After an exciting Sunday of action, we have one more opportunity to wager on professional football if we so choose. So which plays do our analysts like the most?
Betting analysts Joe Fortenbaugh and Tyler Fulghum and Anita Marks, ESPN analyst Seth Walder fantasy and sports betting analysts André Snellings and Eric Moody, plus Football Outsiders' Aaron Schatz provide their top plays.
Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise indicated.
The Chiefs enter Monday night's matchup against the Raiders as favorites. What are your thoughts on the spread and the total? Who do you like?
Fortenbaugh: I'd open a 6-point teaser with Kansas City that would move the Chiefs from -7 to -1 and would close it with the under in the Thursday night game between Chicago and Washington (Week 6) that would move the total from 40 up to 46. I don't think you need much explanation on the latter, considering those offenses as well as what we've seen on Thursday nights so far this season, so allow me to expound upon the former: I need the Chiefs to win by two points at home on Monday night against a Raiders squad that hasn't shown much of anything this season.
Schatz: I like playing the total in this matchup and would go under 51.5. The Chiefs' offense is very efficient, but it plays at a bit of a slow pace. The Raiders' offense hasn't been as good as expected. This is also a division game, which tend to be a little lower-scoring on average. I know that both teams have gone over this number in two out of four games this year, but it's a pretty high number.
Snellings: I like the Chiefs -7. The Chiefs flat-out owned the Raiders last season, winning the two games by a combined score of 89-23. The Chiefs scored at least 41 points in both games and could have scored more if they hadn't taken their foot off the gas. The Chiefs are coming off an excellent game against an extremely tough Buccaneers defense, and the offense looks sharp. Meanwhile, the Raiders are coming off their first win but have not looked impressive this season.
Moody: Mahomes continues to lead the Chiefs to great success with his excellent play -- 1,106 yards, 11 touchdowns, just two interceptions and a passer rating of 108.4. He has also rushed 13 times for 64 yards. If Mahomes continues to play at an elite level (and I believe he will), the Chiefs will cover the spread. It's also necessary for the Chiefs defense to stop the run and force the Raiders into mistakes. Last season, the Chiefs annihilated the Raiders twice. They'll do it again. In their last 15 games, the Chiefs are 10-5 against the spread. Furthermore, the over is 9-3 in Kansas City's last 12 games.
Marks: This game can go one of two ways -- KC blowing out the Raiders like they typically do, averaging 35 points per game or the Raiders keeping it close with a commitment to running the ball, and a new defensive strategy. Las Vegas will get Hunter Renfrow back, but it will still be a tall task to keep up with the Mahomes. I have KC winning by a TD.
Patrick Mahomes currently has the second-best odds to win the MVP (+500) behind Josh Allen. Mahomes has dominated the Raiders in the past. What are your thoughts on his MVP chances, as well as his passing yards (276.5) and TDs (2.5) props for Monday?
Schatz: Mahomes was my best bet for MVP before the season began, and I don't see any reason to change now. He leads all quarterbacks in passing value by Football Outsiders' DYAR and he's second in ESPN's QBR. There are lots of good candidates this year, and certainly Lamar Jackson is the leader with the way he has carried the Baltimore Ravens, but Mahomes is still the better bet in the long term.
Fulghum: I would not bet against Mahomes in a primetime game, at home, against the Raiders. The Chiefs are favored by a touchdown. The total is north of 50. If I see those peripherals, I have to imagine Mahomes is going to put on a show. It's over or pass for me -- and I particularly love the price of betting over 2.5 passing TDs (+136).
Snellings: I'd say Mahomes is in the pole position for the MVP at this point. Allen has been impressive, but the narrative of Mahomes keeping the Chiefs on top after the departure of Tyreek Hill is the type of storyline that wins MVPs.
As for Monday, I like Mahomes for over 276.5 passing yards. The Raiders have been slightly below average in passing yards allowed (20th in the NFL), 1 yard ahead of the Cardinals -- the only defense this season that has allowed Mahomes more than 276.5 yards passing. Mahomes has gone under in three straight games, but against some really strong defenses, including last week in Tampa Bay. I think he's due for a big game on Monday night versus a division rival against which he has historically had strong games.
