Chargers vs Chiefs Sunday Night Football Prediction: Expert Makes Betting Pick

Chargers vs Chiefs Sunday Night Football Prediction: Expert Makes Betting Pick article feature image

Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert

  • Sunday Night Football features Chargers vs Chiefs in Week 11.
  • Kansas City is a 5.5-point favorite tonight in Los Angeles.
  • Check out Stuckey's preview and betting pick below.

Chargers vs Chiefs Odds

Sunday, Nov. 20
8:20 p.m. ET
Chargers Odds
-110o / -110u
Chiefs Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

Oh, baby, we got a good one in primetime this Sunday when the Chargers host the Chiefs in an AFC West showdown with potential massive playoff implications.

The Chiefs, who currently have the best record in the AFC, can extend their lead in the division to effectively four games with seven remaining since they'd have a season sweep over Los Angeles.

That would all but wrap up the AFC West in mid-November — pretty wild for a division many expected to be a tight race right up until the very end. It would also keep Kansas City one game ahead of the Bills for the highly coveted No. 1 overall seed in the postseason. That's critical since Buffalo owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

However, a Chargers win would make things much more interesting in the division race. LA would sit only one game back with a season split, while also drastically improving its chances of grabbing a wild card.

If the season ended coming into today, Los Angeles would have finished as the No. 8 seed, missing the playoffs by one spot due to tiebreakers.

Every game from here on out is obviously massive for the Bolts. Headed into today, per 538, the Chargers would have a 61% chance of making the playoffs with a win tonight compared to just a 30% probability with a loss.

So, where does the value lie from a betting perspective? Let's take a closer look at the matchup before getting into my wager on this game.

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Chiefs vs. Chargers Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Chiefs and Chargers match up statistically:

Chiefs vs. Chargers DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA120
Pass DVOA212
Rush DVOA2029
Overall DVOA2422
Pass DVOA2122
Rush DVOA3217

The Chargers have been absolutely crushed by injuries on both sides of the ball, which have obviously really hurt their offensive and defensive metrics. Just take a look at some of the key players who weren't available last week:

  • Keenan Allen
  • Mike Williams
  • Jalen Guyton
  • Geral Everett
  • Donald Parham
  • Rashawn Slater
  • Joey Bosa
  • J.C. Jackson

They've also lost a few more bodies along the defensive line, leaving them very bare in the cupboard up front.

The good news for Los Angeles is Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are on track to return from injury. That's absolutely enormous for Justin Herbert, who has been trying to make things work with a skeleton crew on the outside at receiver.

Herbert has really missed Allen as the reliable possession receiver, particularly on slant routes and third downs, in addition to the deep threat of Williams, who can really take the top off of a defense. Combine those two with Ekeler (and Everett's probable return) and you have the very dangerous offense that everyone expects at full strength.

Defensively, the Chargers are going to struggle against the run. Part of that is due to scheme, but also partly due to personnel.

However, that's not as big of a concern in this particular matchup against the elite Chiefs offense that ranks first in the league in EPA per Play but just 26th in Rush Success Rate. The Chargers still have a very good secondary along with the ability to generate pressure with playmakers like Khalil Mack.

The Chiefs will still get their points, as Patrick Mahomes does every week. However, the Chargers actually match up pretty well with the pass-heavy Kansas City offense, especially since it will be without two starting wide receivers in JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman.

Most importantly, I believe Herbert and company can match scores against a below-average Chiefs defense (21st EPA per Play) in a game that should go down to the wire.

Betting Picks

I thought this line was way too high at 6-7. That has obviously come down a bit with the recent injury news at wide receiver for both teams that favors Los Angeles. After adjusting for that news, I still see plenty of value down to +4.5.

Don't forget that the Chargers were catching 3.5 points earlier this season at Kansas City in a game it covered and probably should've won if not for a couple of wide-open dropped interceptions and questionable calls.

In fairness, I've downgraded Los Angeles a bit since that game, primarily due to injuries, but not as much as the market seemingly has.

I also think the Chiefs may be a bit overvalued in the market. Their season-long metrics are certainly a bit inflated due to facing the Cardinals scout team defense in Week 1 in addition to a 49ers defense missing half of its starters. It also didn't hurt to face Malik Willis when they hosted Tennessee.

Ultimately, the Chargers are just getting too many points compared to my projections. It only helps that they match up fairly well with the Chiefs on both sides of the ball.

For what it's worth, Justin Herbert is 4-1 ATS in five career meetings with the Chiefs with two outright wins and a trio of losses by margins of 3, 3 and 6. That six-point defeat came in overtime, which means he has never trailed by more than a field goal in any of the five contests against Kansas City. I actually think that's the most likely result here – a three-to-four-point victory for maybe whoever has the ball last.

Finally, if you're ever going to fade Mahomes, which admittedly is no picnic, do it when he's favored by more than a field goal. For his career, Mahomes is just 28-31-1 ATS as 3.5-plus point favorite compared to 17-5 ATS as an underdog or favorite of three or less, including the postseason.

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