Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs Week 1 Pick ATS

September 12, 4:25 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Cle +5.5/KC +5.5
54.5ov -115

It’s a rematch of a good, tough NFL playoff game from last January when the two-time defend-ing AFC champion Chiefs host the hungry Browns for the season opener for both teams Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead. Kansas City held off Cleveland in that playoff game last year 22-17, but the Browns think they've got what it takes to topple the Chiefs this season. Kansas City is favored by a tweener number for this game; who do we like here for our Week 1 free pick?

NFL Betting Lines

Week 1 NFL betting odds opened Kansas City at -6 over Cleveland, with an over/under of around 53. Early betting action then dipped the Chiefs to -5.5 and bumped that total to 54.5.

Any bettors out there thinking the Browns might pull an outright upset here could get upwards of +220 on the NFL betting money line.

Cleveland-Kansas City NFL Betting Preview

The Browns are coming off their best season since Bill Belichick was their head coach, after go-ing 11-5 and reaching the divisional round of the playoffs last year. Cleveland started last season with a thud, losing badly at Baltimore, then won four games in a row, putting up big points in the process. The Browns later won four more in a row, then, in the end, beat Pittsburgh in the regu-lar-season finale to clinch a playoff berth. Cleveland then beat the Steelers again in an AFC wild-card game 48-37, then lost at Kansas City in a divisional-round bout 22-17. Now, the trick for the Browns is to take the next step and reach a championship game. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are coming off a second straight trip to the Super Bowl, although last year's didn't work out as well as the previous season's. Kansas City started 4-0 last year, lost to the Raiders, then won its next ten games in a row to secure the top seed in the AFC playoffs. The Chiefs then held off Cleveland in that divisional-round playoff bout, then beat Buffalo 38-24 to win a second straight AFC championship. But a banged-up Kansas City team then lost to Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl 31-9. So the trick for the Chiefs now is to get back to the level they were two seasons ago.

Browns-Chiefs By the Numbers

Cleveland ranked 16th in the NFL in total offense last year, averaging 370 yards per game, and third in rushing at 148 YPG. On the other side of the ball, the Browns ranked 17th in total de-fense, allowing 358 YPG and ninth against the run, holding opponents to 111 YPG on the ground. Last year, Kansas City ranked No. 1 in total offense at 416 YPG, 16th in rushing at 112 YPG, 16th in total defense at 358 YPG, and 21st against the run at 122 YPG.

Browns-Chiefs Recent History

Kansas City owns a four-game winning streak in the series with Cleveland, but the Browns are 3-1 ATS over that span, keeping games close while getting points on the betting line. Most recently, in that playoff game last January, the Chiefs beat Cleveland 22-17, but the Browns covered as seven-point underdogs. KC scored on its first four possessions of that game to lead 19-3 at the half. The Chiefs allowed Cleveland to get within five points early in the fourth quarter but later iced the victory by run-ning the last four minutes off the clock.

Also, that game played under a total of 55.

NFL Betting Trends

  • The Browns played 5-3 SU, 3-5 ATS on the road last season.
  • The Chiefs played 6-2 SU, 3-5 ATS at home last season.
  • The Browns played 4-3 SU, 3-4 ATS against teams that made the playoffs last season.
  • The Chiefs played 4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS vs. teams that made the playoffs last season.

More Week 1 Picks: SNF: Bears vs. Rams Prediction

Totals Report

Overs played 9-7 in Browns games last season, which averaged 52 total points. Totals split 8-8 in Chiefs games last season, which also averaged 52 points. Overs played 9-7 in NFL Week 1 last season.

Browns vs. Chiefs Prediction 9/12/21

Cleveland out-rushed opponents last year by a 148-111 per-game margin, and teams that win the ground battles cover the spread about 65 percent of the time. The Browns also gave Kansas City all it could handle in that playoff game last January and covered the spread. Yes, Mahomes is great, and he's got an array of weapons to work with, but he doesn't play defense. We expect a close game here, and while the Chiefs will probably win outright, we're taking the Browns and the points for our free NFL betting pick.  

Free Pick: 
Take Cleveland +5.5