Chiefs vs. Texans Week 15 matchup preview and current betting lines
The Kansas City Chiefs (10-3) had to sweat out a tough one in Denver despite leading 27-0 early. The Broncos scored a season-high 28 points on the Chiefs, Patrick Mahomes tied a career high with three interceptions, but the Chiefs closed things out with a late interception to run out the clock and escape with a 34-28 win. It was the team’s 14th-straight victory over Denver.
The Houston Texans (1-11-1) lost again but nearly shocked the NFL world as a 17.5-point underdog in Dallas. The Texans scored 20 points in the first half against a Dallas defense that rarely allows 20 in a full game. Houston led for the first 29 minutes of the second half, but Dallas was able to get the game-winning touchdown with 41 seconds left after driving 98 yards to win 27-23. You would have to go back to 1977 to find the last time a bigger underdog won a game than if this one would have worked out for Houston.
Those two wild results create a much more interesting game than originally expected. The NFL Week 15 odds still have the Chiefs as a 14-point road favorite with a total of 49.5 points. But can we trust the Chiefs to cover a big spread like this? This is the largest spread of the season for a road favorite.
Players to watch in the Chiefs vs. Texans game
Kansas City Chiefs
Isiah Pacheco: Last week was Jerick McKinnon’s time to shine with two touchdown receptions and over 100 yards, but this could be the week for Pacheco to have a career-best game. He has been solid with at least 66 rushing yards in five straight games, and his aggressive running style is fun to watch. He could really put up the yards against a Houston defense that has struggled to defend and tackle the run all season.
Jeff Driskel: To the surprise of many, the Texans used Jeff Driskel like he was Taysom Hill against the Cowboys. He completed 4-of-6 passes for 38 yards and a touchdown, and he rushed 7 times for 36 yards. Driskel ended up playing half the snaps on offense, but it’s the failed fourth-down run that could have put the Texans up double digits that people will remember most. Still, this is a wrinkle that the Texans could exploit as they struggle to find playmakers with rookie back Dameon Pierce out injured.
Our Best NFL Bets for the Chiefs vs. Texans game
We have two NFL Week 15 predictions as Patrick Mahomes plays his first NFL game in Houston against the Texans.
Chiefs vs. Texans Point Spread Pick: Texans +14 (-110)
The Chiefs vs. Texans spread opened with the Chiefs as a 14.5-point road favorite. The line has come down half a point to 14 going into the weekend.
It is rare to see a home underdog of two touchdowns or more. Since 1994, home underdogs of 14-plus points are 5-28 SU, but 3-1 in the last four, and the 2021 Texans pushed 38-22 as a 16-point dog to the Rams. Overall, these home underdogs are 17-15-1 ATS, so it is basically still a coin flip.
But these teams are unique in that they both have a poor minus-5 turnover differential despite vastly different records on the season. The Chiefs are also 4-8-1 ATS, tied with Chicago for the second-worst spread record in 2022. Only Tampa Bay (3-9-1) has been a worse bet.
The Texans are only 5-7-1 ATS, but despite being 1-11-1, the Texans have only lost by more than 14 points twice this year. Their first was a 38-20 loss to the Raiders where they actually led to start the fourth quarter before the Raiders piled it on. The only other one was a 30-15 loss to Miami after the Texans trailed 30-0 at halftime.
The Texans are a pesky team with the ability to get a backdoor cover, but they have also stood tall with the Eagles and Cowboys this year. Two of Houston’s biggest issues are run defense and five turnovers getting returned for touchdowns. But like we said, both teams are a bit lousy in the turnover department, and the Chiefs are always good for a costly fumble.
As for the run defense, the Chiefs love to throw the ball as Andy Reid should with Mahomes as his quarterback. But we’ll see if the Chiefs can shift to the run this week with that being the better way to attack the Texans this year. The pass defense is actually not that bad and has only allowed 11 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
The Chiefs have allowed everyone but the Rams – an offense with Bryce Perkins and no receivers – to score at least 17 points this season. Giving up 28 to lowly Denver last week looks really bad, but so does losing to the Colts 20-17. It’s not crazy for Houston to score 20 in this one as it had at halftime in Dallas last week.
Can the Chiefs score 35? We know they can, but Houston has only allowed that much once, and it was the late pick-six against the Raiders that sealed that 38-20 loss that was closer than it looks.
Key fact: Mahomes is 1-7 ATS as a road favorite of more than 7 points.
The Chiefs are still a great team, but this is probably the least dominant team of the Mahomes era. Trust the Texans to build off last week and find a way, backdoor or not, to get a cover for your NFL bet of the week.
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Total: Under 49.5 Points (-110)
The Texans have played in three games this year with a total over 50 points: Dallas (27-23), Chargers (34-24), and Raiders (38-20). Those games being last week and against the AFC West might sound good, but if you think the Chiefs are going to play well in this game, then it should include a better defensive effort against a bad Houston offense that won’t have rookie back Dameon Pierce.
The Houston defense has only allowed six offensive touchdowns in the last four games, a big improvement. They can hold the Chiefs to 27 points, and it is hard to see them scoring 23 on another team without getting a bunch of takeaways. Look for Mahomes to protect the ball better after the three picks cost him the lead in the MVP odds over Jalen Hurts.
Key fact: In games where Mahomes is favored by 11.5 points or more, the under is 8-2 and all but two of those games were under 50 points.
This could be a 27-17 game like Kansas City’s win over Jacksonville. Take the under here.bet on NFL with betmgm
Frequently asked questions about the Chiefs vs. Texans game in Week 15
The game is being played at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
With Mahomes at quarterback, the Chiefs are 10-10-1 ATS and 19-2 SU as a double-digit favorite. They lost as an 11-point home favorite to the 2020 Raiders (40-32) and as a 10.5-point home favorite to the 2019 Colts (19-13). As a double-digit road favorite, Mahomes is 0-2 ATS as the Chiefs only beat Denver 28-24 last year and won 40-33 in Oakland in 2018.