Note: If you're looking for the 2013 Week 17 matchup between these teams, please go here: Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers Pick.
San Diego Chargers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs Kansas City Chiefs (1-2 SU, 1-2 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date/Time: September 30th, 1:00 PM EST
Where: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
by Jeff Hochman, Pro Handicapper, JHSportsline.com
Point Spread: SD -1.5/KC +1.5
Over/Under Total: 44
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Longtime AFC West division rivals meet in this crucial week four match-up. Each team is coming off very different outcomes last week. After getting off to a sharp 2-0 SU and ATS start, the wheels fell off for the San Diego Chargers in a 27-3 ugly loss to the Falcons last week. The Chargers turned the ball over four times and couldn't get anything going on the ground or in the passing game. The Chargers were out-gained by 104 yards and only had 15 First-downs, compared to 25 for Atlanta. Philip Rivers had just 173 passing yards and two interceptions. As for the Kansas City Chiefs, they upset the Saints 27-24 as 9-point road underdogs. What's more impressive was the fact that the Chiefs out-gained the Saints by 222 yards. Jamaal Charles ran wild for 233 yards on 33 carries and Matt Cassel did just enough in the passing game.
Both teams have played the Falcons and both teams lost straight-up and ATS. The Chiefs out-gained Atlanta by 17 yards while the Chargers were out-gained as mentioned above. The key in this game will be the Chiefs run offense against the stingy Chargers' run defense. San Diego is allowing just 67.3 yards per game but this will be their first true test. The Chiefs use multiple formations in the running game with Jamaal Charles leading the way. Kansas City has a lot of success when play-action passing off a successful running game. Look for this early in the game as the Chargers are nicked up in the secondary.
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In six career games against San Diego, Charles has 46 carries, 273 yards, and two Touchdowns. While he does not average a lot of yards per game, Charles is at 5.9 yards per attempt vs. the lightning bolts. Jamaal averages 6.0 yards per carry for his career which is currently fifth best all-time in NFL history. The real key for the Chiefs is stopping All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates. That's because in 14 career games Gates has 77 receptions, 952 yards, and 12 touchdown receptions. Kansas City has not allowed a TE to gain 100 yards in over three years. Not everything has gone the Chiefs way though. Starting center Rodney Hudson broke a bone in his leg on Sunday and was put on injured reserve. Guard Ryan Lilja will slide over and start at center, with rookie Jeff Allen taking Lilja's spot at guard. This could be a huge factor so keep an eye on it.
In 14 meetings at Kansas City, the Chargers are just 3-10-1 ATS. Last season, each team won outright at home but the Chiefs went 2-0 ATS. Kansas City has been playing good football although the records might not show it. The Chiefs are a solid 8-2 ITS (in the stats) in their last 10 games, but are just 5-5 SU and 4-6 ATS. The Chargers are 3-7 ITS in their last 10 but have gone 7-3 SU and 7-3 ATS. You can see which team has won the turnover battle as well as Superior special teams. The Chargers will bring in the better defense, but the Chiefs have been much better on Special teams.
This is a tough game to handicap as both sides are dealing with key injuries. I am always hesitant of backing the Chargers early in seasons. That's because San Diego has had a penchant for mediocre starts since Norv Turner took over in 2007 as the team is 19-20 in September and October and 32-12 in November and beyond. It seemed those early issues were a thing of the past after they out-scored Oakland and Tennessee by a combined 60-24. Instead, the Chargers committed four costly turnovers against the Falcons and were held to their lowest point total in Turner's tenure. Most people will play the Chargers just based on that stat alone. The home team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings. The Chiefs are a bankrolling 17-4-1 ATS as a home dog during the first four weeks of the season.
Jeff's Pick to Cover the Spread: Kansas City Chiefs +1.5 & Over 44
Tough game, but I will lean to the home team just based on historical data. The Under is 4-0 last four meetings and taking the Over is more of a contrarian play on my part. Not a game I will be using for my customers though. Proceed with caution.
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