Week 16 Prime Time Free Pick - Can Seattle Keep Up With Kansas City?

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Jay Ginsbach

December 23rd, 2018

Following the results Saturday and earlier in the day Sunday, Seattle and Kansas City will know where they stand as their push for the playoffs and positioning continues in a game that will draw significant betting action. Afternoon rain showers won’t dampen the impact on the game, but it could impact the two quarterbacks' ability to deliver the ball more accurately and on the move. Discerning a side in my Week 16 prime time free pick might require some savvy play on the total as opposed to debating whether or not a road favorite in hostile conditions is worth backing.

The betting is evenly split heading into the weekend. Tune in on NBC’s national TV broadcast as the Chiefs (11-3) try to hold onto first place in AFC West and push towards the No. 1 seed in the AFC. Seattle (8-6) is the NFC wild card leader and can secure their spot in the playoffs with a win over Kansas City or Arizona in Week 17. This is not the do-or-die game for Seattle that people might think it is, but that depends on what happens in the Vikings-Lions game.

NFL WEEK 16 FOOTBALL BETTING Kansas City Chiefs (11-3) at Seattle Seahawks (8-6) Sunday, December 23rd – CenturyLink Field – 8:30pm ET Odds: Chiefs -2.5 (54)

Following four straight wins, the Seahawks stumbled last week losing in overtime at San Francisco, 26-23. Seattle did rush for 163 yards on 33 carries to increase their league-leading rushing numbers to 154.9 yards per game. The formula this week is likely to run the ball often again, and Seattle does rush the ball 32.2 times per game which is No. 2 in the league. Controlling the ball, clock and chains is most important against the Chiefs, as Kansas City leads the league in scoring (35.6/game) and total yards offense (427.2/game). But even as Seattle limited the 49ers to just 26 minutes of possession time last week, the Seahawks defense still allowed 341 yards to San Francisco at 6.6 yards per play. For the season, Seattle’s defense allows 6.1 yards per play to rank No. 28 in the league.

That’s a concern against the Chiefs dynamic motion offense and QB Patrick Mahomes, who has thrown for a league-high 4,543 yards and 45 touchdown passes and is No. 3 in the NFL with 8.80 yards per pass attempt. Receivers Tyreek Hill (78.1,304 yards, 11 TDs) and TE Travis Kelce (93/1,220, 10 TDs) are in line for another big game, and if the rain doesn’t dampen the proceedings, then the Chiefs offense looks like it will roll again. Hill will get the ball in his hands often, and even running backs Spencer Ware and Damien Williams leading the rushing attack, the Chiefs have plenty of options to continue to score. That's why half of the action is sternly on the side of the Chiefs, but my Week 16 prime time free pick doesn't necessarily depend on them beating the Seahawks.

Here's why: Kansas City’s problems are on defense where they allow 409.4 yards per game to rank No. 31 in the league. Teams run 69.2 plays per game against the Chiefs defense, which is second-most in the league. The Chiefs run defense has been gashed for 161.3 rushing yards per game over their last three contests, and they allowed a week high 30 first downs to the Chargers last game at home while blowing a late 28-14 fourth quarter lead. The 29-28 loss allowed the Los Angeles Chargers (11-3) to keep pace in the AFC West, and the Chargers home game against the Ravens Saturday is most meaningful. Still, the Chiefs have extra time to prepare and recover from that Thursday night contest, and head coach Andy Reid is at his best in that role.

The Seahawks ability to wrestle time of possession in this game is meaningful, and teams only run 59.4 plays per game against the Seahawks which is the second-fewest in the league. Yet despite the rushing advantages for Seattle that often translates to ATS success, the Chiefs are the preferred play at less than a field goal. However, the better play, and my preference as a Week 16 prime time free pick, is OVER the total as long as the rain is not heavy or an issue. The total has gone OVER in 6-of-7 Chiefs road games this season as Kansas City has scored 40, 51, 37, 40, 27, 42 and 38 points in those games. Each game has had at least 50 points scored, and five have exceeded 65 points. Check the weather game day and at kickoff and get your bets in accordingly.

Week 16 Prime Time Free Pick – Seahawks-Chiefs OVER (54.0)

Fairway Jay is a professional handicapper based out of Las Vegas. He focuses primarily on the four majors along with college football and college basketball. You can follow him on Twitter @FairwayJay.