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So about that Kansas City Chiefs slump

The betting lesson learned after early-season panic.

So about that Kansas City Chiefs slump

Six weeks ago, the Chiefs were not a good football team. Their defense stunk, Patrick Mahomes made uncharacteristic errors, and the 17-0 dream ended quickly in Week 2. At its lowest, Kansas City stood 3-4, and media began the obituaries for the team’s “waning” chances of reaching the postseason.  

The sportsbook agreed, though not as drastically. On Nov. 2, bettors could wager for KC to make the playoffs at -174 (bet $174 → $100) or win the Super Bowl at +1300 ($100 → $1,300). Even sharps gave the Chiefs barely better than 50/50 odds of playing January football. 

With the luxury of hindsight, I present to you the acronym LMFAO. Looking back at the stories written then, it’s obvious the doom-and-gloom of the 2020s got the best of us. KC is on a seven-game win streak and owns the lead for top overall record in the AFC. Before Thursday night’s game, the Chiefs’ odds of making the playoffs were -3500 (bet $3,500 → $100) and to win the Super Bowl were +500 ($100 → $500).

The victories haven’t all been pretty (a three-point nail-biter over the lowly Giants and an ugly 13-7 win over the Aaron Rodgers-less Packers come to mind), but the Chiefs aren’t scraping by for a playoff spot. They’ve secured  their last four dubs by a combined 89 points.

This isn’t to say KC is fixed. Mahomes hasn’t been the touchdown machine we’re accustomed to watching, throwing just 12 TDs over his last seven contests including two games without one. But he’s only thrown four picks over that span, which is much improved over the nine in his first seven games.

There’s a lesson to be learned here and that is to trust in a generationally talented QB equipped with star receivers. Sometimes flukey slumps are nothing more than just flukey slumps. Plus, not all losses are the same. Two one-possession losses in Weeks 3 and 4 (a one-point loss to the Ravens and six-point loss to the Chargers) could’ve gone either way — then the early-season narrative would’ve been wildly different.

The Takeaway

Don’t overreact early in the NFL season, and definitely don’t overreact to a Patrick Mahomes-led team. The Chiefs may not win the Super Bowl, but they’ll at least be in the running.

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