NFL Divisional Playoffs: Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs -1 (-110)
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
January 15, 2016, 5:20PM PST
Our primary handicapping factors make the Chiefs and Steelers close to equal on a neutral field. After considering Kansas City's homefield advantage though, the edge (against-the-spread) for this afternoon's action swings Kansas City's direction.
In addition to our power rankings factors, our sim work also modestly supports the home win/cover. While only two of our three independent sim routines forecast the KC cover, we note that each program backs the Chiefs to win straight up. Given that we gave up only a singular point to back the Chiefs, we note that the unanimous expectation for the home win is actually pretty close to the functional equivalent of an across-the-board endorsement of the Kansas City cover (as the minimum margin of victory in football is one point -- and though a push is possible, the last five years of NFL outcomes suggests the possibility of the home team winning by exactly one point is pretty remote; i.e. in the 2.5% ballpark).
Having last week off probably does not hurt Kansas City either, as Sung and Tainsky's examination of NFL games between 2002 and 2009 found that home teams did, in fact, win more than expected following a bye.
Also consistent with a Chiefs victory ATS, in the six head-to-head meetings between these teams since 2009, Kansas City is 4-2 ATS. The Chiefs are also 7-5 facing AFC competition, and 5-1 versus the AFC West. On the other hand, Pittsburgh is 0-1 ATS this season from the position of underdog, and a meager 3-3 versus their division.