The Kansas City Chiefs, particularly quarterback Patrick Mahomes, took a major step forward in Week 14. The Chiefs fought back from behind to beat the Baltimore Ravens in overtime. Mahomes made some incredible plays in the comeback victory as the Chiefs stayed in control of the AFC West and the No.1 seed in the AFC playoff hunt.
It may have been a signature victory for the first-year starter and a prime reason why he should be the top MVP candidate. The Chiefs are 11-2 as they head into Thursday night’s colossal AFC West matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers in Kansas City. A win would clinch the AFC West title for Andy Reid’s team.
Meanwhile, many scouts believe the Chargers might be one of the top five teams in the NFL. They are 10-3. Thursday night is their chance to show the country they are ready to take control in the AFC playoff chase.
The Chargers will essentially be locked in as a wild card and the No. 5 seed with a loss in Kanas City. However, if they can pull off the small upset on a short week in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL, they will be in great shape. The Chargers would be in position to be the No.1 seed in the AFC playoffs and win the AFC West. But they must win. Here's how NFL betting should approach the game.
Chiefs-Chargers Best Bets
Chiefs (-3) over Chargers
The Chargers’ biggest concern is injuries at running back. Standout Melvin Gordon will try to play despite a knee injury that has kept him out of the past couple of games. He will be a game-time decision. His capable backup, Austin Ekeler, is not expected to play with neck and concussion issues.
That means rookies Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome may have to take on the running load behind quarterback Philip Rivers if Gordon can’t play. It doesn’t help that this monumental game will be played on a short week.
This is a slightly generous spread in Kansas City’s favor, I believe. I get the edge for being the home team, but I think the Chiefs might be a point or two better than a Chargers, especially with the Chargers’ injuries.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs hope that safety Eric Berry (heel) can make his season debut Thursday night. They are also helpful sparkplug wide receiver/returner Tyreek Hill (wrist, heel) can play against the Chargers.
A win Thursday night would also put the Chiefs on the cusp of clinching the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, ensuring them home-field advantage throughout. All the Chiefs would need would be either one win in their final two games or one loss each by the New England Patriots’ and the Houston Texans.
I think the Chargers will hang around and it will be close. But there’s just no reason not to take advantage of a Chiefs-friendly line. Bet the Chiefs -3 with 888Sport.
Kansas City can score on any defense and I think it will outlast the Chargers in any type of game. The crowd will make it very hard on the Chargers. Plus, Kansas City will be primed to put on a big show in an important game at home.
The reason not to like the over on this bet is the injuries to the Chargers’ running backs and the weather conditions may not be great. The temperatures are supposed to be in the low 30s and it may rain in Kansas City at game time.
The reasons to like the over? These two teams combined to score 66 points in their first meeting and Mahomes and Philip Rivers. These guys are gunslingers. They are going to get into a back-and-forth in this game, just watch.
The over of 52.5 points is just not big for a Chiefs’ game. Yes, their total was 51 in overtime in Week 14. But I don’t see Kansas City playing in two straight games that hit the under. Go with the over at 52.5 at 888Sport.
First-half Winner (Chiefs)
The Chiefs usually start fast. The Chargers can start slow. Check out their game at Pittsburgh in Week 13. They trailed by 16 at half time. I think Rivers may have to adjust to his running back injuries, while the Chiefs will be ready to play right away. So, take the Chiefs at -148 with 888Sport.