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Jaguars vs Chiefs: Best bets

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Jaguars vs Chiefs: Best bets
Photo by Jason Hanna/Getty Images

Here are this week’s best bets — odds via DraftKings Sportsbook — as the #4 seed Jacksonville Jaguars travel to face the #1 seed Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL divisional playoff round.

Last week: 2-0

Season: 27-24

Isiah Pacheco over 48.5 rushing yards (-120)

Jacksonville’s defensive line has been incredible against the run as of late: in the past month, the Jaguars have allowed just 56 non-quarterback rushing yards per game, and its defense ranks third in Expected Points Added per carry allowed in that span.

However, opposing competition has a lot to do with that. The Jets, Texans and Chargers all ranked near the bottom of the league in adjusted line yards, run block win rate, and run block win grade, while the Titans ranked were more so mediocre but also injured. Kansas City ranks top-five in each of those offensive line metrics.

Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco ran for 82 yards on 16 carries against the Jaguars back in Week 10. Jerick McKinnon has become more involved in the backfield since then — but as the best pure runner on the Chiefs by a country mile, Pacheco should expect to find success on the ground against Jacksonville once again.

Travis Kelce over 78.5 receiving yards (-115)

I’m expecting Jacksonville’s run defense to regress, but its pass defense will see be the biggest drop-off on Saturday. The Jaguars will confront MVP favorite Patrick Mahomes after facing Zach Wilson/Chris Streveler, Davis Mills/Jeff Driskel, Josh Dobbs, and Justin Herbert (sans Mike Williams) in its past four games.

Mahomes threw for 331 yards and four scores with ease in Week 10, and his favorite target was unsurprisingly Travis Kelce. The All-Pro tight end caught six of seven targets for 81 yards and a touchdown against Jacksonville’s liable linebackers. Jacksonville ranked dead last in DVOA on both passes to tight ends and passes to the short middle area of the field this season, per Football Outsiders.

Like Pacheco, Kelce should also have another big game against the Jaguars in the divisional round. He’s reached 90 receiving yards in six consecutive postseason games.

Christian Kirk over 63.5 receiving yards (-115)

Kelce is the must-stop receiver for Jacksonville’s defense, but on the other side of the ball, Christian Kirk will pose a threat for Kansas City defenders. National analysts broke down Kirk’s importance in various columns this week.

From Matt Bowen of ESPN:

In the Week 10 head-to-head matchup, the Chiefs played man coverage — including single-high, zero and two-man looks — on 66.7% of Trevor Lawrence’s dropbacks. And those are core coverage schemes under Spagnuolo. That’s why I’m focused on Kirk. Over the course of the regular season, 32 of Kirk’s 39 catches against man looks went for a first down. And he caught nine of 12 targets in that game against Kansas City for 105 yards and two touchdowns.

…Kirk logged eight receptions from slot alignments in Jacksonville’s in-season meeting with the Chiefs, and that’s where we should see him on Saturday. He has the lateral agility to shake coverage and make himself available to Lawrence on high-percentage throws.

From Derrik Klassen of Football Outsiders:

There aren’t many defenses easier on slot receivers than the Chiefs. In fact, there has only been one this season: the Tennessee Titans, a team whose secondary was torn apart by injury down the back stretch of the season. The Chiefs allowed 265 targets to players lined up in the slot this season while ranking 24th in EPA per play, per Sports Info Solutions. Offenses all year had great success attacking the Chiefs that way and had no reservations about doing so repeatedly.

Kirk has been the offense’s MVP over the past two weeks by leading the team in receiving each game and consistently contributing clutch plays. He should continue to see heavy volume as Jacksonville’s top wideout in this matchup with pace and points projected through the roof.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.

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