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Fading Patrick Mahomes against star-studded Chargers defense among top TNF prop bets

The Kansas City quarterback has historically struggled throwing the ball against division rival Los Angeles.

Action Network Use Only - Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) could struggle to hit his gaudy passing yardage prop against this elite Los Angeles Chargers defense. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/TNS)
Action Network Use Only - Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) could struggle to hit his gaudy passing yardage prop against this elite Los Angeles Chargers defense. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/TNS)Read moreThearon W. Henderson / MCT

It doesn’t get much better for prop bettors than Thursday’s matchup between the Chiefs and Chargers, who face off in a rematch of two epic duels from the 2021 season. Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert promise to put on a show in this one – but will they both post the gaudy stat totals that most expect?

Here are three of our favorite player props at BetMGM ahead of Thursday’s clash:

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Patrick Mahomes under 297.5 passing yards (-115)

Betting Mahomes’ over prop can sometimes feel like an automatic reflex, especially after his 360-yard performance in the season opener. That doesn’t mean he’s destined to hit the 300-mark in this one, though, against a team that’s played him as well as anyone.

The former MVP is averaging just 261 passing yards in seven career games against his division rival – his eighth-lowest mark against any opponent since he entered the league in 2017. He’s thrown for 260 yards or fewer in five of those seven games, including a 260-yard effort when these teams met at Arrowhead Stadium a year ago.

Los Angeles’ defense is even better now than it was then after adding star pass-rusher Khalil Mack and elite cornerback J.C. Jackson (ankle), who is a game-time decision on Thursday. Whether he plays or not, Mahomes should have a tough time hitting this total against one of the best pass defenses in the NFL.

Austin Ekeler over 4.5 receptions (-125)

The biggest news for this Chargers offense ahead of Thursday night is the loss of top receiver Keenan Allen (hamstring), who’s already been ruled out for Week 2. That creates a massive opportunity for Los Angeles’ dynamic pass-catching back to fill the void.

We already saw a similar scenario play out two years ago, when Ekeler led the team with six catches at Arrowhead Stadium with Allen on the sidelines. He finished with six catches once again in last year’s road tilt against the Chiefs in Week 3, one of eight games that season with at least five catches.

Ekeler has averaged 5.1 catches per game over the last four seasons and faces a Kansas City defense that allowed the fourth-most receptions last year to opposing running backs (6.4) and surrendered five catches to Arizona’s James Conner in Week 1. It’s time for Ekeler to eat, too.

Isiah Pacheco to score a touchdown (+350)

The safer play here would be a bet on starting running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire to score (-115), but it’s hard to ignore the value on the Chiefs’ No. 3 back, who excelled as a No. 1 option late in last week’s win over the Cardinals.

Sure, the lion’s share of his production came with the game out of reach, but the seventh-round pick still led the team in carries (12) and rushing yards (62) and boasted the team’s only rushing touchdown, for good measure. That comes on the heels of a superb preseason and training camp performance for the Rutgers product, who seems to be carving out a legitimate role in his rookie year.

There’s still a chance he cedes 75% of the carries to Edwards-Helaire and Jerick McKinnon (+350 to score), but I’ll gladly take a shot on Pacheco to continue his upward trajectory in this offense – especially in the red zone, where his size gives him a slight edge over his two backfield teammates. If he continues to steal carries from those two, this will look like a steal in hindsight.

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