Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: NFL betting picks, odds and analysis

Chargers free safety Derwin James, right, celebrates after sacking Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott.
Chargers free safety Derwin James, right, celebrates after sacking Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott at SoFi Stadium on Sept. 19.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

After suffering their first loss of the season last Sunday to the Cowboys, the Chargers haven’t had time to feel sorry for themselves as they now have to travel to Kansas City to face the two-time defending AFC champion Chiefs in a key early-season divisional battle.

The Chiefs are favored by a touchdown, but VSIN’s Adam Burke sees the Chargers as a live road underdog. Note: Road dogs are off to a 13-5 ATS (72.2%) start this season against the spread, including the Chiefs failing to cover as home favorites in their 33-29 win over the Browns in Week 1.

Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-7)

Betting analysis for Sunday’s game between the Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs.


One of the two early lines that I liked this week was the Chargers +6.5 against the Chiefs, but it looks like an even stronger play with the line up to 7 as of Thursday night.

The Chiefs simply have no interest in covering spreads for whatever reason. Kansas City is winning games but not by margin. One potential reason is that the Chiefs are atrocious defensively in the red zone. Opponents were 36-for-47 scoring touchdowns in the red zone against them last season. Opponents are off to an eight-for-eight start in two games so far. That is an 80% success rate over the last 18 regular-season games for the opposition inside the 20.

To this point, the Chiefs have scored on 55.6% of their drives and opponents have scored on 50%. The Chiefs have given up the most points per drive and scored the most points per drive.

The Chargers’ defense has played significantly better than that, while still scoring on 50% of drives. Los Angeles, unfortunately, is only three-for-10 scoring touchdowns in the red zone, but this seems like a good opportunity to get on track in that department. Furthermore, we’ve all basically accepted that Brandon Staley is a massive improvement over Anthony Lynn as coach of the Chargers. When the Chiefs were trying in Week 2 last season, the Chargers took them to overtime and had almost 500 yards of offense.

The Chargers’ offense has been moving the ball across the field, but are 31st in the NFL on red-zone scoring. That 30% rate is awful.

Sept. 23, 2021

Justin Herbert and the Chargers marched up and down the field against the Cowboys but had a touchdown taken off the board by a penalty and had an interception in the end zone. The Chiefs don’t seem to be completely in rhythm yet. Neither do the Chargers, but seven points is a lot in what should be a back-and-forth battle.

Sprinkle in a little moneyline here with maybe an 80/20 or 85/15 split ATS/SU, as the Chargers certainly have a chance to win this game outright. Take the points to be safe, too.

Pick: Chargers +7 (with a ML sprinkle)

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