Jake’s Takes: Reviewing the Chiefs vs Bills Playoff Game and Huddle’s Trading Insights

January 26, 2024

Jake’s Takes: Reviewing the Chiefs vs Bills Playoff Game and Huddle’s Trading Insights

Jake Take's is back with Jake Moszkowski's Post-Game Analysis of the SNF Affair between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.

“Wide right!” That’s a phrase that has lived, forever, in infamy for Buffalo Bills fans. For the longest time, it was associated with a Super Bowl loss and Scott Norwood. Now, Tyler Bass has joined the conversation, as his kick sailed right of the field goal post from 44-yards out and under two minutes to play as the Bills lost (yet again) to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round. 

The win marked the sixth consecutive year that Patrick Mahomes has played in an AFC Championship game (every year that he has been the starting QB). It was also the first non-Super Bowl road win of Mahomes’ career. Unfortunately for Buffalo, they’ve been on the receiving end of Mahomes’s individual brilliance in three of the past four postseasons. 

Are Microbetting & Player Prop Markets Content Fodder… or the Future of Sports Betting? Read HERE!

This game had a lot to decipher, and I wanted to chat with Huddle’s trading team – specifically James Cranford – about the markets that Huddle offered during the game, the overall trading performance/approach, and if any unique circumstances stood out.

This game was back-and-forth. It featured five lead changes and no team leading by more than a touchdown. As mentioned above, it also featured a brutal missed FG by Tyler Bass, the Bills’ highly-paid kicker. Bass also had a field goal blocked and missed a 27-yard chip shot in the Wild Card weekend game against Pittsburgh. I was curious if that rough outing had any impact on the trader’s pricing of Bass this weekend, and if anyone noticed more people betting on a field goal miss versus make during that event. 

I don’t know if surprise is the correct word to use here, but they actually made no changes to Tyler Bass after he missed a FG and had another blocked in Wild Card weekend. The logic is sound – being that he’s a fourth-year kicker in the NFL, Huddle’s trading team was pretty comfortable with their rating of him. The only adjustments that were made (and were actually made to both kickers) were slight downgrades due to how windy it was in Buffalo, but not more than usual. In addition, there was no significant change in terms of the volume on his kicking props. 

The other event that I wondered about was the potentially game-altering (eventually, no impact) decision making that led to two bizarre occurrences in the fourth quarter. At the start of the fourth quarter, facing a 4th and 5 on their own 30-yard line, the Buffalo Bills elected to try a fake punt involving a direct snap to Damar Hamlin. Yes, that Damar Hamlin. Hamlin gained two yards and the Bills turned it over on downs, giving the Chiefs a golden opportunity to go up by two scores.

That fake punt… well, there’s not much a trading team can do to predict a fake punt, no matter how much fun it would be if there was. They have a very small percentage chance of it happening (pre-kick), so it is built into the model. James Cranford, one of Huddle’s traders, noted that the Bills lost about 8% of win probability with it being unsuccessful. Had it worked, they would’ve upped their win probability by about 10%. 

Instead, the Chiefs drove 31 yards in two plays and WR Mecole Hardman promptly fumbled the ball out of bounds in the end zone, resulting in a touchback. In terms of that fumble, it cost the Chiefs nearly 22% in terms of win probability. While many people have decried that particular rule, I think it’s logical. If an offensive player fumbles out of the end zone, the defense should get the ball. Stop making the game so ridiculously geared towards offensive success. 

What I want to know is how Huddle’s trading team responded, priced, and reacted to two seemingly longshot scenarios that happened in about a span of a minute.

While we’re at it, how about the ballsy (and likely to be forgotten) 4th and 3 pass that Josh Allen completed with around five minutes left in the game? Huddle had the Bills going for this, so it was already priced into their win probability. Being successful gained them 14% in terms of win probability. Being unsuccessful would’ve cost them roughly the same amount on that 4th down try. 

This game had it all – and Huddle’s trading team absolutely crushed it.

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