Chiefs Odds: Kareem Hunt Starting, but Running Back Situation Unclear

kareem-hunt-chiefsThe Kansas City Chiefs kick off the 2017 NFL season on Thursday night. They’ll meet the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots at Foxsborough.

Coming off an AFC West division title, the Chiefs figure to be pretty good this season. But the biggest question mark is how they’ll handle their running back situation.

We’ll discuss their running backs soon and how it’ll affect their line against New England. But let’s first look at the odds on Thursday night’s (Sept 7) game.

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots Odds (from GTBets.eu)

  • Kansas City spread 8.5 (-109)
  • Kansas City moneyline +320
  • New England spread -8.5 (-111)
  • New England moneyline -420
  • Over 48 (-118)
  • Under 48 (-102)

Kareem Hunt Starting – But then what?

Spencer Ware was set to start in Kansas City’s backfield after strong year in 2016. However, he hurt his PCL and will now be sidelined for the season.

charcandrick-west-chiefsHead coach Andy Reid quickly named Kareem Hunt the starting running back. The third-round pick out of Toledo had an excellent preseason, and he beat out Charcandrick West and C.J. Spiller for the role.

This seemed to settle who’d be playing one of the most-important positions on any Andy Reid team. But ESPN’s Adam Teicher reports that the situation may not be so cut and dried. Here’s what Teicher writes:

“Rookie Kareem Hunt will start but otherwise one of the unknowns surrounding the Chiefs heading into Thursday night’s game against the Patriots is how they will divide the playing time at running back. The Chiefs are again at three backs after re-signing C.J. Spiller. But Spiller has never played for the Chiefs and Hunt has never played in the NFL at all.

“The known quantity among their backs is Charcandrick West, who led the Chiefs in rushing in 2015. Offensive coordinator Matt Nagy indicated all three backs would play. “These guys are all prepared. They’re all prepared to play. They all know they’re a big part of this game plan. That’s the exciting part. We have a team of guys that we’re not just loaded with one guy at one position. We have a group of guys that can all play well and we trust them at all positions.”

What to expect from Chiefs Running Back Distribution

Last season, Ware carried the ball 214 times for 921 yards and 3 touchdowns. West was a distant second with 88 carries for 293 yards and 1 touchdown.

The feature back always gets lots of carries in an Andy Reid offense. That said, we expect to see a lot of Hunt in the early going.

The only question is if he’ll be able to keep up with blocking assignments. If not, we’ll likely see more of a 50/50 distribution between Hunt and a combination of West & Spiller.

Take Patriots on the Point Spread

As mentioned above, running back is very important in Reid’s offense. And the team can’t be happy going into the opener with so much uncertainty. Moreover, they’ll be starting a rookie against one of the league’s best all-around defenses.

To top it off, Kansas City will be on the road against what’s quite possibly the NFL’s best team. This is a big reason why – as a playoff team last year – they currently have a -8.5 line.

Given the running back mess and who the Chiefs are playing, we suggest taking New England at +8.5. Maybe Kansas City’s RB situation will clear up after this week, maybe it won’t.

Long story short, we don’t see them performing too well against the Patriots at Foxborough.

2017 Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds – Here’s who You should Bet on

leonard-fournette-rookie-of-yearLast season, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott came out of nowhere to win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award. The fourth-round draft pick threw for 3,667 yards and 23 touchdowns, and ran for another 282 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Will another surprise rookie win the Offensive ROTY award in 2017. Let’s look at the GTBets odds on this bet below and discuss the chances on some of these rookies. And as you’ll see, the ROTY crowd is heavy at running back.

  • Adam Shaheen +7500
  • Cardale Jones +7500
  • Christian McCaffrey +450
  • Corey Davis +2200
  • Curtis Samuel +3000
  • Dalvin Cook +500
  • David Njoku +3000
  • Deshaun Watson +650
  • Deshone Kizer +1200
  • Donta Foreman +5000
  • Evan Ingram +2500
  • Jamaal Williams +2000
  • Joe Mixon +1400
  • John Ross +5000
  • Juju Schuster Smith +5000
  • Kareem Hunt +700
  • Leonard Fournette +550
  • Mitch Trubisky +1200
  • OJ Howard +1800
  • Patrick Mahomes +3000
  • Samaje Perine +2500
  • Zay Jones +1400

ROTY Rankings – Based on Bet Value & Odds to Win

1. Leonard Fournette RB, Jacksonville Jaguars +550

leonard-fournette-rookie-of-year-1The separation isn’t great among notable Offensive ROTY candidates. So it’s hard finding much value at the top. But if you’re looking for the player with the best chance to win, we give a slight edge to Leonard Fournette.

The LSU product has great size (6’0, 235 pounds) and decent speed (4.51 forty). The fourth overall pick also doesn’t have a lot of competition for carries, with an aging Chris Ivory and disappointing T.J. Yeldon behind him.

