The effect of Tyreek Hill’s absence from the Chiefs’ offense will be analyzed and debated. But without a true precedent, it remains an unknown until Sunday in Oakland.
The effect on the betting line, however, offers a clue.
Hill’s absence is factored half a point into the spread, according to Adam Burns, sportsbook manager for BetOnline.ag.
The Chiefs are favored by 7 1/2 points in Oakland on Sunday. The line opened at eight, but wagers on the Raiders have pushed it down. It would have opened half a point higher had Hill been healthy.
Only a top-flight player would have the power to single-handedly alter the betting line, but the Chiefs have a few who fit the bill. None, of course, would sway the line more than quarterback Patrick Mahomes. According to the same website, Mahomes as a 7-point value to each Chiefs game’s point spread. That’s second in the entire NFL, trailing only Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, whose effect is 7 1/2 points.
As for Hill, the Chiefs fared just fine without him for the final three quarters in Jacksonville. On the other hand, he emerged as the team’s best receiver last season and markets an irreplaceable skill-set. Mecole Hardman and De’Anthony Thomas figure to receive the biggest bumps in snaps with Hill out due to a right shoulder injury.
The Chiefs are the second-largest road favorite on Sunday against the Raiders, who cruised past division rival Denver in Week 1. The Patriots blow that line out of the water, though, favored by 19 points in Miami, which seems to have embraced the race for next year’s No. 1 pick.
The over/under for Chiefs-Raiders is 53 1/2, the highest projected point total in the NFL. The Chiefs were part of the highest projection for Week 1, too ... and still cruised past the number by two touchdowns.
The Chiefs easily covered last week’s 3 1/2-point line in Jacksonville, making them 1-0 against the spread this season.