Los Angeles Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Point Spread – Pick

Los Angeles Chargers (10-3 SU, 7-6 ATS) vs. Kansas City Chiefs (11-2 SU, 8-4-1 ATS)
Week 15 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, December 13, 2018 at 8:20PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV: Fox

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: LAC +3.5/KC -3.5
Over/Under Total: 56

The Los Angeles Chargers take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Thursday Night Football. This is a massive week 15 AFC West battle that could have big ramifications for both teams. Both teams are coming off the short week, with the Chiefs scoring a big win on Sunday over the Ravens in overtime, 27-24. It puts them that much closer to a division title and possibly a top seeding in the playoffs. But coming into town are the Chargers, only one game back, and coming off their tenth win of the season with a 26-21 win over the Bengals on Sunday. It wasn’t their best game of the season, but look for both teams to be “up” for this Thursday Night Football matchup.

As division rivals, these teams have already met this season. In an NFL season, a team will go through a lot of changes, making one wonder how much a week one game matters by the time you get to week 15. For what it’s worth, the Chiefs won in LA, 38-28. It might be hard to remember now, as the Chargers were favored, but not a lot of people were all that high on the Chiefs, as many forecasted a downturn this season—something that didn’t materialize. In week one, Patrick Mahomes served notice with four TD passes, as Tyreek Hill had a huge game. Philip Rivers went over 400 yards, but played from behind all day and could never quite get the upper hand. The Chargers have had a lot of success since then and gotten better in some areas, but in Arrowhead, the Chiefs’ offense still represents a major problem-area for the Bolts.

Philip Rivers is having one of his best seasons, not bad for a player of his seasoning. In week one, Melvin Gordon ran the ball well and was over 100 receiving yards. His presence and how close to his peak he is will be key in this matchup. The Chargers didn’t have a great game offensively on Sunday against a Bengals team that played better than a lot of people thought they would. Not having Gordon in there sets this offense back a step. And we saw his backup, useful Austin Ekeler, also go down on Sunday.

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Other than a sack by Derwin James in week one, the Chargers’ defense had few highlights against the Chiefs the first time around. James is having a great season and could be the best defensive rookie in the league. Other youngsters will help, as they now have Joey Bosa to help get the “D” off on the good-foot. We’ve seen Mahomes more-mortal lately, which could feed into the hands of the Chargers’ playmaking “D.” The 256 yards that Mahomes threw for in week one was the second-lowest total he had in any game this season. In their last 9 games, the Chargers’ defense has allowed over 23 points just once. Something similar would go a long way this week.

The Chiefs face some new challenges. Under Andy Reid, they have reeled off massive winning-streaks that sometimes peter out at the wrong time. After coming off the bye where they lost rushing champion Kareem Hunt, they went tooth-and-nail with the lowly Raiders, before struggling to beat the Ravens on Sunday in OT. Even if you surmise that the Chiefs will find a way to patch things up, you don’t lose the defending rushing champion without it costing you. We now see how they will fare with their leading division rival with this new look offense.

Luckily, the Kansas City offense is loaded. Mahomes has been a revelation at the quarterback position, even making better use of his many playmakers than his predecessor. He has connected well with a great receiver in Hill, a superb tight end in Travis Kelce, and others. We now see how the run-game will fare in the hands of Spencer Ware and the mobile Mahomes. On Sunday, Hill and Kelce had big games, with Ware putting up a useful 75 yards on the ground and another 54 through the air. RB Damien Harris also ran for a TD. Ware, however, had to leave the game with a hamstring injury—something to watch this week. Without him, the Chiefs are pretty thin at running back.

While we want to see how the Chiefs look on offense without a major piece of manpower, the future of this team lie on how well the defense can hold up. And against the Chargers, that’s a big concern. The Bolts put up over 500 yards of offense the first time these teams played and if they do the same here and convert more opportunities and make fewer mistakes, it could spell trouble for this “D.” Giving up 54 to the Rams was one thing, but allowing 33 to Oakland a few weeks ago may have been worse. On Sunday, Chris Jones scored a sack in his ninth straight game—an NFL record. And with Justin Houston and Dee Ford also getting to the QB, they look for this to be a big part of their approach in the weeks to come.

The Chiefs have only lost once in their last 7 games, but it’s fair to say they’ve dipped a notch and are facing a less-certain future without some key pieces. They haven’t covered the spread since November 4 after being automatic in that regard earlier in the season. But in a game like this, against a good divisional team, maybe we see a higher level of urgency. I see a game that is hard to call from a straight-up perspective. In cases like that, I have no problem taking the points. I’ll take the Bolts.

Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Los Angeles Chargers plus 3.5 points. Bet the Chargers vs. Chiefs game for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!

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