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Don’t fall for Thursday’s sky-high high total between Chiefs, Chargers

Kansas City and Los Angeles both face tough tasks offensively in this star-studded divisional matchup.

Mecole Hardman (17) of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images/TNS)
Mecole Hardman (17) of the Kansas City Chiefs carries the ball against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images/TNS)Read moreJamie Squire / MCT

The last time we saw the Chiefs and Chargers face off, we were treated to an epic overtime thriller that totaled 62 points between these two juggernaut offenses.

Bettors are expecting a similar result in this Week 2 rematch, as this total has already been bet up to 54.5 at BetMGM, the highest mark of any game this season. Will these division rivals put on another fireworks show at Arrowhead Stadium?

Here’s how we’re betting Thursday night’s contest, which kicks off at 8:15 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime Video.

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Chiefs vs. Chargers Odds (via BetMGM)

  1. Chiefs -4 (-110), moneyline -200

  2. Chargers +4 (-110), moneyline +170

  3. O/U 54.5 (-110)

Chiefs vs. Chargers Analysis

Bettors are already flocking to the window to bet the over in this game, which opened with a total of “just” 52.5 points this summer before a flurry of activity in recent days bumped it a couple of points higher.

Is it warranted? Sure, these two offenses both finished in the top five in scoring last season, and Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert have looked like surefire MVP candidates through the first 60 minutes of the season. But let’s not get carried away and blindly bet the over, which is quietly only 1-2 in three meetings between these two superstar passers.

It’s tough to get to 55 points, which has only happened three times in Mahomes’ seven matchups with the rival Chargers. He’s struggled in those seven contests, too, averaging just 261 passing yards — his eighth-fewest against any opponent since he entered the league in 2017. Los Angeles’ defense is arguably the best it’s ever been in that stretch after landing standout pass-rusher Khalil Mack and cornerback J.C. Jackson this summer.

Jackson (ankle) sat out last week’s win over the Raiders, who threw three interceptions and also fumbled three times. It’s scary to imagine just how much better this defense could be with Jackson on the outside. His 24 interceptions lead the league since he was drafted in 2018, and his career passer rating allowed (42.0) as the nearest defender is also the best in that stretch.

» READ MORE: Who to pick and who to avoid in Week 2 of your NFL survivor pool

It’s not just Mahomes who faces a tough task on Thursday. Herbert was unsurprisingly efficient (279 yards, 3 TDs) in last week’s win over the Raiders, but his side scored just 24 points despite zero turnovers and a relatively clean game overall. Now this offense has to answer for the likely loss of Keenan Allen (hamstring), who seems like a long shot to play on short rest.

There used to be some sneaky value betting on the over with totals this inflated, but that’s all but disappeared in recent years. Since 2020, games with a total of at least 54.5 points have gone 23-15 to the under (60.5%), which includes a 10-6 record to the under (62.5%) in contests involving the Chiefs or Chargers. There are simply too many factors working against these two offenses to expect them to hit this lofty mark, even if that isn’t the popular play.

Chiefs vs. Chargers Pick

Under 54.5 (-110 BetMGM)

» READ MORE: Eagles Super Bowl odds among latest futures to drop after Week 1

The Inquirer is not an online gambling operator, or a gambling site. We provide this information about sports betting for entertainment purposes only.