Thursday Night Football best bets: Chiefs-Chargers

By VSiN Staff  (VSiN.com) 

December 16, 2021 08:45 AM
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Let's kick off a new week in the NFL with another Thursday Night Football game, this time between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers.

We've got a market report on the game from South Point director Chris Andrews and a best bet from Adam Burke and Dave Tuley as Week 15 gets underway.

Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 52) at Los Angeles Chargers

Market Report from Chris Andrews: I opened Kansas City -3.5. The first sharp bet was on the Chiefs, so I quickly went to -4. I wanted to get out in front of any bandwagon effect. Kansas City’s a public team that’s covered four in a row, but at KC -4, other sharps jumped on the Chargers. Those sharps kept betting LAC + 3.5. I’m down to the key number of 3. Maybe that first bet was a head fake. I expect the public to play the Chiefs between now and kickoff. Looks like sharps will take + 3.5 or better whenever it’s offered in a divisional rivalry game that both teams need in the playoff chase. 

My opening total of 50.5 has climbed the ladder to 51, 51.5 and 52. I could see this one rising further. You regulars know the public loves betting Overs in standalone TV games because it’s more fun to root for points. Weather won’t be an issue indoors in LA. On the side and total, this will be a heavily bet game.

Burke: Perception plays such a huge role with NFL lines. Take, for example, this Thursday Night Football game. Los Angeles won the first meeting 30-24. The Chargers were + 4 in turnover margin, as both teams had 5.8 yards per play. The Chiefs racked up 6.2 yards per carry, which has been the bugaboo for the Chargers all season long.

The rematch is this week. Even though the Chargers won the first game, have more yards per play on offense and have allowed fewer yards per play on defense, the Chiefs are a clear road favorite. Kansas City has won six in a row, but the only quality opponents during that run are the Packers (who didn’t have Aaron Rodgers after his positive COVID-19 test), and the Cowboys.

Even though the Chiefs are tied for third in the NFL in turnovers with 23, they are also third in percentage of possessions ending with points; Los Angeles is eighth. Even with all of the giveaways, the Chiefs are 14th in percentage of opponents’ drives ending in points, while the Chargers, who have only 15 turnovers in 13 games, rank 24th in preventing points.

This is a tough spot for Kansas City with short-week travel to LA, but this line really says a lot about how both teams are viewed in the marketplace right now. Maybe some sharp money grabs the Chargers at the key number as we get closer to kickoff, but we haven’t seen it yet.

Lastly, here’s why I’ll take KC -3: The Chiefs are the best third-down offense in the NFL and the Chargers are the worst third-down defense. Kansas City was 6-of-10 on third down in the first meeting, so not only did the Chiefs have good early-down success, but they also capitalized on their third-down opportunities, running 15 more plays and controlling the clock.

The Chiefs only have four turnovers in the last five games and have been dominant in two games since the bye.

Pick: Kansas City -3

Tuley: This is a great Thursday nighter to kick off Week 15 with the AFC West lead on the line. The Chiefs have won six straight and the bandwagon is filling up, but I’m willing to fade them with the Chargers, who have also looked great in consecutive wins over the Bengals and Giants. Let’s not forget that the Chargers beat the Chiefs 30-24 in their first meeting (granted, the Chiefs were in disarray at the time). The Chiefs opened as 3-point favorites and it was up to 4, though it’s since been bet back down to 3 as of Wednesday night. But we still say it’s a play at + 3, as we’re not so sure the Chargers shouldn’t be favorites, plus we’re calling for the outright upset (but it’s nice to have the points just in case).

Pick: Chargers + 3

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