Recommended Wager: Las Vegas (+7) over Kansas City

Kansas City @ Las Vegas
Recommended Wager: LV +7
Strength: 3.69
Sizing: 1 unit

Key Injuries:
Las Vegas Raiders: (Week 6 bye)
-LT Kolton Miller (ankle) was INACTIVE weeks 9 and 10. He will return week 11.
-DT Maurice Hurst (ankle) was INACTIVE weeks 9 and 10. He returned to practice this week as limited and is QUESTIONABLE.
IR: WR Tyrell Williams (shoulder), RB Justin Jackson (knee), LG Richie Incognito (Achilles – short term), RT Trent Brown (COVID-19), DE Clelin Ferrell (COVID-19), Cory Littleton (COVID-19)

Kansas City Chiefs: (Week 10 bye)
-WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) was injured week 5 and INACTIVE weeks 6 – 9. He is OUT week 11, though he did get in limited sessions all week.
IR: RB Damien Williams (opt out), G Dr. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (opt out), RT Mitchell Schwartz (back), LG Kelechi Osemele (knee – season ending), DE Taco Charlton (leg)

Spread watching: The model grabbed the line at 7. Soon after, we learned that Raiders DE Clelin Ferrell tested positive for COVID-19. Along wqith Ferrell, 6 other Raiders defensive players had to be placed on the COVID-19 list as close contacts. On 11/21, all players (except Ferrell) were removed from the list. The line now sits at 7.5. I’d still recommend it.

Results don’t matter: The model doesn’t care that the Raiders upset the Chiefs last time around. Well, that’s not entirely true — it cares about how each team played in every game, but it’s not some random “the Raiders have their number” nonsense.

Matchup breakdown: The Vegas offense is probably a lot better than you think — they’re 9th in DVOA and 6th in EPA/play. Derek Carr is 12th in the league in PFF passing grades – he’s completing 69.3% of his passes and gaining 7.6 yards per attempt. Their offensive line has been mostly solid, but there’s some weaknesses at the tackle position with Trent Brown (COVID-19) missing time. TE Darren Waller is typically Carr’s favorite target, with rookie WR Henry Ruggs working the deep part of the field and Hunter Renfrow working out of the slot. Josh Jacobs will dominate the carries on the ground. The Chiefs defense is 14th in DVOA and 11th in EPA/play. As is typical with Kansas City defense, they’re much better against the pass (7th in DVOA) then run (30th). They don’t have too many “stars” in the secondary, but their 71.6 PFF coverage grade is 3rd best in the league. Chris Jones (36 pressures) and Frank Clark (26) make up their pass rush. They rely on the offense to create a game script that mitigates the horribleness that is their run defense.

You’re probably familiar with the Chiefs offense — first in DVOA, first in EPA/play, yada yada yada. Pat Mahomes is 4th in PFF passing grades (Rodgers/Wilson/Brady are ahead). I don’t think I need to spend a ton of time talking about how wildly efficient they are. A few notes: they’ll be without WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring), so Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill will be heavily involved. All world RT Mitchell Schwartz (back) was placed on IR, which does leave a hole on the right side of the line. They have a solid matchup here, too, the Raiders defense is 21st in DVOA and 24th in EPA/play. There’s weaknesses at all areas of the field, and they’ll be without their top pass rusher, Clelin Ferrell (COVID-19). Last time around the Raiders didn’t have any answer for Kelce (12 targets, 8 catches, 108 yards, 1 TD), and I expect they’ll have difficult slowing them down here too. We’re just banking on the Raiders surprisingly efficient offense to keep it within a touchdown.

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