Moody: Mahomes has a great chance to win MVP. With his excellent playmaking and superb accuracy, he's overcome the talent limitations of his WR room. Hill's absence hasn't hurt the Chiefs offense. Keeping the positive momentum going is key for Mahomes and the Chiefs. As for the Raiders secondary, Mahomes should eviscerate it. Even with a partially torn lat near his right shoulder, Russell Wilson was able to throw for 237 yards and two touchdowns against Las Vegas this season and, in two games last season, Mahomes threw for 664 yards and completed 74% of his passes against the Raiders. This time around, Mahomes should have plenty of time to throw downfield thanks to a solid offensive line. That said, Mahomes won't throw for more than 2.5 touchdowns.
Walder: I think I'm buying Mahomes' MVP odds at that price. From a narrative perspective, it just fits: after losing Tyreek Hill, Mahomes still went on to lead the Chiefs to a runaway divisional crown in what we all at least thought was the NFL's equivalent of the group of death -- the AFC West. Of course, he still has to go out and do it. But if there's anything can feel good about predicting in football, it's Mahomes producing and producing efficiently
The Chiefs are allowing 65.8 rushing yards per game -- fewest in the NFL. Josh Jacobs has already rushed for 336 yards this season. His rushing prop is listed at 60.5 yards, with a TD price of -107. Do you think the Raiders get Jacobs going on Monday or do Derek Carr and Davante Adams air it out to try to get the win?
Schatz: The Kansas City run defense has been surprisingly good this season, as that's been a weakness for the Chiefs for a long time. However, the Raiders' offensive line has gotten a good push as well. The Raiders are currently second in adjusted line yards and ninth in run block win rate. The blocking has been particularly strong on runs to the right, as the Raiders are No. 1 in ALY on runs listed as right tackle as well as right end.
I think the Raiders can get Jacobs going, but the question is for how long. I would shy away from that over/under at 60.5 yards because there's a good chance the Raiders fall behind early enough to take Jacobs out of the game, even if he's running efficiently.
Fulghum: I have to eat some crow on Jacobs. He was someone I was fading coming into this season (new regime, added competition in the backfield, and the fact that the Raiders declined to sign his fifth-year option), but he has been awesome. Not only is the production there, but he's running better than all but a few backs in the league. That said, I would play under 60.5 rushing yards on Monday night. Not only is the Chiefs' run defense stout, but Mahomes is liable to put the Raiders in a negative game script quickly, thus taking rushing opportunities away from Jacobs as Las Vegas plays from behind.
Marks: I believe Josh McDaniel's strategy will be to run the ball in an effort to eat up time of possession and keep Mahomes off the field. But KC's run defense is outstanding. They have held James Connor, Austin Ekeler, Jonathan Taylor, and Leonard Fournette to a combined total of 135 rushing yards. I would play the under in rushing yards for Jacobs. KC's pass defense ranks 29th against opponents No. 1 WRs. Over 6.5 receptions and over 75.5 receiving yards are the prop bets I'm playing for Adams.
What is your best bet for Monday night's game?
Fortenbaugh: Jacobs over 19.5 receiving yards. He's averaging 22.5 receiving yards per game this season and has been featured more in the passing attack over the past two games, recording 11 targets resulting in 10 receptions for 62 yards. However, the key here is the Kansas City defense, which is surrendering more targets (48), receptions (40) and receiving yards (277) to opposing running backs than any other team in the league. This is not an anomaly, as the Chiefs ranked top five in the NFL in those three categories last season as well.
Fulghum: Jacobs under 84.5 rushing + receiving yards. Jacobs is in danger of losing an opportunity in this game if the Raiders fall behind the Chiefs on the road. Kansas City's run defense has been very good this season, and Jacobs is not usually featured in the passing game.
Moody: Adams over 76.5 receiving yards. This season, Adams has averaged 11.7 targets per game. He will face Chiefs CB L'Jarius Sneed on Monday. Sneed has struggled in coverage, allowing 21 receptions on 27 targets. In order to keep up with the Chiefs' high-octane offense, the Raiders will have to rely heavily on the passing game, so the volume should be there.
Marks: Carlson over 1.5 field goals (+105). Carlson is 12-for-12 this season. The Raiders have scored a TD in only 20% of their drives, and are one of the worst teams in the red zone this season, ranked 27th in TD scoring rate inside the 20-yard line.
Walder: It's not the most fun bet in the world but Carlos Dunlap under 0.75 sacks at -295 at DraftKings. My model makes the right price -529. Dunlap has a pass rush win rate at edge of just 10% -- well below the league average of 16% -- and he only has been on the field and rushed the passer on 32% of opponent's pass rushes this season.