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What the Vegas betting line says about the Chiefs-Bears game (it’s an outlier)

We’ve talked a lot about the Chiefs’ offense over the past couple of weeks — and with good reason — but the upcoming schedule is forgiving.

For the offense.

And the team.

The Chiefs are favored by 12 1/2 points Sunday against the Bears, tied for the largest betting line in the NFL in Week 3. (Dallas is favored against Arizona by the same margin.)

It’s also, for now, the only game this season in which the Chiefs are listed as double-digit favorites. That could change.

They did not open the season as 10-plus point favorites in any game. But the Bears have played as poorly as any team in football, ranking 26th in offense and 31st in defense despite playing games against the Packers and Buccaneers.

The spread is certainly a large number, though. Too large? Well, I looked into some context. The Chiefs have been this big of a favorite 10 times with Patrick Mahomes, and while they’ve won all 10 games, they are 4-6 against the spread.

The Bears have lost 12 straight games dating to last season, and more relevant for this exercise, they have covered only once in their last 10 games.

That’s the worst streak in the NFL over that time frame, as you might have guessed.

The Chiefs haven’t exactly played their best in the opening two weeks, but this sets up well for a get-right game for the offense. They showed some glimpses of figuring some things out in the second half against Jacksonville — yes, just glimpses — and I can’t talk myself into why this is the week that Justin Field and Bears suddenly take a step forward, even if the Chiefs will play without Nick Bolton.

The line: Chiefs -12.5

The pick: Chiefs 31, Bears 13

Season record: 1-1

PLUS THREE

1. Patrick Mahomes over 284.5 passing yards

It’s not just that Mahomes has topped this number in 11 of his past 15 regular season games, dating back to last season. The Bears have been terrible against the pass — allowing 9.1 yards per play through two weeks, second worst in the NFL — and that’s while facing Baker Mayfield and Jordan Love. Yeah, Mahomes is perhaps a tiny step above those guys. The fear with this pick is that Mahomes might not still be throwing late in the game if it’s out of hand, but the Chiefs do most of their damage in the air. So I think he’ll either do enough damage early to reach the over, or the Chiefs will need to be throwing into the fourth quarter.

2. Cole Kmet, over 28.5 receiving yards

The Bears paid Kmet like one of the better tight ends in the league, even though he’s never had more than 87 yards in a single game. So why the over? Well, the Bears do make it a point to get him involved some — he’s caught multiple passes in 13 straight games. Add to that, the Chiefs have allowed the sixth most yards to tight ends through two weeks.

3. Travis Kelce, under 6.5 receptions

The Chiefs are working Kelce back into the lineup after a knee injury held him out of the season opener. He played in just 64% of the snaps in Jacksonville, lower than any game last season. He will turn 34 in a couple of weeks, and a game against an inferior Bears team isn’t the one to ask him for a fuller workload. By the way, Kelce topped 6.5 catches in only two of his final nine games last season.

Last week’s props record: 2-1

Season record: 3-3