LA Chargers (10-3) at Kansas City (11-2)
When: Thursday, December 13th 2018
Where: Arrowhead Stadium,
Kansas City, Missouri
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Kansas City -3.5/56.5
The final Thursday Night game of the season could very well be the best and most important, as the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs battle for a potential AFC West Division crown and the conference’s top seed. Both teams may have been looking ahead to this matchup with unimpressive home victories this past weekend. The Chiefs needed overtime to hold off the Baltimore Ravens and clinch a postseason berth, while the Chargers edged out the lowly Cincinnati Bengals 26-21 as 14-point home favorites. Kansas City would wrap up the West with a win Thursday and is in great position for home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs. The Chiefs could lose this game and still claim the division because it won at the Chargers in Week 1, 38-28. In that game, Chiefs second-year QB Patrick Mahomes went off for 256 yards and four touchdowns. Tyreek Hill caught two of them and also returned a punt 91 yards for a score. The Chargers outgained the Chiefs 541-256 but turned the ball over twice. The Chiefs have won the past nine in this series and covered the past four. Both New England and Houston lost last week, so K.C. is now two games clear of both for the AFC’s top seed and are 12-3 ATS in its past 15 AFC West games.
There’s a good chance that Los Angeles could again be without Melvin Gordon, who has 13 total touchdowns despite missing the past two games. The star running back told reporters Tuesday that he expects to be a game-day decision. Backup Austin Ekeler sustained a neck injury and concussion in Sunday’s win over Cincinnati and is not expected to be ready on short rest. The running game will then fall in the hands of rookies Justin Jackson and Detrez Newsome. Quarterback Philip Rivers is third in the league in passer rating (114.5) and has thrown for 29 touchdowns against six interceptions this season. He has connected with star wide receiver Keenan Allen with a touchdown in five straight games and both could play huge roles without a reliable running game. The defense ranks eighth overall (331.8 yards) and seventh in points allowed at 20.8.
Kansas City’s offense has taken a hit with the sudden release of star running back Kareem Hunt two weeks ago, but Mahomes continues to supply highlight reel stuff and leads the NFL with 43 touchdown passes, including late scoring strikes in each of the past two games. Even the best offenses can only withstand so many key injuries and the status of wide receiver Hill (foot) is up in the air, while the Chiefs are expected to be without running back Spencer Ware (shoulder/hamstring). Kansas City’s defense ranks 30th in total yards and is last against the pass (281.8 yards). Defensive end Chris Jones has at least one sack in nine consecutive games, the longest single-season streak since 1982.
There’s a lot of key questions regarding the health of star players from each team, which would probably make this a better game if were on a Sunday. I’m sticking with the Thursday night/home team trend here. Its really hard for road teams to get prepared with travel and short-rest and it gives them a big disadvantage. Plus, the home team here is pretty good. I say Chiefs roll.
Pick: Chiefs -3.5
- Chargers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 road games.
- Chargers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Thursday games.
- Chargers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss.
- Chargers are 15-7 ATS in their last 22 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- Chargers are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games in December.
- Chiefs are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Chiefs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 15.
- Chiefs are 4-1-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Chiefs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Chiefs are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 vs. AFC West.
- Chiefs are 11-4 ATS in their last 15 vs. AFC.
- Chiefs are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Chiefs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Chiefs are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous game.
- Chiefs are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games overall.
- Chiefs are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 games on grass.
- Under is 6-0 in Chargers last 6 games in Week 15.
- Under is 8-1 in Chargers last 9 vs. AFC West.
- Under is 4-1 in Chargers last 5 Thursday games.
- Under is 4-1 in Chargers last 5 vs. AFC.
- Under is 4-1 in Chargers last 5 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Under is 20-6-1 in Chargers last 27 games in December.
- Under is 5-2 in Chargers last 7 games overall.
- Under is 35-16-1 in Chargers last 52 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 4-0 in Chiefs last 4 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game.
- Over is 3-0-1 in Chiefs last 4 vs. AFC.
- Over is 4-1-1 in Chiefs last 6 games overall.
- Over is 4-1 in Chiefs last 5 Thursday games.
- Over is 4-1-1 in Chiefs last 6 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 4-1-1 in Chiefs last 6 games on grass.
- Over is 4-1 in Chiefs last 5 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 3-1-1 in Chiefs last 5 vs. AFC West.
- Under is 24-8 in Chiefs last 32 games after allowing more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Over is 3-1-1 in Chiefs last 5 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Under is 11-4 in Chiefs last 15 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
- Under is 7-3 in Chiefs last 10 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Under is 48-21-1 in Chiefs last 70 home games.
- Road team is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
- Chargers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 meetings.