After another upset capped off NFL Week 1 on Monday night, the VSiN staff is back for the first game of Week 2.
Odds are from DraftKings (unless noted) as of Wednesday night.
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-4, 54)
Thursday, 8:15 p.m. ET
Josh Appelbaum: This AFC West clash opened with Kansas City listed as a 3-point home favorite. Early money laid the points with the Chiefs, driving the line up to -3.5. It appeared this line would fall back down to the key number of 3, however, with the news that Chargers WR Keenan Allen will likely miss this game, we saw the Chiefs shoot up to -4.5. Now we’re seeing buyback on the Chargers at an inflated + 4.5, dropping the line back down to 4.
The public is all over Kansas City, with roughly 80% of bets backing Patrick Mahomes as a short home favorite. This sets up for a buy-low play on the Chargers plus the points as a super contrarian prime-time dog with late buyback. Prime-time dogs are 61-44 ATS (58%) over the past three seasons.
The Chargers also have value as a road divisional dog (56% ATS since 2019). Conference road dogs of 6 points or less went 58% ATS last season. Justin Herbert is 3-1 ATS in his career against Kansas City.
Pick: Chargers + 4
Adam Burke: With Keenan Allen sidelined on a short week and a big total on the board, somebody for the Chargers will have to pick up the targets and the production. That somebody could very well be Josh Palmer. Palmer played 75% of the snaps last week, which would have been his third-highest percentage last season. His second-highest percentage in 2021 came when Keenan Allen missed a Week 14 game against the Giants.
Palmer set his season high for receptions (which he later tied) in that game with five catches on seven targets, and he also scored a touchdown (one of four on the year). He was used a lot more later in the season as he gained favor with the coaching staff, recording four of his five highest snap-count percentages from Week 14 through the end of the season. He scored a touchdown in each of his three highest games by snap count.
He’ll be the No. 2 receiver behind Mike Williams for this one, and I expect the Chiefs to key in on Austin Ekeler with safeties and linebackers, which should give Palmer some one-on-one matchups.
Anytime TD plus a sprinkle on First TD at 19-1 look like good bets.
Pick: Josh Palmer Anytime TD (+ 255)
Danny Burke: Patrick Mahomes was nothing short of phenomenal in Week 1 against the Cardinals. He racked up 360 passing yards on 30 completions, along with five passing touchdowns. The dude is relentless and so is this Chiefs offense as a whole. And you bet they will look to expose this Chargers secondary — especially if J.C. Jackson is still out.
That’s why I’m betting Patrick Mahomes Over 26.5 Completions (-114). As Matt Youmans and I discussed on the “VSiN Pro Football Betting Podcast,” betting a Mahomes passing prop Over seems obvious, but sometimes obvious is the right call. Don’t overthink it. You know the Chargers are more than capable of scoring at will, so that will put the Chiefs in a position to keep passing to play catch up or to maintain their lead. They were way out in front of the Cardinals on Sunday, yet that didn’t stop Mahomes from slinging it. So just imagine how many times they’ll be looking to throw against a team that features an offense that’s just as dominant as theirs. Also, Mahomes has gone Over this prop mark in all three matchups with Justin Herbert.
Additionally, I’m looking at Mahomes’ rushing prop (16.5). Why does this stand out? Because in seven career appearances against the Chargers, Mahomes has eclipsed this mark six times. Yes, it’s a new year and a new look, but the trend should continue given the situations. The Chiefs love to send their receivers deep, thus sending the Chargers secondary back in coverage, which opens up many viable running lanes for Mahomes to create some positive yardage. And, if the Chargers are sending pressure constantly with the tag team of Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, this will force Mahomes out of the pocket more often and give him an opportunity to improvise, scramble and pick up some key rushing yards.
Picks: Mahomes Over 26.5 Completions (-114) and Mahomes Over 16.5 Rushing Yards (-115)