Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs have won just two of their last six games but are 4-point favorites at this neutral site against the Chargers. From the first snap to the final whistle we break down our best bets for this AFC West battle.
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS VS LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (+4, 52.5)
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon looks to be back to his old self, displaying explosiveness over the last two games after rejoining the team midseason. Bolts head coach Anthony Lynn - a former NFL RB himself - said that Gordon would go back to being the lead back and he's lived up to that promise giving Gordon the majority of snaps in the backfield, especially in the red zone.
Kansas City has one of the worst first-quarter defenses in the league, allowing 7 points per game in the first 15 minutes. Gordon has scored a touchdown in each of his last four games, totaling 5 TDs in that span. We love the +700 payout for Gordon to score the first TD of the game.
PICK: First Touchdown Scorer Melvin Gordon +700
FIRST HALF BET
Kansas City has the second-best first-half offense in the league, scoring 17.4 ppg. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes has been especially dangerous in the first 30 minutes, with 1788 of his 2626 passing yards and 13 of his 18 passing TDs coming in the opening half.
KC's stop-unit gives up a generous 12.1 ppg in the first half and will be without two of their better defensive lineman in Emmanuel Ogbah (leading the team in sacks with 5.5) and Alex Okafor. Cornerback Kendall Fuller is listed as questionable after missing the last four games with a thumb injury.
Last year's game in Mexico City ended up being relocated to L.A. because the field was a disaster, so the league took steps to ensure that wouldn't happen again. Drainage was improved, a field consultant was hired, and no concerts have been scheduled at that location for the last few months.
There hasn't even been a soccer game at the stadium for two weeks and with no rain in the days leading up to Monday's game the surface should be in top condition. Don't worry about the surface on Monday night and take the 1H Over.
PICK: First Half Over 24.5
If you thought we were done with Melvin Gordon with our first bet of the day, you are wrong. Gordon has played very well in his last two games after offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt was fired. He had 20 carries for 80 yards against the Packers in Week 9 and 108 yards on 22 carries vs the Raiders last week.
The Chiefs are allowing 148.1 rushing yards per game (the second-worst number in the league) and 5.1 yards per carry (third-worst). Despite also having Austin Ekeler in the backfield the Chargers have shown that they want Gordon to be their workhorse, especially on running plays. Take the Over 70.5 on Gordon's rushing yards total.
PICK: Melvin Gordon Over 70.5 rushing yards
FULL GAME TOTAL
The Chiefs rank second in the league in offensive DVOA according to Football Outsiders and in the eight games that Mahomes has started they have put up 30 ppg. Unfortunately on the defensive side of the ball they give up 369.5 yards and 23.9 points per game. In their last three contests that number has ballooned to 29.7 ppg.
The Chargers allow the eighth-fewest points per game in the league (19.4) and the sixth-fewest yards per game (318.3). However, advanced stats show their defense is much worse than those numbers suggest. The Chargers rank just 26th in the league in defensive DVOA and they have a difficult time forcing turnovers, ranking 27th in takeaways.
In the second half, both defenses could get winded at the high elevation of Estadio Azteca - which at 7,200 feet above sea level is almost 2,000 feet higher than Mile High Stadium. There have been two games at this field within the last decade; in 2016, 27 of the 47 points between Oakland and Houston were scored in the second half while in 2017, 24 of 41 points between Oakland and New England were put up after halftime. Take the Over.
PICK: Over 52.5
FULL GAME SIDE
Kansas City has lost four of their last six games, but so have the Chargers. The Bolts are just 4-6 SU and 3-5-2 ATS this season and have failed to live up to their talent on many occasions.
While L.A. should be able to gain yards on the ground against the Chiefs poor run defense, their own pass defense could get burned through the air. The Chargers allow 7.3 yards per pass attempt (23rd in the league) and a whopping 71.7 completion percentage to opposing QBs (31st).
That's bad news against last year's MVP Mahomes who leads the league with 9 YPA. Expect Tyreek Hill (coming off back-to-back games of at least 140 receiving yards) and Travis Kelce to have big performances for the Chiefs on primetime.
We see this being a high-scoring game, and if that's the case L.A. simply won't be able to keep up with Kansas city if this turns into a track meet. Take the Chiefs to win and cover.
PICK: Kansas City -4
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