The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers will reprise their AFC West rivalry when they kick-off Week 15 on Thursday Night Football. The Chiefs enter this highly anticipated primetime showdown as the field goal favorites on the road, but with the Chargers finding form in recent weeks, this showdown promises to be anything but a straightforward house call.
In this space, we preview the early odds for this Week 15 Thursday Night Football tilt and serve up choice NFL picks and odds from the corresponding best sportsbook for your consideration,
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Thursday, December 16, 2021 – 08:20 PM EST at SoFi Stadium
NFL Odds and Lines
Lookahead NFL lines projected the Kansas City Chiefs at -3 before Week 14, and although the Chiefs absolutely crushed the Las Vegas Raiders in a 48-9 victory at Arrowhead Stadium, the markets reopened with the same line on Sunday night: Chiefs at -3.
That said, the line quickly jumped out to Chiefs -3.5 with several market operators as early betting jumped on the Chiefs’ wagon despite the Chargers putting in a commanding performance of their own at SoFi Stadium, beating the Giants 37-21.
Similarly, the game total was projected on 49.5 points before Week 14 and markets returned with the same total on Sunday night. The early wave of betting saw the line move up instantly to 50 and 50.5 points with several sports betting sites.
Kansas City Chiefs Decimate Raiders
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs laid the Raiders to waste in a totally lopsided 48-9 victory in Sunday’s early round of NFL action. In the win, the Chiefs made a mockery of the closing 10-point spread on the NFL odds board with the 39-point margin of victory; and simultaneously, they improved to 6-7-0 ATS on the season with a 6.4 margin of victory on average.
If there ever was a team that needed a late-season bye it was the Chiefs. Based on their near-perfect performance this Sunday, it did wonders as they turned in their most dominant performance. In particular, the offensive side of the ball seemed to find its mojo. Mahomes went 20 of 24 for 254 passing yards and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions. He finished with a stellar 139.2 passer rating.
Second-year running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed 37 yards on 10 carries for 2 touchdowns and Tyreek Hill led the team with 76 yards receiving.
The big story though was the defense again, which forced four fumbles for losses – Derek Carr, Zay Jones, Hunter Renfrow, and Josh Jacobs all dropped the ball. The defense also had one interception as it kept applying the pressure on Carr and the Raiders’ offense incessantly throughout the game.
“Any time you can put together four or five turnovers in a game, you’re probably going to come out on the right end of the stick,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said after the game. [Source: the Kansas City Star].
On the heels of Week 14, the Chiefs are 9-5-0 SU on the season and in first place in the AFC West, a game ahead of the Chargers (8-5). The Chargers have the head-to-head advantage after beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead earlier this season.
Chargers Steamroll Giants
Justin Herbert dialed up some amazing plays to lift the Chargers to a convincing 37-21 victory over the Giants, one of which was a ridiculous touchdown pass that will likely go down as one of the best throws this season.
Beating the Giants doesn’t fall into the world-beating category, but that shouldn’t take away from a complete performance that marked the Chargers’ second-straight dominant win. The Chargers beat the Cincinnati Bengals 41-22 in Week 13. It was also their fourth win in the last six games and lifts the Chargers to 8-5 on the season and into second place in the AFC West standings.
Herbert went 23 of 31 for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns with no interceptions. He finished with a 133.1 passer rating. Austin Ekeler led the team with 67 yards rushing on 12 carries and a touchdown. Jalen Guyton led the team with 87 yards receiving on 3 receptions and a touchdown.
In beating the Giants, Herbert made history by joining illustrious company. His first touchdown pass to Jared Cook marked his 30th touchdown pass of the season, making him the first player to have 30-plus touchdown passes in his first two seasons.
NFL Predictions and Picks
AFC West fans must be chuffed about the burgeoning rivalry between Mahomes and Herbert, two of the league’s young stars that are proving to be veritable phenoms and forces to be reckoned with in the league. Mahomes has more experience – as well as a Super Bowl victory under his belt – but Herbert is proving he’s more than a worthy challenger to Mahomes’ undeniable star power.
Herbert led the Chargers to a stunning 30-24 victory over the Chiefs in Week 3. The Chargers closed as the 7-point road underdogs only to defy the NFL odds. Once again, the best sportsbooks are stacking the odds against the Chargers in this matchup. Perhaps it’s hard to imagine the Chiefs being swept in a division series – something that hasn’t happened in years. Moreover, the Chiefs are gaining momentum at the right time.
That said, for those that fancy the Chargers, it might be best to wait until closer to game time before pulling the trigger for NFL picks. The line has already moved half of a point against the Chargers. If this trend continues, it’s possible more points will be up for grabs with the Chargers closer to kick-off.
Alternatively, for those that fancy the Chiefs to win and cover this game, grab the three points while you still can. The Chiefs at -3.5 or -4 (should the line go up higher) offers less value for betting picks.
Whichever way you slice this game for NFL picks, there’s value on both sides of the coin. Both these teams can win outright and that makes it a tossup. It likely will come down to the quarterback that will have possession in the final minutes of the game.
Push comes to shove, the Chargers as the home underdogs hold appeal in a potential shootout between this pair that will be narrowly decided.
NFL Pick: Chargers +3.5 (-110) at Bet365
NFL Pick: Over 50 (-110) at Bet365