Free Sunday NFL betting tips as big AFC West rivals Kansas City and Oakland clash at Arrowhead

Travis Kelce and Kansas City can see off Oakland
Travis Kelce and Kansas City can see off Oakland

David John goes for a narrow Kansas City win when they host AFC West rivals Oakland in the NFL on Sunday night.

Oakland at Kansas City (1800GMT, Sky Sports Action)

Tempers tend to fray in December and we could well be in for another edgy affair to follow the nastiness witnessed last weekend between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

There has never been a great deal of love lost between two big rivals in the AFC West and a thunderous Arrowhead Stadium stages a key match-up with the division still very much up for grabs in a three-way, nip-and-tuck race involving San Diego as well.

The situation has evolved in large part down to Kansas City’s extraordinary demise that has seen them lose six games out of seven having started the campaign with a 5-0 record.

Quarterback Alex Smith rapidly descended from league MVP candidate level over those opening weeks to a mistake-strewn shadow of himself with serious questions raised over whether he would even see out the campaign with his job intact or be usurped by rookie Patrick Mahomes.

Smith certainly regained some poise last week with a tremendous offensive display at the New York Jets which saw him throw for 366 yards and four touchdown passes with a number of big plays along the way.

The team still contrived to lose that game as it was the turn of the defense to go into utter meltdown with cornerback Marcus Peters penalised for picking up a flag, throwing it into the crowd in frustration and then leaving the game believing he had been ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.

He eventually returned to the sidelines and head coach Andy Reid has since taken the internal decision to suspend him for this game as he oversees what is currently a team spinning out of control on so many levels.

The crazy nature of results in the division means the Chiefs still have time to rescue the situation with three teams locked on 6-6 and they certainly have a score to settle with the Raiders after a gut-wrenching 31-30 defeat when the teams met on the west coast on October 19.

Marshawn Lynch was thrown out of that encounter for shoving an official after players from both teams got into a big scuffle on the sideline before Derek Carr found Michael Crabtree in the endzone as time expired in one of the most dramatic conclusions to a game this year.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper caught passes totalling 210 yards (some doubt over his participation on Sunday) and Carr will be hoping the magic returns again as he has never performed to the best of his abilities at Arrowhead and is yet to win a game in Missouri.

He stands two touchdown passes short of 100 in his career and any prospect of breaking his duck at this venue have been boosted by a number of factors.

Running back Lynch arrives off the back of his best performance as a Raider in the win over the New York Giants, a very solid offensive line in front of Carr has seen him sacked just 14 times while the absence of Peters from the Chiefs’ secondary is an unexpected but pleasant surprise.

There has been improvement on the other side of the ball too after the mid-season firing of defensive co-ordinator Ken Norton Jr and a strong finish from Khalil Mack and company starting here will help any push for the play-offs.

Having gone for Kansas City to win big in their first meeting in Oakland, I am not going to desert them now with home advantage such a salient issue.

They were separated by the width of a cigarette paper a couple of months ago and a similar scenario should play out here – take the hosts to prevail by 1-6 points.

Prediction: Oakland 22-25 Kansas City

Recommended bets: Sunday NFL

1pt Kansas City to beat Oakland by 1-6 points at 4/1

Click here for our transparent tipping record.

Posted at 1600 GMT on 08/12/17.

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