Free Expert NFL Picks: San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 12/23/2014
There are four games in Week 17 in which both teams still have playoff hopes or already have clinched. Sunday afternoon's matchup in Kansas City is one and will/could determine the AFC's final wild-card team as it's the only open spot left in the conference.
It's fairly straightforward for San Diego. If the Bolts pull off the minor upset, they are in the postseason for the second year in a row and will travel to the Pittsburgh/Cincinnati winner next week (assuming Denver beats Oakland). The Chargers, who won at Cincinnati in last year's wild-card game, also can clinch with a tie and a loss or tie by the Ravens, but come on.
Kansas City needs a win and losses by Baltimore at home vs. Cleveland and Houston at home against Jacksonville. So essentially the Chiefs are counting on rookies Connor Shaw (Browns) and Blake Bortles (Jaguars) to pull off huge road upsets. Sorry Chiefs fans, that's not going to happen. The first beneficiary of a Kansas City win would be Baltimore, which then would be in with a victory against the Browns.
On Bovada's Super Bowl odds , the Chiefs are 500/1 long shots with Houston, and San Diego is at 33/1. The Bolts are 16/1 to win the AFC.
Chargers at Chiefs Betting Story Lines
I am flat-out stunned that San Diego is in this position as entering Week 16 I didn't see this at all. I certainly thought the Bolts were toast when they were down 28-7 at halftime in San Francisco last Saturday night. No way the 49ers blow that, right? San Francisco was still up 35-21 with under six minutes left in the game. However, Philip Rivers hit Antonio Gates on a 21-yards score with 5:15 left. Then Rivers really worked his magic, completing two fourth-and-longs on the Chargers' final drive and tied the game with an 11-yard score to Malcom Floyd with 11 seconds left. Predictably, then the 49ers melted down. Phil Dawson was short on a 60-yard field goal at the end of regulation and Quinton Patton fumbled in overtime. The Bolts won it on Nick Novak's 40-yard field goal with 10:06 left in OT.
The 21-point rally was the tied for the second-largest in the NFL in a victory this season, and it was San Diego's biggest comeback win since 2006. It was just the second time in 49ers history they blew a lead of at least 21 points at halftime. Rivers finished 33 of 54 for 356 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. Pretty good numbers considering No. 1 running back Ryan Mathews and top receiver Keenan Allen were out with injuries.
Still, the Chargers have to be concerned defensively about allowing 35 points and a crazy 355 yards rushing to a San Francisco team with zilch to play for. San Diego got great news then on Sunday when Baltimore was upset in Houston, giving the Chargers control of their playoff destiny. Rivers, by the way, has a bulging disc in his back but certainly will play. That likely will require offseason surgery. Rivers is three TD passes shy of tying his career high of 34. He's also four interceptions shy of tying his career high of 20. Mathews might play in this game, Allen likely won't, and right guard Johnnie Troutman has been lost for the season.
Kansas City is in the midst of its second straight late-season fade under Andy Reid as it has lost four of five. The Chiefs will look back to that 24-20 loss at winless Oakland in Week 12 as the killer if they win this game and still miss the playoffs. The Raiders are also the only team K.C. has beaten in the past five.
The Chiefs lost 20-12 in Pittsburgh last Sunday and didn't score a touchdown despite Alex Smith throwing for a season high 311 yards. However, Kansas City was held to 39 yards rushing. Star running back Jamaal Charles was held to 29 -- had a costly lost fumble -- and he has just one 100-yard game all season. Kansas City doesn't have enough offensive weapons to win without Charles playing like an MVP candidate. By the way, Kansas City still doesn't have a touchdown catch from a receiver this year. That's unbelievable (tight end Travis Kelce has five as does Charles). The team's top receiver, Dwayne Bowe, is questionable for this game with a sprained shoulder. He has 57 catches for 724 yards and might not be back next year.
San Diego was a 3-point home favorite Week 7 against Kansas City and lost 23-20 to start a season-high three game skid. Smith led the game-winning drive, capped by Carlos Santos' 48-yard field goal with 21 seconds left. That was out of the bye for Kansas City. Smith threw for 221 yards and a TD. Charles had one of his better games with 95 yards rushing and a TD. The Chiefs held the ball for 39 minutes. Rivers threw for 205, two TDs and a pick.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs NFL Week 17 Betting Odds and Trends
At 5Dimes , Kansas City is a 2.5-point favorite (-120) with current alternate lines of 3 (+105) and 2 (-125). The Chiefs are -145 on the moneyline and the Chargers +125. The total is 42. San Diego is 7-8 against the spread (4-3 on road) and 7-8 "over/under" (4-3 on road). Kansas City is 9-6 ATS (5-2 at home) and 5-10 O/U (3-4 at home).
The Chargers are 8-1 ATS in their past nine road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The Bolts are 1-4 ATS in their past five after a win. They have failed to cover five straight vs. the AFC West. The Chiefs are 4-0 ATS in their past four after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game. K.C. is 7-3 ATS in its past 10 vs. the AFC. The under is 5-2 in the Chiefs' past seven after a loss. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs Expert Picks and Betting Predictions
Weather shouldn't be a major factor with temperatures around 37 and zero percent chance of snow/rain. I still don't buy San Diego winning in cold weather, even after last season's playoff victory in Cincinnati. Plus, I don't think Mathews plays and Allen is also a big loss. Give the 2.5 points as the Chiefs win, but Baltimore gets the final AFC postseason spot. Go under.
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