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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Los Angeles Chargers Prediction,
Preview,
and Odds - 9-20-2020

Game Snapshot with Current Line

#285 Kansas City
Chiefs -8.5
#286 Los Angeles
Chargers 8.5

Sunday, September 20, 2020 at 4:25pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

The Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs head West to take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon in the City of Angels. This will be the first division game for each team, as both teams are coming off wins in completely different fashions in week one. The Chiefs showed the world in primetime on Thursday in week one that last year was not a fluke. They dominated the Houston Texans, defeating them by a 34-20 score, covering the 9.5-point spread. The total went just barely over, as it was set at 53.5 points. The Chargers were three-point favorites heading into their game with the Cincinnati Bengals, and that’s exactly what they won by, 16-13. The total went way under, as the over/under was set at 41 points. The Chiefs won both meetings between these two teams last season, and Kansas City covered the spread in both games.

Line Movements

The Chiefs have gone from -5.6 up to -8.5 with the Chiefs snatching up 87% of the bets.

The OU Line has gone from 50.5 down to 47.5, despite the Over getting 56% of the bets.

Gametime Weather: Fixed-Roof

Rookies impress as Chiefs win big

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes may have an MVP Award and a Super Bowl victory under his belt in his young career, but it was a pair of rookies that led the Chiefs to their first win of the season last Thursday. The most eagerly-awaited debut was that of running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and he did not disappoint. The first-round draft pick out of LSU rushed for a league-best 138 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries in week one. His 25 carries was the second-highest total in the first week of the NFL season. Fourth-round pick L’Jarius Sneed was pressed into action at the cornerback position, starting in place of Bashaud Breeland, who is serving a four-game suspension. Sneed got the first interception of his career, which set up the Chiefs' final touchdown, and also broke up a couple of passes and had three tackles in the game. Four other rookies got playing time for Kansas City, including undrafted punter Tommy Townsend, who had an average of over 45 yards on his three punts.

“The biggest thing in training camp is you don't always get to see the hitting aspect, whether a guy is easy to tackle or whether he's brought down easy," said tight end Travis Kelce of the 5-foot-8, 209-pound Edwards-Helaire on espn.com. "That was shown [against the Texans]. He's a tough son-of-a-buck. For how tall he is, man, he's got the strength of somebody my size. He runs the ball like no one I've ever seen at that size, and it's fun to play with. It's infectious when you see him playing his tail off and running his tail off, you want to go out there and block for him and make plays as well."

Mahomes only threw for 211 yards in the game, but completed 75% of his passes and threw three touchdowns. Sammy Watkins was Mahomes’ favorite target in the first week, as he caught seven of the nine balls thrown his way for 82 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Tyreek Hill caught six and five passes, respectively, while each scored a touchdown for the Chiefs.

On the defensive side of the ball, Tyrann Mathieu led the team with eight tackles, including six solo tackles. Chris Jones had 1.5 sacks in the game, as the Chiefs had a total of four sacks. Kansas City only outgained the Texans by six yards, 377-371, but they played a pretty clean game, committing just one penalty and not turning the ball over. They also dominated the time of possession, keeping the ball for nearly 35 minutes of the game.

On the injury front, defensive end Alex Okafor is listed as questionable for the Chargers game with a hamstring strain, while cornerback Charvarius Ward (hand) and Khalen Saunders (elbow) are listed as doubtful. The Chiefs were excellent against the spread last season, going 14-5 (including the postseason), while covering the spread in each of their last nine games in 2020. The over-under was 10-9 last season.

Kansas City’s Injury Report

Out: DT Khalen Saunders, DB Charvarius Ward, and DE Alex Okafor

Chargers cramp Bengals style in week one

It took an improved defense, a timely penalty, and a leg cramp for the Los Angeles Chargers to come away with the victory over the Cincinnati Bengals in week one of the NFL season on Sunday. Bengals kicker Randy Bullock missed a 31-yard chip-shot field goal that would have tied the game and sent it into overtime with :02 left n the clock in regulation. His left leg cramped upon his approach, and the kick was missed badly. Just moments earlier, the Chargers had seemingly given up the lead, but an offensive pass interference call took a touchdown off the board, and Cincinnati had to settle for the field goal attempt. The Chargers did not play well in close games last season, as they were just 2-9 in games decided by one score.

“I was happy as hell when he missed the field goal," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said on espn.com. "It's hard to win a game in this league."

The Chargers week one game was the first time in 14 years that someone other than Phillip Rivers entered the season as the starting quarterback. Tyrod Taylor didn’t play especially well, but he didn’t do anything to lose the game for Los Angeles either. He completed just 16 of his 30 passes for 208 yards and zero touchdowns, but, more importantly, didn’t turn the ball over. He took care of the ball, and that’s what Los Angeles needed to win the game. Austin Ekeler had 84 yards rushing on 19 carries, while Joshua Kelley rushed for 60 yards and the only touchdown of the game for the Chargers. Hunter Henry led the team with five receptions for 73 yards.

On defense, the Chargers, who were last in the NFL in forcing turnovers last season, got two takeaways (one fumble, one interception). They held the Bengals to 295 total yards, 84 of which came on Cincinnati’s final drive. Casey Hayward, Jr. was the star on defense for Los Angeles. He recorded 12 solo tackles, which was the second-best total in the NFL in week one, and he had two passes defended.

The Chargers were not very good last season against the spread, going just 4-11-1. The over-under was 7-8-1 in Chargers games in 2019. Offensive linemen Trai Turner and Mike Pouncey, both of whom missed the opener, are listed as questionable for this week’s game, as is running back Justin Jackson, who hurt his quad on Sunday. Linebacker Drue Tranquill was placed on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury.

Los Angeles’ Injury Report

Doubtful: RB Justin Jackson

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

The Kansas City Chiefs are number one in ESPN’s power rankings heading into week two, and there is no indication that they will fall out of that spot after week two. Kansas City is just too talented of a team to not cover the spread against the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers 1-0 record is more about who they played than how they played. They just barely got passed the lowly Cincinnati Bengals in their week one game. The Chiefs had four sacks against a pretty good Houston Texans team, and if Offensive linemen Turner and Pouncey are still out of the lineup for the Chargers, the Chiefs will have a field day getting to Tyrod Taylor. Mahomes didn’t throw the ball down the field against the Texans because he didn’t have too. Rookie sensation Clyde Edwards-Helaire will begin to open things up for Mahomes in the passing game. Pick your poison. Do you stop the Super Bowl MVP or the league’s leading rusher? You can’t stop them both. Chiefs win in a rout.

Prediction: Kansas City -8.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The Los Angeles Chargers scored just 16 points in their win against Cincinnati, and that is nothing to get excited about. The Chargers did, however, play pretty good defense and forced a couple turnovers. Journeyman quarterback Tyrod Taylor did not impress in his first start for Los Angeles. He completed just over 50% of his passes, and the Chiefs have a much better defense than the Bengals do. Look for Kansas City to put some pressure on Taylor and get some sacks and/or interceptions in this game. The Chiefs will put up some points in this game, but they will hold the Chargers offense in check. With the running of Edwards-Helaire in their first game, the Chiefs held the ball for 10 more minutes than their opponent. They will get a repeat of that performance on Sunday, as they severely limit the Chargers scoring ability by playing keep away.

Prediction: Under 47

Doug Gilghrist

Doug has a Journalism degree from Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. He has been a passionate sports fan, especially Pittsburgh sports, for over 40 years. In his journalistic career, Doug has covered just about every sport imaginable and is now plying his trade for us here at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt. Doug has always been fascinated by numbers, especially as they relate to sports, so writing for this website is right up his alley.

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