There's a good reason the NFL picked the Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs showdown as the first Amazon Prime Video game.
This is one of the marquee games of the season. Both teams could be among the NFL's best, with great rosters around fantastic young quarterbacks. They've also brought out the best in each other. Two of the last four meetings were decided in overtime and another was a Chargers win decided in the final minute of regulation.
The Chiefs are a 4-point favorite with a total of 54 at BetMGM. The line has bounced around a bit, from -3.5 to -4.5 before settling back at -4.
If you were one of the many who was touting the Chargers as a big breakout pick all offseason (I count myself among them), then that +4 should look pretty good.
The Chargers have done pretty well against the Chiefs. Last season they won at Kansas City on a last-minute touchdown by Mike Williams, then lost an overtime thriller at home to the Chiefs. In 2020, Justin Herbert's first career start was an overtime loss to the Chiefs. They've competed well against Kansas City.
The Chiefs looked as good as ever when they destroyed the Arizona Cardinals 44-21 last week. The offense was fantastic. It's hard to go against them. It's even harder since Chargers receiver Keenan Allen was ruled out with a hamstring injury (though the Chiefs will be without kicker Harrison Butker, which shouldn't be ignored).
But if the Chargers are going to be the team that was hyped up all offseason, even as a reasonable Super Bowl sleeper pick, they should cover a 4-point spread. If they really want to be taken seriously as an AFC West contender, they'll win straight up. They're capable of it, with standout player on both sides of the ball.
Picking the Chargers could look bad by halftime if the Chiefs offense looks like it did in Week 1, but I'll take Los Angeles as a 4-point underdog and on the moneyline (+170) as well. At very least, it should be a really fun game.
Here's the first look at the sports betting slate for Thursday.
How about some props for Chargers-Chiefs?
Last week's calls on Allen Robinson II props didn't work out well, but let's try again. The ball was spread around by the Chargers in Week 1, but I have no hesitation backing Josh Palmer this week. He'll be the direct replacement for Keenan Allen in two-receiver sets and get close to full-time snaps with Justin Herbert throwing him the ball. I'll take Palmer first touchdown (+1500), anytime touchdown (+250), over yards (46.5) and also a little bit on over receptions (4.5 at +115 odds). He's in a great spot. I also don't mind Gerald Everett over 40.5 yards in an Allen-less offense (if you want to take Mike Williams over 65.5 yards I get it, but he's hard to trust game to game).
I'll also go with under 68.5 combined rushing and receiving yards for Clyde Edwards-Helaire. The Chiefs have two other interesting backs in Jerick McKinnon and rookie Isiah Pacheco, who could take away some work after a strong debut last week, and it might be a pass-heavy shootout.
Possible WNBA clincher
Game 3 of the WNBA Finals is up against Chargers-Chiefs, which is weird scheduling, but it could end up being a championship clincher. The Las Vegas Aces lead the Connecticut Sun 2-0 in the best-of-five series. The Sun are small 1.5-point favorites for Game 3.
There are 8 MLB games
About half of MLB plays on Thursday, with the Chicago White Sox vs. Cleveland Guardians highlighting the slate. The Guardians are +125 underdogs. That game, and a good Tampa Bay Rays-Toronto Blue Jays game, take place during the afternoon. The Blue Jays are -145 favorites. That will pass the time until the NFL game kicks off.
What's the best bet?
It should be pretty clear but I'm going with the Chargers and the points as my top play. That line has been 4.5 this week and maybe that line will flash again before kickoff. Keep an eye out for it.