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Chargers vs Chiefs Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our 5 Best Bets for Thursday Night

Chargers vs Chiefs Odds, Picks, Predictions: Our 5 Best Bets for Thursday Night article feature image
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Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.

  • The AFC West's best face off tonight with Chargers (+4.5) vs. Chiefs.
  • Both teams are 1-0 entering this matchup after beating the Raiders and Cardinals in Week 1.
  • Check out how our betting analysts are betting this must-see matchup below.

Making Chargers vs. Chiefs picks isn’t easy, considering how high people are on both teams.

We have two potential MVP quarterbacks playing in the best division in the NFL facing off in one of the league’s best atmospheres. Thursday Night Football will not get better than this.

It’s not going to be this juicy every week, but we’ll appreciate Justin Herbert vs. Patrick Mahomes while we can, especially in primetime. Both the Chargers and Chiefs are 1-0 and sit atop the AFC West right now. It might only be Week 2, but this one feels more important than most other games this weekend will.

Six of our betting analysts have a best bet for the game, and two of them are on the same wager. Check out their breakdowns and picks below.

NFL Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Justin Herbert Rushing Yards
Anderson: Under 54
Hunter: Under 53
Chargers 1H +3
Mike Williams Receiving Yards
Josh Palmer Receiving Yards

For the latest NFL odds, click here.


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Pick
Justin Herbert Under 16.5 Rushing Yards
Best Book
Time
8:15 p.m. ET

Chris Raybon: This number is too high even when factoring in that Herbert is more likely than not to have zero kneel downs in this game given that the Chargers are the underdog.

Here’s how Herbert’s career breaks down in regard to this prop:

  • Under 16.5 in 23 of 33 games (70%)
  • Under 15.5 in 21 of 33 (64%)

And here’s how it breaks down specifically in losses:

  • Under 16.5 in 12 of 17 (71%)
  • Under 15.5 in 11 of 17 (65%)

Herbert did squeak by this number with 16 rushing yards in each of the two meetings against the Chiefs last season, but Los Angeles spent the offseason getting faster and more athletic on defense and should be able to keep Herbert in the pocket in this matchup.

In Week 1, the Kansas City defense allowed only one scramble to Kyler Murray, who came in averaging 2.4 scrambles per game in his career.

Herbert averages 6.8 yards per scramble in his career, so to clear this prop he would likely need three scrambles — a feat he’s accomplished only 10 of 33 games (30%). If not, he’d likely need two scrambles, plus 1-2 designed runs, and no kneel downs.

Of course, there will always be those times when you get unlucky and he pops a long run. When you map out his path to 16 or more rushing yards, though, it’s easy to see why he’s gone under this number in nearly two-thirds of his career games.

There’s also some hidden value here if the Chargers pull off the upset and Herbert does in fact take a few kneel downs. I have Herbert projected for 13.0 yards even if he takes zero kneel downs.

I’d bet this down to 15.5.

Pick
Anderson: Under 54
Best Book
Time
8:15 p.m. ET

Brandon Anderson: Oh baby, we got ourselves a good one on Amazon Prime. Pat Mahomes looked like his MVP self in Week 1, and Herbert wasn’t bad himself. This division rivalry has been absolute fire in recent years, and the winner Thursday gets a leg up in the brutal AFC West and probably becomes the early MVP favorite.

The Chiefs offense looked just fine without Tyreek Hill, racking up 44 points and an absurd 9.2 yards per pass, but the Chargers overhauled their defense and are built to take away the deep ball and stop the pass under Brandon Staley. Could LA’s defense be the difference? Or will Kansas City’s new WR weapons open up more of the field with LA taking away the deep ball?

The Chargers look like they’ll be without two really important players, CB J.C. Jackson and WR Keenan Allen. I liked Chiefs -2.5 in The Lookahead last week, but now the line has moved to reflect the injury report and killed the value.

This is a super fun game and everyone expects fireworks, but the best play might be on the under. The books have priced this total at 54.5, and that’s a huge number, especially on a short week. When the total is over 51, Thursday unders are 17-8-1 ATS all-time (68%). When that total is over 54 like this one, the under is undefeated at 7-0, covering by 13.8 points per game. It’s no fun betting against scoring and it’ll probably be a sweat. The two games last year sat at 45 and 48 points with 140 seconds left in each, then added 23 more points combined in those final couple minutes.

