The status of reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes is the overriding storyline as the top-seeded Kansas City Chiefs prepare to host the No. 2 seed Buffalo Bills in the 2021 AFC Championship Game on Sunday. Mahomes was knocked out of the Chiefs’ 22-17 win over the Cleveland Browns and is currently in the NFL‘s concussion protocol. Defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City (15-2) is the first team to host three straight conference title games since Philadelphia (2002-04).
The Bills (15-3) won their first AFC East crown since 1995 before dispatching Indianapolis (27-24) and Baltimore (17-3) to advance to the AFC Championship Game 2021. Kickoff is set for 6:40 p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists Kansas City as a three-point favorite, while the over-under is 54 in the latest Chiefs vs. Bills odds. Before making any Bills vs. Chiefs picks, make sure you see what SportsLine senior analyst Larry Hartstein has to say.
A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Hartstein combines a vast network of Vegas sources with an analytical approach he honed while working for Pro Football Focus. In the 2019 season, he went 58-39 on against-the-spread NFL picks, giving his followers a profit of more than $1,500. He also heads into this weekend on a 22-10-2 run with his NFL selections for SportsLine members.
What’s more, Hartstein has his finger on the Chiefs’ pulse, posting an eye-popping 16-2 record on NFL against-the-spread picks involving Kansas City. That includes nailing Cleveland +10 in last week’s AFC Divisional Playoffs. Anyone who has consistently followed him is way up.
- Bills vs. Chiefs spread: Kansas City -3
- Bills vs. Chiefs over-under: 54
- Bills vs. Chiefs money line: Buffalo +140, Kansas City -160
- BUF: WR Stefon Diggs has at least six receptions in a record-tying 15 straight games
- KC: Chiefs are 0-8-1 against the spread in their last nine games
Kansas City Chiefs
Why the Chiefs can cover
The status of Mahomes notwithstanding, the Chiefs feature two of the league’s most lethal offensive weapons in wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Each player had eight receptions and more than 100 yards in the divisional-round victory over the Browns, with Kelce finding the end zone. The duo also combined for 26 receiving scores during the regular season, including an NFL-best 15 by Hill.
Kansas City allowed Cleveland running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt to average 5.3 yards per carry last week but should fare markedly better against Buffalo. The Bills’ ground game ranked 20th during the regular season at 107.7 yards per game and is without rookie Zack Moss. The Chiefs limited Buffalo to 84 yards rushing in Week 6, half of that coming from quarterback Josh Allen.
Why the Bills can cover
Buffalo has a suspect run game and middling defense but surged into the title game behind Allen. The team’s first-round draft pick in 2018 out of Wyoming, Allen was one of only three quarterbacks this season to account for at least 4,500 passing yards and 35 scoring passes. The other two were a pair of Super Bowl MVPs: Mahomes and Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady.
Everything appears to be breaking the right way for Buffalo, which has matched the second-longest winning streak in franchise history. The Bills were held to their lowest point total since Week 6 and were dominated statistically by Baltimore but still came away with a 14-point victory. Buffalo’s only setback over the past 11 games was a two-point loss at Arizona that came on a miraculous Hail Mary on the final play.
How to make Chiefs vs. Bills picks
Hartstein has analyzed this matchup, and while he’s leaning over on the total, he has discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He’s only sharing it here.
So who wins Bills vs. Chiefs in the NFL Playoffs 2021? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Bills vs. Chiefs spread you need to jump on Sunday, all from the expert who’s 16-2 on picks involving Kansas City, and find out.