capability to keep up in a scoring battle when everyone is healthy. Kansas City’s opponents have found the best defense for Mahomes is keeping him on the sideline, and the Seahawks’ ground game built around Chris Carson leads the league in rushing yards, while the Chiefs’ defense is dead last in yards per rush allowed (5.0).

Seattle’s ability to control the line of scrimmage and lighten the load Wilson faces against a Chiefs defense that is a respectable 17th in yards per pass allowed could be tied to whether the right side of the offensive line is intact, as guard D.J. Fluker (hamstring) and right tackle Germain Ifedi (groin) are each hobbled.

Kansas City is second in the NFL in sacks and the Seahawks took 3.5 quarters to score a touchdown in their last prime-time home game in Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings, who are first in sacks. A key difference could be that Wilson’s longtime favorite receiver Doug Baldwin was out then, and he’s coming off a two-touchdown game.

While the Seahawks stumbled against also-ran San Francisco last week, they are 17-5 SU in their last 22 games after a defeat.

The total has gone OVER at sports betting sites in the Chiefs’ last four games, with an average combined score of 71.5 points. The total has gone OVER in five of the Seahawks’ last six games, with an average combined score of 51.83 points.

For more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news check out the OddsShark podcast with Jon Campbell and Andrew Avery. Subscribe on iTunes or Spotify or listen to it at OddsShark.libsyn.com.