Chargers vs Chiefs: Thursday Night Football Odds, Picks, Prediction
Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Herbert (left) and Patrick Mahomes.
- The Chargers and Chiefs (-4) face off tonight in Kansas City on Thursday Night Football.
- Both teams are 1-0 and enter this game tied atop the AFC West early in the season.
- Sean Koerner breaks down the matchup below and lays out why he's betting Los Angeles.
Chargers vs Chiefs Odds
With two elite quarterbacks coming off Week 1 wins, I expect a tight matchup on Thursday night. Let's break it down.
Chargers vs. Chiefs Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Chargers and Chiefs match up statistically:
Chargers vs. Chiefs DVOA Breakdown
When the Chargers Have the Ball
The Chargers will be without Keenan Allen (hamstring), and there is no doubt that Justin Herbert will miss his go-to wide receiver.
However, Herbert is arguably a top-five quarterback right now and has enough weapons in Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams and Gerald Everett to overcome Allen’s absence. It’s worth pointing out that in Week 14 last season, when Allen was out, the Chargers covered the 9-point spread with ease against the Giants, winning 37-21. Herbert threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns.
In that game against New York, Josh Palmer stepped up with a 5/66/1 receiving line. I’m expecting Palmer and DeAndre Carter to make some splash plays in place of Allen tonight.
When the Chiefs Have the Ball
The other key injury in this game is CB J.C. Jackson, who may be unable to suit up for the second straight week due to an ankle injury. It would devastating news for the Chargers, who desperately need him on a week they are facing Patrick Mahomes.
Without Jackson, Los Angeles' defense was able to hold up just fine in Week 1, holding a potent Raiders offense to just 19 points. In fact, the Chargers defense currently ranks third in DVOA after one week. That's not to say they will be able to shut down to elite Chiefs offense, but they may be able to slow them down just enough to keep this game close.
One matchup, in particular, I will be looking forward to watching is Derwin James potentially matching up with Travis Kelce. James has done an outstanding job covering Kelce in previous matchups, and I think the Chargers make that part of the game plan.
There is no denying that both Allen and Jackson missing this game would have a massive impact on both sides of the ball. However, Herbert is capable of surviving without Keenan Allen (in the short term anyway), as he has plenty of other high-quality pass catchers to work with.
Defensively, Los Angeles has three other elite players in Joey Bosa, Khalil Mack and James. The Chargers held up just fine without Jackson in Week 1 and should be able to slow down the Chiefs offense just enough to keep this close.
The Chiefs have a couple injuries that the public might be overlooking, though. RG Trey Smith is questionable with an ankle injury. If he's unable to suit up or be anywhere near 100%, it could result in Mahomes seeing extra pressure, specifically from Bosa on the right side.
Kicker Harrison Butker has already been ruled out. While it’s easy to make fun of kickers and say they don’t matter, which oftentimes is true, Butker is one of those kickers who could be the exception. He’s made over 90% of his field goals over in his career, while his replacement Matt Ammendola has only made 13-of-19 (68.4%) of his career attempts.
In what should be a close, high-scoring game, a missed kick or two could be critical in deciding which team covers the spread.
I like the Chargers getting +4.5 here. As of Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET, BetMGM is the only book where you can still get that number.