Our biggest question mark, though, is how well Fournette can succeed in the Jacksonville backfield. After all, this team hasn’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Maurice Jones-Drew did it in 2011.

2. Dalvin Cook RB, Minnesota Vikings +500

dalvin-cook-vikingsWhen the Vikings signed Latavius Murray in the offseason, it was assumed that he’d be the starter. But an ankle injury has slowed him and opened the way for rookie Dalvin Cook to shine.

The Florida State product seized the opportunity and will start in the backfield for Minnesota. And the great thing about Cook is that he’s shown the ability to be a 3-down back.

Two potential hangups include Murray vulturing touchdowns and the Minnesota offensive line. Murray will still have a role, and that role will be stealing red zone touches from Cook. The O-line hasn’t improved much from last year, when not even Adrian Peterson could find any running room.

3. Kareem Hunt RB, Kansas City Chiefs + 700

kareem-hunt-chiefsThe onslaught of running backs in the Rookie Offensive of the Year race continues with Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt. The Toledo runner was slated to be a backup for Spencer Ware. But the latter hurt his PCL, had surgery, and is likely done for the year.

Andy Reid didn’t waste any time naming Hunt the starter. The Chiefs use their running backs plenty, which means that Hunt will be in for lots of carries. But recent news suggests that he’ll be in a full-blown committee with C.J. Spiller and Charcandrick West.

4. Christian McCaffrey RB, Carolina Panthers +450

McCaffrey leaped up the NFL Draft charts after showcasing a wide range of skills in the combine. We look for him to be a nice rushing and receiving threat

The main problems with McCaffrey, though, is that he’s not built to carry a heavy load (5’11”, 202 pounds), and he’ll be sharing touches with Jonathan Stewart. But then again, Stewart is now 30 and has missed three or more games in five straight seasons.

5. DeShone Kizer QB, Cleveland Browns +650

deshone-kizer-cleveland-browns-week-1Notre Dame rookie DeShone Kizer rose to the top of the Cleveland Browns’ depth chart during the preseason. And now he’ll attempt to end nearly two decades of embarrassing quarterback play for Cleveland.

We don’t see him flourishing on a team that’s been a wasteland for young QBs. But Kizer is also the only rookie QB who’ll be starting on opening day. This gives him an inside track to get the numbers to compete for Offensive Rookie of the Year.

6. Joe Mixon RB, Cincinnati Bengals +1400

joe-mixon-bengalsJeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard are still ahead of Joe Mixon on the depth chart. But it’s really between Hill and Mixon for the bulk of the early-down work.

Mixon, a second-round pick out of Oklahoma, is an explosive player who figures to get carries at some point in the year. Don’t be surprised if he turns these touches into a starting job.

7. Deshaun Watson QB, Houston Texans +650

deshaun-watson-texansThe Houston Texans sent two first-rounders to the Cleveland Browns for the right to draft Deshaun Watson No. 12 overall. So obviously the Texans are high on the Clemson QB.

Watson started the preseason strong, but finished with a 14-for-31 passing performance and 1 interception. Tom Savage will be Houston’s starting QB, which somewhat hampers Watson’s Offensive ROTY chances.

8.  Zay Jones WR, Buffalo Bills +1400

zay-jones-billsThe Bills don’t figure to throw a lot this season. But second-rounder Zay Jones is still stepping into a good situation in Buffalo.

Veterans Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods are gone, while Jordan Matthews (trade) and Jones will try and fill the void.

Matthews isn’t a dynamic No. 1 receiving threat, which means that Jones will get plenty of targets too.

9. Corey Davis WR, Tennessee Titans +2200

corey-davis-titansCorey Davis came into this season with a lot of buzz after dominating at Western Michigan. He ranked in the top 10 nationally with 97 catches (eighth), 1,500 yards (ninth), and 19 touchdowns (T-first).

However, Davis suffered an ankle injury that’s sidelined him for most of the offseason. Tennessee didn’t care, though, taking the All American with the fifth overall pick.

But Davis will take a few weeks to get up to NFL speed because he missed the entire preseason. And he’s already set to begin the season as a situational player.

10. Mitch Trubisky QB, Chicago Bears +1200

mitch-trubisky-2018-chicagoThe Bears gave up plenty to draft Trubisky second overall, so this means he’s likely to start at some point. It also helps matters that he outplayed Chicago starter Mike Glennon in the preseason.

Trubisky completed 70.4% of his passes and had 3 touchdowns against zero interceptions. Glennon, meanwhile, completed 59.10% of his passes and had 2 touchdowns against 2 picks.

Of course, Trubisky’s numbers came against second-stringers. And it won’t be any picnic being a starting Chicago QB this year because the wide receiver corp is depleted. Cameron Meredith is out for the year with a knee injury, meaning the team has no major receiving threats.