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Matchups Week 2: Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Chargers vs. Chiefs

12Spread: Chiefs -3.5  

Game Total: 54

Team Totals: Chargers (25.25), Chiefs (28.75) 

Weather: Outdoors, no significant concerns.

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Chiefs -3.5.
  • This line moved up to Chiefs -4.5 after a brief stop at Chiefs -4 early in the week.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Chiefs -4.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest releases their lines Thursday afternoon.
  • This total opened at 54 points.
  • This total moved down slightly to 53.5 points early in the week. 

Notable Injuries

Chiefs: CB Trent McDuffie (IR), OG Trey Smith (Questionable), K Harrison Butler (Out).

Chargers: WR Keenan Allen (Out), CB J.C. Jackson (Questionable, but missed opening day).



The Chiefs Offense vs. the Chargers Defense

The Chargers have an elite front four, while Kansas City has a top-10 caliber offensive line. This is a strength vs. strength trench matchup with no significant advantage for either side from a macro sense. However, the Chargers' elite edge duo of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack could give the Chiefs problems, as the strength of Kansas City’s line is the interior. It’s also worth noting that while Patrick Mahomes wasn’t sacked in Arizona, the Cardinals generated the sixth highest pressure rate on opening day, per The Edge. The Chargers' pass rush is far more dangerous than the Cardinals'.

Notes and Observations

  • The Chiefs are 1-0 against the spread this season.
  • The Chiefs are 1-0 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Mahomes deployed the 11th highest play action percentage on opening day.
  • Mahomes was 14th in air yards per attempt among starters on opening day. Marcus Mariota, Mitchell Trubisky and Tua Tagovailoa are some of the names ahead of Mahomes on this list.
  • Mahomes dismantled Arizona, completing 30-of-39 passes for 360 yards and 5 touchdowns. Mahomes didn’t shred Arizona over the top to achieve that outcome.
  • The Chargers allowed the 10th fewest rushing yards and the 13th most receiving yards to running backs on opening day. It’s just one game, but that’s a significant improvement for the Chargers' run defense.
  • Los Angeles allowed the 10th most receiving yards and the 10th most receptions to wide receivers on opening day.
  • Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams smoked Los Angeles last week for a 10-141-1 line on a league-leading 17 targets. Kansas City does not have an Adams-level wide receiver, but JuJu Smith-Schuster led Chiefs wideouts with 8 targets on opening day.
  • The Chargers yielded the fourth most receiving yards and the 14th most receptions to tight ends on opening day.
  • Chiefs’ icon Travis Kelce eviscerated the Cardinals on opening day with an 8-121-1 line on 9 targets.
  • Kelce destroyed the Chargers in both matchups last season, to the tune of 7-104 on 11 targets in their first meeting and a 10-191-2 bludgeoning on 13 targets late in the year. 

The Chargers Offense vs. Chiefs Defense

The Chiefs have a solid front four with an elite interior player in Chris Jones. On the other side, the Chargers have a top-10 offensive line. We shouldn’t treat this as a significant advantage for the Chargers. However, Los Angeles has a slight macro edge in the trenches, one they exercised in the run game in their second meeting with Kansas City last season.

Notes and Observations

  • The Chargers are 1-0 against the spread this season
  • The Chargers are 0-1 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Herbert deployed the fifth-highest play action percentage on opening day.
  • Herbert was 17th in air yards per attempt among opening day starters.
  • Herbert went 26-of-34 for 279 yards and three touchdowns against the Raiders on Sunday.
  • Los Angeles spread it around against the Raiders, as 11 Chargers were targeted while no one saw more than 4 targets.
  • The Chiefs allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards and the eighth-most receiving yards to running backs on opening day. Keep in mind Kansas City blew out Arizona, forcing the Cardinals to play from behind early.
  • Kansas City surrendered the seventh fewest receiving yards and the 12th most receptions to wide receivers on opening day.
  • Mike Williams smoked the Chiefs in their first matchup last season, with a 7-122-2 line on 9 targets. The second time these two teams squared off, the Chargers combined for 192 yards rushing on 39 carries, but no Los Angeles pass catcher had a slate-breaking performance.
  • If Allen misses this contest, which we should probably expect, we can expect Josh Palmer to fill Allen’s role primarily.
  • Kansas City let up the fifth fewest receiving yards and fifth-fewest receptions to tight ends on opening day.

This is What You’re Betting On in Chargers vs. Chiefs

A bet on the Chiefs always starts as a bet on Mahomes and coach Andy Reid. Kansas City destroyed Arizona on opening day, eviscerating the Cardinals' bottom-tier cornerbacks group. No offense shreds every opponent they face, but when you bet on the Chiefs, you get one of the most stable offensives in football. That said, the Chiefs had an 8-9 ATS record last season, and you’re getting them at a “bad” number right now, as Kansas City opened as a -3.5 favorite just a few days ago. 

A bet on the Chargers starts as a bet on Herbert and one of the league’s most talented rosters. If you’re betting on Los Angeles, you’re not only betting on one of the bright young stars in the league in Herbert, but you’re getting a top-shelf line on both sides of the ball with the Chargers. My biggest concern with a Chargers bet is Reid is one of the greatest of all time. Chargers coach Brandon Staley is a bright, modern football mind with a lot to prove.

The Chiefs and Chargers split their two matchups last season. The Chargers won the first 30-24 in Kansas City. The Chiefs won the second on Thursday night in Los Angeles 34-28, in overtime. You could argue the Chargers “should” have won the second matchup. You could also say Herbert was the best player on the field in that second contest. Overall, these two contending teams played two tightly contested, high-scoring games against each other last season. Chiefs vs. Chargers could easily end up being the NFL’s premier rivalry over the next half-decade or more.

Pool Picks: Chargers vs. Chiefs

Winner/ Confidence Pool: My original instinct was to treat this as a coin flip game in winner pools. Since the line has made the Chiefs a more significant favorite, I’m now more likely to take Kansas City in winner pools. Regardless of which side you take here, this game should be in the bottom five in your confidence pool rankings.

Spread Pool: I will probably avoid this game in tournaments, though I will give the Chargers +4.5 some serious consideration.

Survivor: This contest should be avoided for survivor purposes.

Watch More: Similarities Between Justin  Herbert and Patrick Mahomes