Chiefs Open as 9.5-Point Favorites vs Browns in Divisional Round of NFL Playoffs

Browns defense celebrate

Members of the Cleveland Browns defense celebrate an interception of a pass by Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, late Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
  • The Kansas City Chiefs open as 9.5-point picks over the Cleveland Browns in an AFC NFL Divisional Round playoff game
  • Cleveland beat Pittsburgh 48-37 in Wild Card Round, the first postseason win for the Browns since 1995
  • Browns-Chiefs is the largest point spread in any of this weekend’s games – see below how we think the line could move

Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs won their first Super Bowl since 1970. Sunday, the Cleveland Browns won their first NFL playoff game since 1995.

Oddsmakers are evidently more impressed by the former accomplishment. Kansas City is opening as the 9.5-point betting choice over the Browns in Sunday’s AFC playoff game. That’s the largest point spread on offer among the four games slated for the NFL Divisional Round.

The Chiefs and Browns will be clashing in the postseason for the first time. Kansas City is an underwhelming 3-4 against the spread as a home favorite this season.

Browns vs Chiefs AFC Divisional Round Odds

Team Moneyline Spread Total
Cleveland Browns +360 +9.5 (-108) O 55 (-109)
Kansas City Chiefs -500 -9.5 (-113) U 55 (-112)

Odds taken Jan. 10th at DraftKings.

Kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium is slated for 3:05pm ET.

Browns Bruise Steelers

Cleveland didn’t merely go to Pittsburgh and defeat their oldest NFL rivals. The Browns beat the Steelers black and blue.

Cleveland’s 48-37 victory ended a 25-year postseason drought. Playing their first playoff game in 18 years, it was the most points put up by the Browns in the postseason since they whipped the Detroit Lions 56-10 in the 1954 NFL Championship Game.

The opportunistic Browns forced five Pittsburgh turnovers. Safety Karl Joseph recovered a Steelers fumble in the Pittsburgh end zone for the game’s first touchdown. Cleveland also picked off Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger four times.

Browns QB Baker Mayfield passed for 263 yards and three TDs. Balance was the name of the game for the Cleveland offense. Kareem Hunt ran for a pair of TDs. Nick Chubb rambled for 76 yards rushing and caught a TD pass.

Jarvis Landry pulled in 92 yards in receptions, including a TD.

Chiefs Buying Time

This is the third season in a row that Patrick Mahomes has been Kansas City’s starting QB. It’s also the third season in succession that the Chiefs have earned a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs.

The time off has served Kansas City well the past two years. They won and covered in both NFL Divisional playoff games.

In 2018, they came off the bye week to dump the Indianapolis Colts 31-13. Last season, the Chiefs spotted the Houston Texans a 24-0 lead, and then roared back to post a 51-31 victory.

Injury Report

Cleveland took the field against Pittsburgh minus head coach Kevin Stefanski (COVID-19). Mike Priefer served as acting head coach.

Michael Dunn, starting at left guard in place of Joe Bitonio (COVID-19) suffered a calf injury against the Steelers. He’s listed as questionable.

Cleveland right tackle Jack Conklin also left the Pittsburgh game with a leg injury. He’s been bothered by a bad knee and his status going forward is uncertain.

The Chiefs show six starters as questionable. On offense, the list includes running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (hip), wide receiver Tyreek Hill (hamstring) and Sammy Watkins (calf) and right tackle Mike Remmers (concussion). Defensively, the questionable starters are linebackers Willie Gay (ankle) and Ben Niemann (hamstring).

Trendspotting

Cleveland is 11-0 this season when winning or tying in the turnover battle. The Chiefs are seeking to join the 2002-04 Philadelphia Eagles as the only NFL teams to host three straight Championship Games. Chiefs coach Andy Reid also coached the 2002-04 Eagles.

With this line opening at such a wide margin, it’s difficult to imagine it could lengthen much further in favor of Kansas City. Maybe another half-point, but not much more than that.

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