There has been a lot of concern about Patrick Mahomes and his high ankle sprain, but Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid doesn't seem to be too concerned.
Reid said Wednesday that he anticipated Mahomes would practice and added that, "I think he's going to do everything," via Adam Teicher of ESPN. While that might be overly optimistic, it's still a great update heading into the AFC championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
There's nobody who truly believes Mahomes won't play. The question is how effective he can be on a bad ankle. Bettors have been taking the under on his total passing yards, anticipating Mahomes won't be at full strength. Perhaps that's a mistake.
Bettors like the under on Patrick Mahomes
Bettors reacted to the Mahomes injury, which he suffered in the first quarter of a divisional round win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, by taking the under on his passing yards for Sunday's game against the Bengals.
It was the most popular prop bet for championship weekend as of Wednesday morning, before Reid's sunny report on Mahomes' practice status.
Even if Mahomes was at full strength, there are reasons to bet the under. Mahomes hasn't reached 273.5 yards in three of his last four games. The Bengals have an underrated defense. Conference championship games can turn into tight, defensive games.
But it's mostly due to the injury, as is the line move toward the Bengals in the early part of the week (the Bengals were 1.5-point favorites at BetMGM as of Reid's news conference). That just might lead to a discount with the market fading Mahomes.
Mahomes has played through injury
As has been pointed out early this week, Mahomes has played through a high ankle sprain before. And he played well.
In Week 1 of the 2019 season, Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain. The next week he threw for 443 yards and four touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders. Reid said this high ankle sprain isn't as bad as the one from the 2019 season. One big difference is the 2019 ankle sprain was to Mahomes' left ankle and this one is to his right, which is the ankle he plants on when he throws.
Athletes can often find extra focus in playing through injuries or illness. While Sunday might not exactly be Mahomes' "flu game," he has come back from injury quickly before and played well when he's banged up. The Bengals' defense is good but still roughly in the middle of the pack in most statistics. And it's possible the Chiefs have to pass a lot in what could be a high-scoring game.
It's not always going to be profitable to bet overs on Mahomes props. His lines are inflated a bit due to his stardom. This week, everyone is fading Mahomes due to the injury. Maybe this is the chance to go the other way.