6:36 AM ET
ESPN Betting and Fantasy Analysts
The Kansas City Chiefs-Los Angeles Chargers game was flexed to Sunday night for Week 11, giving fans a chance to focus their attention on a key AFC West matchup. The Chiefs sit atop the division at 7-2, two games up on the 5-4 Chargers, and come into the game as 5-point favorites. The tilt also features the highest game total of the week at 52.
So, what can we expect from a betting standpoint Sunday night?
Betting analysts Doug Kezirian, Tyler Fulghum, Joe Fortenbaugh, Anita Marks and Erin Dolan, fantasy and sports betting analysts Eric Moody and Andre Snellings, ESPN Stats & Information’s Seth Walder, ESPN analyst Jason Fitz and Football Outsiders’ Aaron Schatz provide their top plays for the matchup.
Note: Lines from Caesars Sportsbook unless otherwise indicated.
The Kansas City Chiefs are 5-point favorites over the Los Angeles Chargers heading into a pivotal AFC West game on “Sunday Night Football.” Kansas City won the first matchup between these two teams in Week 2 and currently has a two-game lead in the division. What are your thoughts on the spread and total of this game (-5, 52) and who are you taking?
Schatz: Although the Chiefs beat the Chargers by only three points back in Week 2, I’ll take the Chiefs and give the points in this game. We expected the Chargers to be a top-10 team this year. Instead, they’re just 24th in DVOA right now, far below the Chiefs. The Chargers are wracked by injuries on both sides of the ball. Joe Lombardi’s offense seems to have neutered Justin Herbert, keeping him to shorter throws in part because the receivers he would throw to deep are mostly injured. The Chiefs’ running game might not be good enough to really take advantage of the weak Chargers run defense, but it probably won’t matter because the Chargers’ offense just can’t keep up with Patrick Mahomes.
Snellings: Chiefs -5. Schatz did a great job breaking down the injuries and offensive shortcomings of the Chargers this season. In addition, over the past three weeks the Chiefs defeated both the 49ers and the Jaguars convincingly, both games double-figure wins. The Chargers just lost to the 49ers last week and got thrashed by the Jaguars earlier this season. Add the eye test to the scouting breakdown and their performances against common opponents, and the Chiefs just appear to be on a different level than the Chargers right now.
Moody: My recommendation is to bet on the Chiefs. Kansas City ranks second with 423.1 total yards per game and first with 30.0 points per game. The Chargers’ defense is vulnerable on the ground and through the air, allowing the 12th-most total yards per game. The Chiefs are 15-6-1 against the spread in their past 22 road games against a team with a winning home record. The Chargers are 0-3 against the spread in their past three home games.
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Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have remained the top offense in the NFL despite losing Tyreek Hill in the offseason. Mahomes has found new receivers to target in the passing game including newcomer Kadarius Toney, JuJu Smith-Schuster (out Sunday), Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Mecole Hardman and, of course, Travis Kelce. They face a Chargers defense that is dealing with a number of injuries and allows 25.3 points per game. Mahomes’ props are 2.5 passing TDs and 290.5 passing yards. Do you like him to continue to build his MVP case on Sunday night, or can the Chargers’ defense slow him down?
Moody: I’ll go with Mahomes over 290.5 passing yards given he has eclipsed this number in five straight games. As I said above, I know that the Chargers have a weak run defense, but that just doesn’t seem like Kansas City’s style to suddenly switch and become run-heavy when the Chargers’ pass defense has holes in it as well.
What is your favorite bet for Sunday night?
Moody: Isaiah Pacheco anytime TD scorer (+575). After last week’s performance, the Chiefs should continue to rely heavily on Pacheco. He played on 55.5% of Kansas City’s offensive snaps Sunday against the Jaguars and finished with 82 rushing yards on 16 attempts. Clyde Edwards-Helaire wasn’t given a single rushing attempt or target and played on only four total snaps. In what Vegas expects to be a high-scoring game, Pacheco is well positioned to find the end zone against a Chargers defense that allows the third-most rushing yards per game (146.8).
What is your favorite player prop for Sunday night?
Moody: Marquez Valdes-Scantling over 44.5 receiving yards (-117). In the absence of JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mecole Hardman, Valdes-Scantling should see a steady stream of targets from Mahomes, who threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns last week against the Jaguars for the 12th time in his career. That breaks a tie with Ben Roethlisberger for the sixth-most games in league history. Valdes-Scantling has surpassed 44 receiving yards in six games this season. Although he is averaging only 4.78 targets per game so far, Valdes-Scantling averages 17.0 yards per reception.
Schatz: Austin Ekeler over 43.5 receiving yards (-117). Kansas City ranks just 26th in DVOA against running backs as receivers, allowing an average of 51.2 yards per game (opponent-adjusted). The Chiefs’ run defense has improved this year, so short passes will be the best way to get Ekeler the ball and let him do something.