Will the Kansas City Chiefs Hold on To the AFC’s No. 1 Seed?

18 December 2020

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs fans knew it was only a matter of time before their team would ascend to the No. 1 spot in the AFC. With the Pittsburgh Steelers losing their second consecutive game last week (this time to the Buffalo Bills), Chiefs fans got their wish.

However, while it is nice to be in a position to become the No. 1 seed in the AFC, it only matters if a team is in that position at the end of the regular season.

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With the competition at the top of the AFC being what it is this season, the Chiefs certainly do not have the 1-seed locked up.

The odds are in their favor to remain the 1-seed (-3335; odds via DraftKings). But the Pittsburgh Steelers are still in the hunt (+1400), and so are the Buffalo Bills (+8000). According to those odds, the Chiefs have a 97.09 percent chance of being the No. 1 seed in the AFC this season.

With the odds so heavily in their favor, is there any value in betting either of the other two?

The Road to The No. 1 Seed for The Kansas City Chiefs

If the Chiefs were to get a little lucky this weekend, there is a chance they could lock up the No. 1 seed this weekend. They would just have to beat the New Orleans Saints while the Bills lose (or tie) against the Denver Broncos, and the Steelers lose to the Cincinnati Bengals.

It is possible, of course. The Bills could lose to the Broncos, and the Steelers could fall to the Bengals—but that is probably not going to happen. With the Saints now starting Drew Brees this week, the Chiefs are not a lock to win their own game.

But even if the Chiefs were to lose to the Saints, they would still be in control. They would be a two-loss team like the Steelers, which means it would come down to the tiebreakers.

At the moment, the Chiefs hold the edge in win/loss percentage against common opponents and strength of victory.

So, as long as the Chiefs can finish the season with wins over the Atlanta Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers, they have nothing to worry about. Pittsburgh could run the table the rest of the way, and the Chiefs would still be the No. 1 seed.

However, Justin Herbert nearly led the Chargers to a win over the Chiefs in his first NFL start. Herbert still has plenty to learn, but could he have learned enough in the dozen games since then that could give the Chargers an edge?


When it comes down to it, if the Chiefs can win out, which is entirely possible with their schedule, they will remain the No. 1 seed. Should they lose one and the Steelers win out, the Chiefs will still be the No. 1 seed (tiebreakers).

If it somehow comes down to them and the Bills, the Chiefs own the head-to-head tiebreaker. Buffalo’s only real shot is for the Chiefs to lose all three remaining games—and that is not going to happen.

So – How Should You Bet?

The safe bet here is pretty obvious. Anyone in their right mind will take the Chiefs to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC this season.

So, then the question becomes whether there is value in taking the Bills or Steelers.

In regard to the Buffalo Bills, the answer is simple—there is no value. Buffalo could win out, but there is no way the Chiefs drop their final three. Since the Chiefs own the tiebreaker, the Bills would need Kansas City to lose all three.

As for the Pittsburgh Steelers, their best chance requires them to win out, but that may be easier said than done with who they have left. The Indianapolis Colts are going to be challenging, as will the Cleveland Browns.

The Steelers may not be up to the challenge with how they are playing and all the injuries they are dealing with. 

Betting Play: Kansas City Chiefs to be the No. 1 seed in the AFC. (There is no value in betting on either of the other two choices.)

Best Sportsbooks For This Pick

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