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Kansas City @ Houston Texans: no problems in Houston for rampant Chiefs

Helmet his match? Alex Smith appears to have found another level of late, but the stingy Texans D will test him
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The Chiefs are riding the last undefeated streak in the NFL, and Romilly Evans says that red-hot run can endure in this game which starts in the early hours of Monday morning...

"Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are on fire, and opposing Linebackers simply don't know what to do with the free movement of multiple Kansas playmakers. If one doesn't cut you, the others will, so effective coverage is nigh on impossible."

Kansas City @ Houston Texans
Start-time: Monday, 01:30
TV: Live on Sky Sports Action


Kansas's streak to avoid road blowout


The Kansas City Chiefs are turning into a bunch of red marauders. At 4-0, they're the only remaining outfit in the league with an unblemished record. But their record and the stats run much more deeply and impressively than a mere quarter-season winning streak.

For the Chiefs have now won 12 straight AFC West games, and 26 of their last 30 games overall, the best mark in the NFL over that period, if anyone's watching in New England. And the stuttering Pats will be, especially with home field advantage in the postseason well out of their hands for now.

After all, under the wise stewardship of Andy Reid - and that improving fine wine more commonly known as veteran Alex Smith - Kansas will take some catching during the regular season this year. Although they do hail from arguably the toughest division in the AFC West. That said, Derek Carr's banged up in Oakland, erratic Trevor Siemian surely can't keep it up in Denver, while it seems Phil Rivers' flashy racers will never add up to the sum of their collective parts. Even if they've relocated to an LA garage. So perhaps it's time to start believing the Kansas City hype.

Taken together, Smith currently shares third spot amongst all quarterbacks, with eight touchdown passes, and is one of only three starters still to throw an interception. He's also connecting with nearly 80% of his passes, at a league-leading 124.2 for Passer Rating. Steady old hands like Drew Brees and Tom Brady can't even compete. So while the lazy refrain remains that Smith can't go deep, he can go deep enough to damage you. And invariably it's simply death by a thousand short-field cuts. He stepped up as the clock wound down against the Skins last week, so even his big-game composure is beyond reproach.

On the flipside, Smith's Chiefs have yet to face a D as doughty as the Houston Texans, who sport a defensive front of headliners in JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney. Kansas' makeshift offensive line will also be without Mitch Morse and Laurent Duvernay-Tardif on Monday night. Now throw on one of the rookie breakouts of the year in Deshaun Watson under center, and suddenly the Texans appear to have all the tools to cause Kansas a big problem in Houston.

Watson is already making Tom Savage feel like an unpleasant but distant memory, blasting his team to a franchise-record 57 points against Tennessee last Sunday, and scoring the lion's share of those himself with a staggering five TDs (four of them passes for a rookie landmark). Watson's imposing athleticism and physicality routinely make him a threat outside the pocket. However, inside the pocket he's showing some progressive poise too, so the Chiefs will have to be on their mettle here, lest Watson cuts loose with some big gains.

However, one swallow does not a summer make, so let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Titans were woeful, and Watson operates from a slim playbook, whose rather straightforward routes are easy to decode. Expect Field Marshal Reid to be all over the rookie by sending in the Kansas pass rush (a modern-day Redwood Forest) who should easily get up in Watson's grill and make him miss his receivers.

Smith, as ever, can then pick up the pieces in cold, calculating style. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are on fire, and opposing linebackers simply don't know what to do with the free movement of multiple Kansas playmakers. If one doesn't cut you, the others will, so effective coverage is nigh on impossible.

The Chiefs have also had the Texans' number in recent outings (going 3-1 since 2013), so I'd expect that supremacy to continue here on some very attractive handicap lines.

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