NFL Live Betting Week 2: How We Live Bet Chargers-Chiefs on Thursday Night Football
Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Mahomes.
The NFL graced us with a great game for Thursday Night Football in Week 2, and that meant some great opportunities for NFL live betting.
AFC West rivals the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers squared off in Kansas City, in a game featuring two of the league’s best offenses, with a pregame total over/under that reflected the expectation for fireworks.
However, we knew we could potentially find far better lines once the game was live, depending on how this one played out. And that’s where our NFL live betting Week 2 strategies began for Chargers-Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.
The NFL is perfect for live betting, with the pauses between plays providing plenty of time to get bets in. This season, I’ve built a model to project the pace of play under a variety of in-game scenarios. These include first vs. second half, as well as which team is leading or when the game is within a touchdown.
The primary benefit of this is for betting totals. If the game is going to be faster or slower than was assumed pregame, the application is obvious. Faster-paced games will tend to produce more points.
Both of these teams play fast regardless of scenario, but some situations stood out over others — and it was in fact a low-scoring situation that allowed us to jump in on some live betting.
3 NFL Live Betting Scenarios We Were Watching For in Chargers-Chiefs on Thursday Night Football
1) Either Team Gets Out In Front — LIVE BET MADE
Last season, these teams ranked first and second in pace of play when trailing by seven or more. Additionally, they ranked fifth (Chargers) and eighth (Chiefs) when playing with a lead of seven or more.
The ideal scenario for live betting was a relatively slow first quarter or so. A 10-0 or 7-0 lead from one team early on was be perfect, as we could comfortably take the over at a lower number. Even if it stuck around the opening total of 54, I’d have been comfortable betting over if one team is out in front.
With the Chargers threatening to take a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, we fired on a live total over at 50.5. Just seconds later, that number was as low as 49.5 at FanDuel — which is a good time for our weekly reminder that in live betting, line shopping is extremely valuable. Of course, it can be tough, given how quickly the lines move.
After a Kansas City touchdown made it 10-7, the live total moved up to 54.5, which certainly isn’t a bad thing for us! Unfortunately, that was the end of the scoring in the half, with the live scoring total dipping all the way to 43.5 after the end of the first two quarters.
But both teams came through for us in the end, as a back-and-forth fourth quarter resulted in a 27-24 Chiefs win — and our live over cashing.
2) Player Props — LIVE BET MADE
There weren’t a ton of pre-game player props showing much value according to our props tool. However, that didn’t mean we wouldn’t see some once the game got going.
At halftime, we got in a live bet on the over on Chargers wide receiver Josh Palmer’s live receiving yard total of 39.5 at DraftKings. He was at 20 at the break, and the Chargers get the ball first in the second half which should add approximately 0.6 drives above their expected average for the half. And if anything, his yardage underperformed based on his target share.
Palmer ended up with just 30 receiving yards, although he did cash as an anytime TD scorer on the last score of the game.
We were showing a slight value on Mecole Hardman’s over 35.5 receiving yard line at the moment. He’s likely to be the downfield option for the Chiefs, which would come into play more if they’re trailing. If this line dropped below 30 or so and the Chargers have a lead, I was looking to take the over.
While we didn’t quite get down to 30 on the live number for Hardman, the logic definitely held here. With the Chargers taking a 10-0 lead, the Chiefs receiver accumulated 30 yards receiving rather quickly by Kansas City’s next drive, finishing the half with 38 yards and going over both his pregame and live totals. Hardman finished with 49 receiving yards total.
On a similar note, we also preferred the over of 28.5 on DeAndre Carter of the Chargers. He racked up 77 air yards on only four targets last week and is clearly a downfield option. I’m not as worried about what his line is if the Chargers fall behind, since he could easily clear it with just one catch. Additionally, we can assume a slight bump in his target share with the loss of Keenan Allen for Week 2.
At half, Carter’s number was still 28.5, after he posted 12 receiving yards in the first half. He tallied 55 yards receiving.
My colleague Gilles Gallant also wrote up some Anytime TD Props he was on for TNF. Among those he highlighted prior to the game, I was interested in Hardman and Palmer if their respective teams fall behind. With the Chargers up 10-0, Hardman was +290 as a live anytime TD scorer, but that really wasn’t much better than his pregame line. So we passed, but Palmer’s ATD live lines ended up being a worthwhile look.
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3) A Close Game — NOT APPLICABLE
This scenario was probably the most likely before kickoff, given the consensus four-point pregame spread. Unfortunately, it also didn’t present many obvious live betting opportunities — and it was the one that didn’t really play out.
Both teams return their coaching staffs and key offensive personnel from last season, so leveraging 2021 pace statistics was fairly applicable in this game. It’s part of why we were able to cash that live over.
Based on those, a close game would play somewhat slower than if either team gets out in front by seven or more — but still faster than league average. These teams play slightly more cautiously when games are in the balance, but not to a large degree.
Therefore, the only way I’d have been firing in a close game is if it was the result of a few quick scores by either team. If we saw totals into the 60s but this game still tied, there was some potential value on the under.
Instead, this was a close, low-scoring game, where the over was our best play.