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Chiefs vs. 49ers odds, prediction: Play Kansas City as small road favorite

Roll with Patrick Mahomes and Co. in bounce-back situation

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who fell 24-20 to the Buffalo Bills last week, is 12-3 when coming off a loss. Mahomes and the Chiefs play the 49ers in San Francisco on Sunday. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who fell 24-20 to the Buffalo Bills last week, is 12-3 when coming off a loss. Mahomes and the Chiefs play the 49ers in San Francisco on Sunday. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)Read moreDavid Eulitt / Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers’ offense has been the epitome of consistently inconsistent this season, putting up 88 points in three wins but just 34 points in three defeats. The best way to fix that? Go out and acquire one of the NFL most dynamic offensive weapons.

San Francisco did just that Thursday night, trading four draft picks to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for versatile running back Christian McCaffrey.

How much did the surprising deal impact the point spread and total for Sunday’s marquee matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs? Hardly at all. While McCaffrey is expected to be in uniform for the Super Bowl LIV Chiefs-49ers rematch, he likely will only take the field in red-zone situations.

So Kansas City remains a short road favorite in a matchup of two first-place teams coming off a defeat. Here’s how we’re betting Chiefs vs. 49ers, which kicks off at 4:25 p.m. ET on Fox.

Note: Odds updated as of 11 a.m. ET on Oct. 21.

Chiefs vs. 49ers Prediction

  1. Chiefs -2 (at BetMGM)

Chiefs vs. 49ers Prediction: Analysis

Following the McCaffrey deal, Kansas City dipped from -2.5 to -2 at BetMGM, while the total ticked up a half-point from 48.5 to 49. So if you like the Chiefs and believe McCaffrey will have little to no impact Sunday, you got a tiny bit of value.

It’s value we’re happy to accept, for two reasons: As the point spread indicates, Kansas City is the better team. And Kansas City, which let one slip away against Buffalo at home last week, rarely loses back-to-back games.

Since the start of the 2018 season — which is when Patrick Mahomes took over as quarterback — the Chiefs are 12-3 following a regular-season defeat, winning the last five in a row. That includes a 41-31 beatdown of Tom Brady and the Buccaneers in Week 4 in Tampa Bay after an upset loss at Indianapolis the previous week.

To be fair, San Francisco also has been tough off a loss, winning its last six in a row (including two this season). But it’s the three losses that the Niners have suffered that raise the proverbial red flag. Not only did San Francisco flatline as a road favorite against the Bears (Week 1), Broncos (Week 3) and Falcons (last week), but its offense put up just 10, 10 and 14 points.

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Assuming he can stay on the field, the oft-injured McCaffrey will make the 49ers’ offense far more consistent (and dangerous). We just don’t think it will happen against Kansas City, with McCaffrey arriving in San Francisco so late in the week.

Another problem for the Niners: Their top-ranked defense has been beset by injuries to a slew of starters. Three first-string defensive linemen — including sack specialist Nick Bosa, who sat last Sunday’s game in Atlanta — and three defensive backs were limited in practice and are listed as questionable late in the week.

Obviously, facing Mahomes is no picnic when your defense is at full strength. Facing him when your stop unit is banged up? It’s a nightmare.

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Finally, let’s examine the point spread in this contest. The 49ers have excelled as a rare home underdog in recent years, going 5-3 straight-up and 6-2 ATS since November 2018. However, with Mahomes under center, the Chiefs are 8-2 SU and ATS as a favorite of 3 points or less — and, yes, that includes their come-from-behind 31-20 Super Bowl win over San Francisco in February 2020.

With their bye next week, expect Kansas City coach Andy Reid to have his troops hyper focused for this one. Lay the short price at BetMGM and look for the Chiefs to prevail by a touchdown.

Chiefs vs. 49ers Odds (via BetMGM)

  1. Moneyline/Point spread: Chiefs (-2) @ 49ers (+2)

  2. Run line/moneyline: Chiefs (-135) @ 49ers (+115)

  3. Total: 49

» READ MORE: Full sports betting coverage from The Philadelphia Inquirer

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