One of the least appetizing prime-time games of the season kicks off Week 9 on Thursday evening as the anemic Kansas City Chiefs travel west to take on the San Diego Chargers. Both teams have fallen way below expectations this season, and though the game looks awful on paper, it still allows us bettors a great opportunity to make some money headed into the weekend.
San Diego enters this contest with a mediocre 3-4 record, but they’ve lost their fair share of winnable contests. This is a team that is vastly underachieving at the moment, and one that looks lost in all facets of the game. Going against an equally abysmal side in the Chiefs should be a welcome sight for Norv Turner’s group. After last week’s listless outing against a pretty bad Cleveland team, expect a rejuvenated effort from the Chargers. If they are to make the post-season, and contend for the AFC West, they’ll need to start playing to their potential. On the injury front, Philip Rivers may be short-handed for targets on Thursday night as both Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem could miss the game with hamstring injuries. With a struggling offense already, that wouldn’t be good news for a lacklustre San Diego attack.
Conversely, the Chiefs can look across the field Thursday night and it would be akin to looking in a mirror. The Chiefs had playoff aspirations heading into 2012, but like San Diego, have vastly underachieved on the year. They enter this contest with a dismal 1-6 record, and have yet to hold a lead during game action this season. They’re the first team to accomplish that feat since 1940. Though they have mostly out-played opponents on the year, beating most foes in terms of total yardage, Kansas City is a mess in the red-zone, and simply turn the ball over far too much. Brady Quinn remains out for this contest, so Kansas City’s least popular man, Matt Cassel returns under centre. The Chiefs look hopeless at the moment right now and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say this is the NFL’s worst team. They’ll need a much better outing against a motivated San Diego side if they want this one to seem respectable.
Chiefs vs. Chargers Betting Odds:
Kansas City Chiefs +7.5 (-110)
@ San Diego Chargers -7.5 (-110)
Over 42.5 (-110)
Under 42.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Chiefs vs. Chargers Pick:
This is clearly a match-up between two heavily flawed teams. It seems preposterous to even consider backing one side in this one, especially considering the massive number you’d need to lay on a slightly more competent San Diego side. When two teams this dysfunctional square off, leaning to a low-scoring, sloppy encounter, seems like a decent proposition.
For Kansas City, the run game is the only thing they are capable of doing. Matt Cassel has only completed 59% of his passes on the season, while throwing 10 picks to just 6 touchdowns. Quite the brutal ratio, and when you consider his passer rating is just 69.0, it’s easy to see why Chiefs’ fans aren’t all that fond of the guy. Look for the Chiefs to turn to the run in this contest. One thing they do tend to thrive in is their ground game. Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis provide a solid 1-2 punch, and they should be able to do damage against a soft Chargers’ interior. A healthy dose of the run game will eat valuable clock time, and reduce the total amount of plays, both factors conducive to an Under wager.
Moreover, when these teams met back in Week 4, the Chargers’ defense was all over Matt Cassel. While this is by no means a sturdy defense, they penetrated the Kansas City backfield with ease, and didn’t allow the Chiefs to get in any sort of rhythm. Look for that to be duplicated Thursday night. The Chiefs are a mess and won’t be able to get much of anything going. They’ll be one-dimensional, and though their running plays may be somewhat effective, it won’t be enough to put big points on the board.
On the other hand, it’s not as if Philip Rivers and Co. are lighting up the world at the moment. Rivers has certainly regressed over the past two seasons, and without key targets in this game, the Chargers offense will look anything but charged on Thursday. After putting up just six measly points against a pretty soft Browns’ defense in Week 8, all kinds of questions are being asked in San Diego. The team is in a state of disarray, and mostly their offense. Though they should do enough to beat a brutal Kansas City team, don’t expect a lot of thrilling plays on Thursday night. This will be a low-scoring game, mired with sloppy football. Despite the fact that their earlier meeting flew over the total, their second encounter is an entirely different situation. Both squads seem less effective on the attack entering Week 9, and overall disinterested in taking the field. Something along the lines of a 20-13 score-line seems fitting for what surely won’t be a classic.
PICK = Under 42.5 (-110)