Two of the NFL's most entertaining offenses take the spotlight Thursday when the streaking Kansas City Chiefs visit the Los Angeles Chargers. We break down the betting matchup with our Chiefs-Chargers picks.
The 9-4 Chiefs enter the game winners of six straight and occupy a share of the best record in the AFC. The 8-5 Chargers currently hold the top wild-card spot in the conference.
The Bolts could gain a major tiebreaker advantage over the Chiefs if they can sweep the season series. L.A. won the first matchup 30-24 in Kansas City in Week 3.
Here are my picks and predictions for the NFL Week 15 matchup between the Chiefs and Chargers (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).
Chiefs vs. Chargers Game Info
Date/Time: Thursday, Dec. 16, 8:20 p.m. ETTV: FOX, NFL NetworkLocation: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CAWeather: Indoors
Chiefs vs. Chargers Odds Analysis
The spread was listed at -3 in favor of Kansas City and the total was set at 50 points. Another half-point has since been added to the spread to put the Chiefs at -3.5, and the total has climbed to 51.5 points.
Both teams have struggled to cover the spread this season. The Chiefs are 6-7 ATS, but covered in each of their last four games. The Chargers are 7-6 ATS but just 3-4 at home.
Both clubs are 6-7 against the closing Over/Under line.
Chiefs vs. Chargers Picks
Chiefs -3 (-110) ??Over 51.5 (-110) ???
Chiefs vs. Chargers Predictions
Chiefs -3 (-110)
Though the Chiefs have dominated the AFC the past two seasons, the head-to-head matchup with the Chargers has not been as one-sided since L.A. drafted Justin Herbert with the sixth overall pick last year. He kicked off his Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign by taking the Chiefs to overtime in his first career start - which came on short notice. Kansas City ultimately prevailed 23-20, but the Chargers have won the two games since.
Patrick Mahomes missed last year's Week 17 loss in Kansas City, but he was outdueled by Herbert at Arrowhead Stadium in September of this year. Herbert threw four touchdown passes and finished with a 125.0 passer rating while Mahomes tossed three TDs and two interceptions, including one that led to the Chargers' game-winning score.
Injuries and COVID-19 protocols could have a large impact on Thursday's outcome. Chargers' star wideout Keenan Allen missed last week's game after testing positive for COVID and is running out of time to be cleared for Thursday's game. Stud rookie tackle Rashawn Slater tested positive on Monday, leading rusher Austin Ekeler is battling an ankle injury, and safety Derwin James is day to day with a hamstring ailment.
It's not ideal to face a red-hot Chiefs squad at anything less than 100%. Not only is K.C.'s offense rounding into form, but its defense has been lights out. The Chiefs have allowed an average of 10.8 points per game during the winning streak and gave up just nine points to each of their past three opponents (Dallas, Denver, Las Vegas). The unit has also been opportunistic with 23 takeaways tying for the sixth-most in the NFL.
Though it's unlikely they'll hold the Chargers to a similarly low point total, the Chiefs' defense should make enough stops on a shorthanded Chargers offense to pull out the victory and cover.
Over 51.5 (-110)
The AFC West foes rank in the top 10 in total offense, passing offense, and scoring. They each average 27 points per game and appear to be hitting their stride.
The Chiefs have averaged 32.5 points over their last four games, including a 48-9 dismantling of the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday. The Chargers have averaged 33 points per game over that span and put at least 37 points on the scoreboard in three of their last four contests.
On the flip side, the Chargers are no stranger to giving up points. They rank 26th with 25.8 points allowed per contest, and they rank second-last in run defense, giving up more than 140 yards on the ground per game.
The Chargers allowed at least 21 points in every game since Week 4. That trend should continue for the Chiefs and the L.A. offense will supply enough scoring to clear the highest total of the week.
Chiefs-Chargers picks made 12/14/2021 at 1:30 p.m. ET