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The first of two matchups between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Denver Broncos during the 2021 NFL season arrives on Sunday Night Football in Week 13. The two teams will face off again in Week 18 in Denver, but the first tilt will be at Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City is on a four-game winning streak, improving to 7-4 after a slow start. Denver is 6-5 and in the middle of the playoff chase after a 3-1 stretch in the last four contests.

Kick-off is at 8:20 p.m. ET in Kansas City. Caesars Sportsbook lists Kansas City as an 8.5-point home favorite, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 46.5 in the latest Broncos vs. Chiefs odds. Before you make any Chiefs vs. Broncos picks and NFL predictions, make sure you check out what SportsLine NFL expert Larry Hartstein has to say.

A former lead writer for Covers and The Linemakers, Hartstein combines a vast network of Vegas sources with an analytical approach he honed while working for Pro Football Focus. Entering the 2021 campaign, Hartstein was 351-291 all-time on NFL sides, returning more than $2,200 for $100 bettors. 

In addition, Hartstein is an expert on the Chiefs. He is a blistering 20-6 in his last 26 against-the-spread picks involving Kansas City, returning more than $1,300 for $100 bettors. Anyone who has followed him is way up.

Now, Hartstein has set his sights on Broncos vs. Chiefs and just locked in his expert picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see Hartstein's NFL picks. Now, here are several NFL betting lines and trends for Broncos vs. Chiefs:

  • Chiefs vs. Broncos spread: Chiefs -8.5 
  • Chiefs vs. Broncos over-under: 46.5 points 
  • Chiefs vs. Broncos money line: Chiefs -420, Broncos +320 
  • DEN: The Broncos are 6-5 against the spread in 2021 
  • KC: The Chiefs are 4-7 against the spread this season
Featured Game | Kansas City Chiefs vs. Denver Broncos

Why the Broncos can cover

Denver's defense is its calling card, but the offense has areas of strength as well. The Broncos are in the top eight of the NFL in ball security, committing only 12 turnovers this season. Denver quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is fantastic as a steward, landing in the top five in interception rate at 1.5 percent, and he is very accurate to the tune of a 68.7 percent completion rate. On the ground, the Broncos are averaging 4.5 yards per carry, above the NFL's average, and Denver is the only team in the league with two rushers with at least 550 yards. 

The Broncos are also facing a Chiefs team with some vulnerabilities. Kansas City is No. 31 in the NFL in turnovers and No. 32 in the NFL in fumbles lost this season, which could set Denver up with short fields. The Chiefs are also a bottom-10 passing defense, giving up more than 250 yards per game through air, and Kansas City is allowing more yards per drive (35.9) than any team in the league. Kansas City is also allowing 4.6 yards per carry, and Denver should be able to effectively establish the run.

Why the Chiefs can cover

Kansas City's offense is highly prolific and, even against a solid Broncos defense, the Chiefs have the advantage. For one, Andy Reid is a blistering 19-3 when coming off a bye in his head coaching career, and the combination of Reid and Patrick Mahomes is terrifying to the opposition. From there, the Chiefs are averaging 402.4 total yards per game this season, the second-best mark in the NFL, and Kansas City leads the league in yards per drive (39.8), first downs (281) and third down efficiency (51.5 percent). 

The Chiefs are in the top five in passing offense (290.5 yards per game), with 25 passing touchdowns (third-most) and only 20 sacks allowed. Kansas City is also scoring 25.5 points per game, a top-10 figure, and averaging 4.6 yards per carry on the ground. The Chiefs have battled turnover issues in 2021, but Kansas City remains as explosive as ever, and the trio of Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce form the NFL's most dangerous passing offense.

How to make Broncos vs. Chiefs picks

Hartstein has analyzed this matchup and while we can tell you he's leaning under on the point total, he has discovered a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. He's only sharing what it is, and which side to back, at SportsLine.

So who wins Broncos vs. Chiefs? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see Hartstein's Broncos vs. Chiefs pick, all from the NFL expert who's 20-6 on picks involving Kansas City, and find out.