Still, the under is the right play with a line this high. If you do want to play a side, the Chargers +184 moneyline (implied 35%) is pretty tasty. And if you can wait and play live, you might just want to grab an underdog ML either way in a game that should be back and forth with plenty of scoring.

As of 7 p.m. ET, the total is 53.5 or lower across the board. Follow our odds page to get the latest numbers before the game. To be very clear, I would not bet this number below 54.


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Pick
Hunter: Under 53
Best Book
Time
8:15 p.m. ET

Simon Hunter: As Brandon mentioned above, there’s a huge trend that leads me to believe this total is too high.

I don’t trust what I’ve seen from Herbert quite yet. He’s still trying to push the ball down the field too much instead of taking what the defense is giving him.

Allen is out and has been Herbert’s go-to target on third downs since he took over as the Chargers’ starting QB.

The Chargers defense, though, looked amazing against the Raiders. That unit could give Patrick Mahomes problems by applying pressure with only four pass rushers. I see Andy Reid wanting to slow this game down by sustaining long drives.

I’d bet this number down to 52.5. BetRivers had it at 53, as of 7:30 p.m. ET.

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Pick
Chargers 1H +3
Best Book
Time
8:15 p.m. ET

Kody Malstrom: Surprise, surprise. The Chiefs offense is still elite after an offseason of speculation with the departure of Tyreek Hill. Mahomes put on a spectacular performance in Week 1, throwing for 360 yards and five touchdowns while new weapons Juju and MVS combined for 123 yards on 10 receptions.

Herbert made his mark as well, but the offense took a massive blow when Allen went down injured on Sunday. Escaping with a narrow victory over the Raiders 24-19, it was the defense that made the difference. Khalil Mack debuted with three sacks and a strip sack in the final drive while the defense picked off Carr three times.

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Will the defense show up again against a more mobile and elite quarterback in Mahomes? They will have their hands full as the Chiefs offensive line did not allow a single sack in Week 1, an area the Chargers will need to generate pressure to force Mahomes into making mistakes and limiting the offense.

I believe that the Chargers defense will give the Chiefs fits early on with Mack and co getting pressure in the backfield, keeping this close early on. The loss of Allen may be too much to overcome for the full game as the Chiefs make adjustments, making me keep my interests towards the first half spread. Take the Chargers at no lower than +3 to cover the first half with a potential second half play on the Chiefs.


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Pick
Mike Williams Over 66.5 Receiving Yards
Best Book
Time
8:15 p.m. ET

Charlie DiSturco: This is the perfect buy low spot on Mike Williams.

The 6-foot-4 receiver was held to 10 yards on two receptions — four targets — in the season opener against Las Vegas. But I’m not worried.

For starters, Williams ran a route on 91 percent of dropbacks, and led the team in total snaps. With Allen (hamstring) now out, Williams’ production will skyrocket as the go-to option for Herbert.

This is a game where we could see Williams’ targets hit double digits, like it has multiple times before.

If you are still worried about his four targets in Week 1, it only happened twice last season. And in those two games following those dud performances, Williams erupted for a combined 17 receptions on 33 targets, 284 yards and three touchdowns.

Aside from Austin Ekeler, there’s no proven receiver in this Chargers offense other than Williams. He’s the key to the Chargers’ success against Kansas City and I expect a big performance out of the veteran on Thursday night.

Don’t shy away from his prop total, even if you think it’s a bit high at 66.5 yards. I’m buying all the Williams stock entering Week 2.


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Pick
Josh Palmer Over 45.5 Receiving Yards
Best Book
Time
8:15 p.m. ET

Sam Farley: Allen will be a big loss for the Chargers, but it’s an opportunity for Josh Palmer, who is likely to eat up those targets.

Palmer was quiet in the Chargers’ victory over the Raiders catching three of his four targets for just five yards. Don’t let that put you off betting his Receiving Yards line though.

Allen missed just one game last year, Week 14’s game against the Giants. Palmer went off in that game, hauling in five of seven targets for 66 yards and a TD.

After that game Palmer was a bigger part in the game plan getting 21 targets in the next four games. While he didn’t do much on Sunday it’s worth remembering that he still got targeted four times.

With Allen likely to miss this game it should open up more opportunity for the former Tennessee wideout to show why he was drafted in the third-round last year. Even with DeAndre Carter likely to line up in the slot more frequently with Allen out, there will be plenty of targets for Palmer to thrive.


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