What a heck of a first week of the 2022 NFL season this past weekend was. Of the 15 NFL games (Sunday-Monday), seven of the contests were decided by three or fewer points, and three of them ended with a single-point difference. Plus, two games went into overtime, with the Colts and Texans ending in a tie.
Week 2 gets underway on Thursday night with a critical early AFC West Clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chiefs (1-0) and the Chargers (1-0, 1-0 AFC West) are expected to battle for the top spot in the division. Kickoff is slated for 8:15 p.m. (ET) at Arrowhead Stadium.
Both teams are coming off a short week. Los Angeles fended off Las Vegas 24-19 while Kansas City blew out Arizona 44-21 on Sunday.
The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Chargers 34-28 (OT) on December 16 to snap a two-game losing streak against them as Patrick Mahomes connected with Travis Kelce from 34-yards out with 8:45 left in the extra period. The Chiefs lead the all-time series 65-58-1.
Kansas City is a -3.5-point favorite. The Moneyline lists Kansas City (-188) and San Diego (+158), while the over/under is 54.5 points. The following are my best bets.
Under 54.5 Points
I expect the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chargers to be an excellent contest with plenty of scoring due to the offensive abilities of both sides. However, I like the under here. The reason is that the season is just starting; therefore, there are still a lot of kinks to iron out by both teams when KC fumbled five times though they lost just one of them.
Granted, Kansas City put on an offensive clinic overall in Week 1, with Patrick Mahomes tossing five touchdowns and the Kansas City Chiefs rolling up nearly 600 yards of offense. Mahomes doesn’t have Tyreek Hill anymore as his big-play receiver, but he still has a lot of weapons. He connected with nine different receivers for 360 yards against the Cardinals.
However, I believe the Chargers’ defense is infinitely better than the Cards, particularly in the secondary, where Arizona’s defensive backfield is young and inexperienced.
While the Chargers allowed Devante Adams to go wild (140 yards on 10 receptions and 1 touchdown), they did sack Derek Carr five times while also picking him off three times. Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa combined for 4.5 of the team’s six sacks.
The Chargers have had some success against Mahomes in the past. Plus, the Kansas City Chiefs are a little nicked up on the offensive line and at the skill positions.
Similarly, KC’s defense has had some success against Justin Herbert in his four career starts. The Kansas City Chiefs are coming off a magnificent performance as they held Arizona’s Kyler Murray to 205 passing yards while sacking him three times. The Chargers will be without star wide receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring).
Two of the last four matchups between the Kansas City Chiefs and Chargers have finished under 54.5 points. Moreover, I don’t expect the Chiefs to score on 70% of their possessions or Mahomes will toss five touchdowns in consecutive weeks. Plus, I anticipate the Chargers to run the ball – with Austin Ekeler, Josh Kelly, and Sony Michel – just like the Cardinals did when they 4.7 yards per attempt against the Chiefs.
Furthermore, both teams’ defenses like to pressure the quarterback. So, there will be some sacks and also likely be some turnovers. The Kansas City Chiefs have committed six turnovers, and the Chargers have turned the ball over twice in the last two meetings between the teams..
Justin Herbert Under 282.5 Passing Yards & Over 1.5 Touchdowns
Herbert is coming off an excellent game against Las Vegas, completing 76.5% of his passes for 282 yards and three touchdowns. However, Herbert wasn’t pressured much by the Chargers, which I don’t believe will happen on Thursday night. Kansas City recorded 39 pressures against the Cardinals, which included blitzing 13 times.
I am going with the under here for a few reasons. I don’t expect the contest to turn into a shootout, with the Chiefs’ defense appearing to be much improved from last year. I also believe the Chargers will try to get the ground game going as they ran the ball 31 times against the Raiders. Los Angeles tallied 51 rushing attempts in the two games against the Chiefs a season ago.
Herbert has finished with 282 or fewer passing yards in his last two matchups against the Chiefs, including completing less than 58% of his passes for 236 yards in their December meeting. Perhaps more importantly, he won’t have Allen as his go-to receiver.
I do believe he will toss a couple of touchdowns, however. The 24-year-old signal-caller threw at least one touchdown in all 17 contests and had 12 multiple touchdown games last year. He finished with six touchdown passes against KC a season ago and averages 2.5 against them for his career.
Patrick Mahomes Over 19.5 Rushing Yards
Mahomes has shown no qualms about pulling the ball down and running throughout his career. He has averaged over 20 yards on the ground per game the past two years.
Moreover, with the Chargers likely bringing lots of pressure, Mahomes will probably be scooting a little more than usual. The Chiefs gunslinger had 77 rushing yards on seven attempts last year against the Chargers. He has topped 20 rushing yards in his previous five games against the Chargers.
Travis Kelce Over 84.5 Receiving Yards
Kelce is Mr. Reliable for Mahomes. With Hill gone, the big tight end could see more than his large portion of passes come his way. Kelce has caught 36 of the 53 times he has been targeted over the last five games against the Chargers while surpassing the 90-yard mark on four occasions.
Other Prop Bets
Patrick Mahomes Under 305.5 Passing Yards
Mecole Hardman Under 35.5 Yards
Austin Ekeler Over 12.5 Carries
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