In just a few hours, the Kansas City Chiefs will play host to the Cleveland Browns in the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, as a spot in the AFC Championship Game is on the line. The Browns didn’t let their first postseason berth since 2002 go to waste, as they upset the Pittsburgh Steelers 48-37 on Super Wild-Card Weekend. It marked Cleveland’s first postseason win since 1994, and also Kevin Stefanski’s first playoff win as a head coach. Unfortunately, since they are the highest-remaining seed in the AFC, they get the reigning Super Bowl champion and No. 1 seeded Chiefs.
In their young NFL careers, Patrick Mahomes and Baker Mayfield have faced each other just once, which came back in Week 9 of 2018 when the Chiefs beat the Browns by 16 points. It’s not the only time they have ever faced off in their football careers, however, as the two set a college-football record with 1,279 combined passing yards when Oklahoma and Texas Tech matched up in 2016. These teams have never met before in the postseason, but seemingly everyone is expecting an exciting game. Before we get into how to bet on this matchup, here’s how you can watch or stream the game this weekend.
All NFL odds via William Hill Sportsbook.
How to watch
Date: Sunday, Jan. 17 | Time: 3:05 p.m. ETLocation: Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Missouri)TV: CBS | Stream: CBS All AccessFollow: CBS Sports App
Browns at Chiefs spread picks
Kansas City Chiefs
“It sounds crazy to say it about an NFL playoff game, but this has to be a letdown spot for Cleveland, right? I mean, not only did the Browns end their playoff drought this season, but they won a playoff game! And they did so against the team in their division that has tortured them for decades! All while their coach was stuck in a basement isolating. I mean, the Browns have already won their Super Bowl, and now they have to face what might be the best team in the NFL.
“Also, while the Browns won last week, I can’t ignore how the win came. The Steelers essentially handed the Browns a 28-0 lead in the first quarter. Once the Steelers stopped turning the ball over repeatedly, they outscored the Browns 37-20 over the final three quarters. Something tells me that the Chiefs aren’t going to open the game by snapping the ball 20 yards past Patrick Mahomes into the end zone. The Browns defense hasn’t been good this year, and now it’s facing one of the two best offenses in the game. I don’t expect this one to be all that competitive.” — Tom Fornelli on why he expects Kansas City to cover the big spread.
“In 14 games with Nick Chubb active, the Browns have rushed for 160.2 yards per game and 23 touchdowns, and finished the regular season with the No. 3 rushing offense in the league. Interestingly enough, the Chiefs have allowed 122.1 rushing yards per game this season, which is worst among all playoff teams. Still, I have a hard time believing that the Browns will upset the Chiefs in the divisional round. I do think that they can cover the spread, however, as the Chiefs haven’t won a game by more than six points since Week 8. Since Week 9 they are 1-7 against the spread, which is worst in the NFL!” — Jordan Dajani on why he’s leaning towards Cleveland to cover.
Browns at Chiefs total picks
Stat to know: Since 2000, there have been six playoff games with a closing total of 56 or higher. The over is 5-1.
“The Browns’ biggest defensive weakness is their secondary and that’s not a weakness you can afford to have when you’re playing the Chiefs. The one thing that does worry me about the Chiefs is the rust factor. Normally, I don’t put much stock in something like that, but their starters won’t have played for three weeks by the time they take the field on Sunday. Last year, they fell behind 24-0 to the Texans before the rust wore off and now, they have to play a Browns team that just had the best first quarter of any team in NFL playoff history. That’s not an ideal combination for Kansas City.
I’m fully expecting this game to be a shootout just like it is every time Baker Mayfield and Mahomes play each other.” — John Breech on why he’s taking the Over.
Top prop picks
Baker Mayfield Over 1.5 passing TDs (-125)
“The Chiefs pass defense has allowed at least two touchdowns in eight straight games. Mayfield has fired at least two scores in five of his past seven. The line suggests the Browns will have to chase the scoreboard. The odds aren’t ideal but it feels very safe.” — CBS Sports’ Dave Richard.
Nick Chubb Over 85.5 total yards (-115)
“All Chubb has done is total over 100 yards in seven of his past nine games. Recently he’s been boosted by his receiving work, with 28.9 yards per game in his past seven. If that keeps up, he’s a cinch to get 86-plus yards. But even if it doesn’t get quite that many, the Chiefs have let up 4.6 yards per carry to opposing backs in their past six games. Chubb’s averaged 16.0 carries per game in his past seven, so if he gets that many at the 4.6 yards per rush the Chiefs allow, he’ll be within striking distance of the number.” — Dave Richard.