The Kansas City Chiefs have won the past four matchups with the division-rival San Diego Chargers and held the Bolts to just six total points last year. Any reason things might change on Sunday when the two face off in Kansas City? The Chiefs are one of the biggest favorites of Week 1 on NFL lines.
How to Bet on the San Diego at Kansas City Week 1 Odds, Free Pick & TV Info
San Diego vs Kansas City Historic Betting Trends
In Week 11 last year in San Diego, Kansas City rolled 33-3. Defensive tackle Dontari Poe scored a 1-yard touchdown on fourth down and linebacker Justin Houston intercepted Philip Rivers and returned it 17 yards for a touchdown. Rivers had his worst game of the season, going 19 of 30 for just 178 yards. Alex Smith completed 20 of 25 passes for 253 yards. He also ran seven times for 33 yards.
In Week 14 in Kansas City, the Chiefs won 10-3. After shutting down San Diego most of the game, the Chiefs forced Rivers into a pair of incomplete passes near the goal line in the final seconds. Playing through the flu, Rivers finished with 263 yards passing and an interception. Smith threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Albert Wilson and finished with 191 yards passing.
The Chargers and Chiefs have met 112 times, with Kansas City holding a slight 56-55- 1 series edge. The Chiefs hold a 33-23 series edge at home.
Why Bet on San Diego?
Rivers hasn’t missed a game since taking over for Drew Brees in 2006. No one threw or completed more passes last season. There are plenty of questions about the group around him, but Rivers is a known quantity in San Diego. Rivers has the top total QBR (77.8) of any quarterback over the past three seasons in the first eight games, but drops to No. 17 in total QBR (56.4) during that same stretch in the final eight games of the season. Rivers’ top targets will once again be Antonio Gates and Keenan Allen, while newcomer Travis Benjamin looks to inject a speed element to the passing game. On the ground, Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead aim to establish a potent rushing attack from Week 1.
A key in this game will be to stop the run. The Chiefs rolled up an average of 152 rushing yards per contest in two games against the Chargers last season. The Chargers signed run-stuffing nose tackle Brandon Mebane in free agency, selected the most versatile defensive lineman in this year’s draft in Joey Bosa, and added sure-tackling defensive backs in safety Dwight Lowery and cornerback Casey Hayward in free agency.
In 2015, the Chargers ranked ninth in total offense (371.8 yards per game), fourth in passing (286.9 ypg), 31st in rushing (84.9 ypg) and 26th in points (24.6). Defensively, the Bolts ranked 20th in total defense (361.9 ypg), 14th in passing (236.6 ypg), 27th in rushing (125.3 ypg) and 21st in points allowed (24.9).
Why Bet on Kansas City?
The Chiefs probably won’t have top running back Jamaal Charles on Sunday as he works his way back from a torn ACL suffered early last season. Coach Andy Reid has been cautious throughout training camp with Charles, saying he doesn’t want to do anything that would set back his recovery from last year’s torn ACL. That caution now appears that it will extend to the regular season, and the Chiefs will go with Charcandrick West, Spencer Ware and Knile Davis on Sunday.
The Chiefs will be without two linebackers — superstar edge man Justin Houston (knee) and inside playmaker Josh Mauga (hip) — who have caused the Chargers numerous problems.
Last year, the Chiefs ranked 27th total offense (331.2 ypg), 30th in passing (203.4 ypg), sixth in rushing (127.8 ypg) and ninth in points (25.3). Kansas City ranked seventh in total defense (329.3 ypg), ninth in passing (231.1 ypg), eighth in rushing (98.2 ypg) and third in points allowed (17.9).
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin and tight end Travis Kelce are the two top pass-catchers for Kansas City and the numbers show their value to the team. The Chiefs completed a higher percentage of their passes last season with Maclin in the game (66.2) than without (60.7). The Chiefs also ran the ball better with Maclin (4.9 yards per carry) than without (4.2) and had a higher average yards per play (5.6 with Maclin, 5.1 without). The Chiefs averaged 5.7 yards per play with Kelce in the game and 4.1 without. The Chiefs also completed a higher percentage of passes (65.8) and had more yards per passing attempt (7.6) with Kelce than without (60.6 completion percentage, 4.9 yards per pass attempt).
My Free Pick
Love the under here on NFL lines. Give the points, although I’d look for an alternate line of 6.5.