In Patrick Mahomes’ first 2½ seasons as starter, the Chiefs went a sizzling 29-14-1 ATS.
But Mahomes and Co. have been mired in a 4-14 spread slump since last season and are in last place in the AFC West with a 3-4 record after Sunday’s 27-3 loss to the Titans.
After starting the season as the 5-1 co-favorites with Tampa Bay to win the Super Bowl, Kansas City has soared to the 16-1 eighth choice at BetMGM.
Likewise, after Mahomes opened the season as the clear 5-1 favorite to win his second NFL MVP award, the quarterback has skyrocketed to the 40-1 10th choice at the Westgate SuperBook.
So are the Chiefs suffering from the Super Bowl hangover that has seen only eight of the previous 55 losers return to the NFL title game the next season?
Or will they turn things around and join the 2018 Patriots, 1993 Bills and 1973 Dolphins as the only teams to appear in three straight Super Bowls?
We asked two of Las Vegas’ sharpest NFL oddsmakers — Westgate SuperBook vice president of risk Ed Salmons and Circa Sports manager Chris Bennett — what’s wrong with Kansas City and if it can regain its top form this season.
Bennett placed a lot of the blame on Mahomes, who is third in the league in touchdown passes (18) but is tied with Jets rookie Zach Wilson for most interceptions thrown (nine).
“Patrick Mahomes kind of garnered this status as one of the all-time great quarterbacks in a short period of time, and I think we’re seeing that he’s not that good,” Bennett said. “He’s turning the ball over a lot, and he’s making some legitimately bad decisions. He’s just not playing very well. He’s showing that he’s human.”
Salmons pointed to several factors, starting with the league’s fifth-worst scoring defense (29 points per game allowed) and a revamped offensive line that has been a disappointment.
“Their defense is really bad, and they keep getting behind in games,” he said. “The offensive line is not blocking well because Mahomes is under a ton of pressure.”
Bettors back off
The bulk of the action at the SuperBook was still on the Chiefs -4 against Tennessee. But Salmons said the betting public is starting to jump off the Kansas City bandwagon.
“We won on the game, but not what we usually win on a Chiefs game,” he said. “The public has noticed that there’s something wrong with the Chiefs.
“This is the first week that the public has backed away from them on the future book. They’re 12-1, but if their name wasn’t the Chiefs, they’d probably be 20-1 or 25-1.”
Kansas City was -13½ over the Giants on last week’s look-ahead line at the SuperBook, but that number has dropped to 9½.
“That’s a pretty meaningful adjustment to the look-ahead line,” Bennett said. “This might be one of those games the public doesn’t like because they don’t want to bet on the Giants, but they don’t want to lay 10 with this Chiefs team, either.”
AFC West odds
Kansas City is still the second choice (+275) to win the AFC West at Circa behind the favored Chargers (-110) and ahead of the first-place Raiders (+335).
“As surprising as the Raiders have been and as disappointing as the Chiefs have been, they still haven’t played each other,” Bennett said. “And the Chiefs will probably be favored by a touchdown at home against the Raiders and by 3½ here in Las Vegas.”
After Monday’s matchup with New York, the Chiefs have a tough stretch of games against the Packers, Raiders and Cowboys.
Dangerous down the stretch
“I don’t think anybody will be surprised if they went on a winning streak and ended up with 11 wins and are a team that nobody wants to face in the playoffs,” Bennett said.
Salmons also expects the Chiefs to make a charge, noting that when coach Andy Reid was with the Eagles, he did his best work in the second half of the season.
“I would be shocked if the Chiefs don’t turn it around somehow,” he said. “Fortunately for them, it’s a longer season this year.
“The other thing the Chiefs have going for them is that the NFC has got five or six teams that are heavyweights right now. But in the AFC, you’ve got Buffalo, and who knows who the second-best team is.”
Super Bowl odds
At Circa Sports
Up to 15-1
NFL MVP odds
At Westgate SuperBook
Up to 40-1
Kyler Murray 3-1
Josh Allen 4-1
Dak Prescott 5-1
Tom Brady 7-1
Matthew Stafford 8-1
Aaron Rodgers 14-1
Justin Herbert 18-1
Derrick Henry 20-1
Lamar Jackson 25-1
Derek Carr 40-1
Joe Burrow 40-1
Patrick Mahomes 40-1