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Pittsburgh at Kansas City AFC Divisional Round Lines & Picks

Written by on January 12, 2017

The AFC West champion and No. 2 seed Kansas City Chiefs haven’t hosted a playoff game in six years or won a postseason game at home in more than two decades. But they are slight NFL betting favorites for Sunday’s AFC divisional round matchup against AFC North champion Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh at Kansas City AFC Divisional Round Lines, Betting Pick & TV Info

When: Sunday, Jan. 15, 1 PM ET
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City
Stream Option: NFL Live
Opening NFL Lines: Chiefs -1.5 (44)

Why Bet on Pittsburgh?

The Steelers are 15-9 in the divisional round Playoffs all time.

Pittsburgh defeated Miami 30-12 last week, the Steelers’ NFL-record 35th postseason win. Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell rushed for 167 yards and two touchdowns, the most rushing yards in a postseason game in club history. It was Bell’s first-ever playoff game as he was hurt the previous two postseasons. Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw touchdown passes of 50 and 62 yards to wide receiver Antonio Brown in the win. Brown is the only player in NFL history to score two 50+ yard touchdowns in the first quarter of a playoff game.

Coach Mike Tomlin is now 7-5 in the postseason. Roethlisberger is 12-6 as a starter in the postseason. Roethlisberger suffered a right foot injury against Miami, and it might hamper him but Big Ben will play. In the Steelers' last two playoff road losses, both in Denver, Roethlisberger was also beat up from previous action. Last postseason, he took a shoulder injury into Mile High Stadium and, without Brown, threw for 339 yards in a 23-16 divisional-round loss. After the 2011 season, a high ankle sprain hampered Roethlisberger entering a Steelers wild-card loss that in Denver.

While averaging 332 yards and nearly three touchdowns per game in his last 16 Heinz Field appearances, he has averaged 279 yards, 1.06 touchdowns and 1.06 interceptions per road game during that 16-game clip.

This will be the second time this season the two teams will meet, with the Steelers defeating the Chiefs Week 4 of the season, 43-14, at Heinz Field. It was Bell’s first game back after serving a three-game suspension, and he carried the ball 18 times for 144 yards. Bell also had five catches for 34 yards. Roethlisberger had a strong outing, completing 22 of 27 passes for 300 yards while throwing five touchdown passes, including two to Brown, who had four receptions for 64 yards. Turnovers played a key role, with Ross Cockrell recovering a fumble that Stephon Tuitt forced, and Jarvis Jones intercepting Alex Smith. The turnovers resulted in 15 points for the Steelers.

Bell said the Chiefs might be “seeking blood” from the loss in Pittsburgh in Week 4. “They are gonna come out and give us all they’ve got.”

Why Bet on Kansas City?

These two franchises have played once in the postseason, with the Chiefs winning 27-24 in overtime in the AFC Wild Card game on Jan. 8, 1994. That was Kansas City’s last home playoff win.

The Chiefs, who have won 10 of their past 12 games, clinched the AFC West for the first time since 2010. Kansas City quarterback Alex Smith has a 0.5 interception percentage (one interception, 186 attempts) in his postseason career, the best mark in NFL history (minimum 150 attempts).

Chiefs rookie wide receiver and return specialist Tyreek Hill is the only player in NFL history to record at least three receiving touchdowns (six), three rushing touchdowns (three) and three total kick-return touchdowns (three) in a season. Hill was recently named a unanimous first-team All-Pro as a punt returner, and in looking at the matchup on Sunday, the Steelers punt coverage unit ranks 24th in the league, allowing an average of 9.6 yards per return.

Under Andy Reid, the Chiefs are 23-9 at Arrowhead Stadium, including having won 18 of their last 23. During that span, the Chiefs have outscored opponents by more than nine points per game. This year, the Chiefs’ opponents combined to average 23.6 points per game overall, but when faced with the noise and task of playing at Arrowhead, these same teams mustered just 15.8 points per game. The San Diego Chargers in Week 1 (27) were the only team to outperform their season average (25.5). In addition, Reid’s teams are 19-2 in his career coming out of a bye week dating to his Eagles days.

In five postseason games, Smith has tossed 11 touchdowns to just one interception. He owns a 99.1 quarterback rating in those games, throwing for 240-plus yards in three of them. Since 2011, Smith’s 99.1 postseason passer rating is the second best in the NFL among qualified quarterbacks, behind only Joe Flacco (107.5 in eight games).

Pittsburgh at Kansas City AFC Divisional Round Betting Pick: Kansas City Chiefs

Like the under here a lot, perhaps more than the side, but go Chiefs on NFL odds.