Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (+7.5, 42.5)
The Kansas City Chiefs have quietly emerged as a legitimate contender in the AFC, but a loss Thursday night would undo a lot of their current momentum. Winners of five straight games to surge into a first-place tie in the AFC West, the Chiefs hope to keep their hot run going when they visit the Oakland Raiders, who have not won in more than a year. The Raiders are the NFL’s only winless team and have dropped 16 straight contests dating back to Nov. 17, 2013, against Houston.
“We’re not giving up. There’s no quit in this team, and that counts for something,” said Oakland center Stefen Wisniewski, via the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re going to keep fighting until the end. I do think that we have a high-character team – a lot of good pros that are going to keep working and keep fighting no matter what the record is.” The Raiders set a season low for points in last week’s 13-6 loss at San Diego, one week after setting a season high for points allowed in a 41-7 setback versus Denver. Kansas City’s season, of course, is heading in the other direction as the team has not lost since its bye week and made a nice statement with a 24-20 win over Seattle last weekend.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.
LINE HISTORY: Books opened the Chiefs as 6-point road faves and that has climbed to 7.5. The total opened 43.5 and has dropped one point.
INJURY REPORT: Chiefs – TE Travis Kelce (probable, shoulder), LB Tamba Hali (probable, knee), TE Anthony Fasano (questionable, knee), S Jamell Fleming (questionable, hamstring), WR Donnie Avery (out, groin). Raiders – Derek Carr (probable, quad), CB Carlos Rogers (questionable, knee), G Gabe Jackson (questionable, knee), CB Travis Carrie (questionable, ankle).
WEATHER: Temperatures in the mid-50s with a 50 percent chance of rain.
COVERS POWER RANKINGS: Chiefs (-6.0) + Raiders (+6.25) + home field (-3.0) = Chiefs -9.25
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “Kansas City remains near the top after its fifth straight win. The Chiefs head to Oakland on short rest before hosting Denver. 6-0 ATS L6 vs. AFC teams. Despite not having won yet this season, Oakland keeps avoiding the basement thanks to having played the toughest schedule. Host Kansas City on Thursday night.” Covers Expert Matt Fargo.
ABOUT THE CHIEFS (7-3 SU, 5-5 ATS, 7-3 O/U): Alex Smith’s history against Oakland is virtually spotless with a 4-0 record and a 10-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in those games. Jamaal Charles is coming off a terrific performance against Seattle – 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns – and was even better the last time he faced the Raiders, as he became the first player in NFL history to catch four TD passes and run for a score in a single game. One of the keys to Kansas City’s success has been stopping the pass, as no team in the NFL has given up fewer yards through the air this season than the Chiefs’ average mark of 201.8 yards.
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (0-10 SU, 5-5 ATS, 5-5 O/U): Oakland is starting a rookie quarterback in Derek Carr, but the bigger issue at the moment is a rushing attack that ranks last in the NFL at 63 yards per game. Latavius Murray, a sixth-round pick in 2013, gave the Raiders’ rushing attack a spark last week with 43 yards on four carries and could see more playing time Thursday, particularly with Darren McFadden running 28 times for 55 yards over his last three outings. One bright spot for Oakland has been the play of 38-year-old Charles Woodson, who made 14 tackles – 11 solo – against San Diego and leads the team with 74 tackles and two interceptions.
* Chiefs are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 meetings in Oakland.
* Underdog is 11-3 ATS in their last 14 meetings.
* Chiefs are 6-0 ATS in their last six vs. AFC.
* Over is 6-1-1 in Raiders last eight games in November.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 67 percent of bettors are on the Chiefs.