Kansas City @ LA Chargers
Wager: KC -3.5
Cover Probability: 51.55%
Cover Edge: -1.58%
Kansas City Chiefs: (Week 12 bye)
-LT Eric Fisher (groin) was injured in practice the Friday before week 2 and was INACTIVE weeks 3 – 10. He is practicing in full and could potentially return.
-RT Mitchell Schwartz (knee) was injured week 10. He was limited in practice on Thursday and Friday.
-RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle) was injured week 8 and INACTIVE weeks 9 and 10. He is practicing in full and could potentially return.
-DE Alex Okafor (ankle) was injured week 8 and INACTIVE weeks 9 and 10. He’s not practicing at all so far. He’s likely out.
-CB Kendall Fuller (hand) was injured week 6 and INACTIVE weeks 7 – 10. He is practicing in full and could potentially return.
IR: LB Breeland Speaks (MCL), DE Emmnuel Ogbah (pectoral), DT Xavier Williams (ankle)
Los Angeles Chargers: (Week 12 bye)
-LT Russell Okung (groin) was injured week 10. He’s not practicing at all and is therefore unlikely to play.
-RT Sam Tevi (knee) was injured week 9 and INACTIVE week 10. He’s not practicing at all and is therefore unlikely to play.
-DT Justin Jones (shoulder) was INACTIVE weeks 7 – 10. He is practicing in full and could potentially return.
-S Derwin James (foot) is on IR. Per Adam Schefter on 11/7, James will return after the week 12 bye week.
-S Roderic Teamer (groin) is INACTIVE weeks 9 and 10. He was limited on Thursday and practiced in full on Friday.
IR: CB Trevor Williams (quad), S Adrian Phillips (forearm)
Quick model note: Technically, this game has a negative cover edge. This means the model expects the Chiefs to cover, but the probability isn’t high enough to overcome the vig. The issue is this game is being played in Mexico, and the model thinks it’s being played in LA. Therefore, the model is incorrectly assigning home field advantage to the Chargers — this is something we’ll get corrected in the future, but for now we’re just making manual adjustments.
Spread breakdown: The spread opened at 3 before quickly being bet up to 4.5. It then moved back down to 3.5, where the model grabbed it Tuesday night. It now sits at 4. There really isn’t a huge difference between a 3.5 and 4 point spread, so I’d still be ok with betting in if you’re seeing 4 at your book. Hopefully you’re smart and got your bet in early.
When Kansas City has the ball
Ah, the Chiefs offense. I haven’t had the pleasure of writing about them since week 6, which is way too fucking long. Pat Mahomes scared the football world by first injuring his ankle, then dislocating his kneecap week 7. He then sat out two games and came back week 10, looking like the same old Mahomes. Against an impressive Titans defense, Mahomes completed 72% of his passes, averaged 8.9 yards per attempt, totaled 446 yards, 3 TDs, and 0 picks. Perhaps an underrated part of the knee injury was it gave his ankle a chance to properly heal, and now Mahomes says he feels better as healthy as he’s felt all season. Watch out, football world. Pat Mahomes is fucking back.
And the rest of the offense is healthy too. Tyreek Hill hurt his shoulder week 1 and didn’t play football again until week 6, and he’s back to playing his normal full-time workload. He’s totaled over 140 yards in each of his last two games. Travis Kelce is neck and neck with George Kittle as the top receiving tight end in football, and Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman are playing complimentary roles. Their offensive line has been fine overall — but they could get back LT Eric Fischer (hasn’t played since week 2) and RG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (injured week 8). RT Mitchell Schwartz is a legit top 5 tackle in all of football — he was injured last week, but is practicing this week (albeit in a limited fashion) and certainly has a chance to play. The Chiefs have battled injuries, but they’re getting healthy at the right time. It’s hard to call anybody else the top offense in football (sorry, Cowboys and Ravens fans).
On defense, the Chargers have been pretty freakin terrible this year. They rank 26th in DVOA, with splits of 21st against the pass and 26th against the run. Just a bunch of suck all around. Their pass rush is at least somewhat decent, with Joey Bosa being one of the top edge defenders in all of football. Melvin Ingram has missed some time this season, but he’s fully healthy and makes for a fantastic 1-2 punch with Bosa. Their secondary, however, has been poor outside of Casey Hayward Jr. Losing safety Derwin James before the season started ended up being a massive blow. Their run defense — as you can see by their 26th DVOA ranking, is just flat out poor. They don’t have anybody on the interior or at linebacker that contributes to defending the run in a positive way.
When the Chargers have the ball:
The Chargers offense, on the other hand, does contribute toward winning football games. Phil Rivers may be old as shit, he may have to raise 9 kids, and he may have spent his last 14 years getting crushed every Sunday by the most impressive athletes on the planet, but he certainly doesn’t play like it. On the season, Rivers is completing 65.9% of his passes, good for 7.7 YPA, 14 TDs, and 10 picks. He’s sitting at an impressive 10th in Football Outsiders DYAR stat. His only issues so far have been turnovers.
Maybe we can blame some of those interceptions on his offensive line, which is one of the worst in all of football — particularly from a pass protection perspective. Rivers does, however, have very good receiving options between slot WR Keenan Allen, TE Hunter Henry, RB Austin Ekeler, and WR Mike Williams. Since returning from his silly hold out, Melvin Gordon has resumed duties as being the top option out of the backfield. The Chargers still rank 23rd in rushing DVOA. Don’t pay your running backs, guys.
The part that worries me about this bet is the Chiefs defense, which has done ridiculous things like give up 35 points to Ryan fucking Tannehill and the Titans offense. Much like last year, what specifically kills the Chiefs is their ridiculously terrible run defense — they currently rank 5th in pass defense DVOA, but 31st against the run. Their strategy is generally to start fast — let Mahomes chuck the rock all over the field, hoping to get out to a big lead and not allow the other team to exploit their run defense. What works for us is the Chiefs shouldn’t have an issue doing that — and even though the Chargers have Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler, their offensive line is 5 revolving doors, so the Chiefs hopefully won’t look quite as much like the dog shit they actually are.
I mentioned earlier the Chiefs 5th ranked pass defense, which is worthy of a shout out. Their pass rush is lead by DT Chris Jones, who would probably be a household name if it wasn’t for Aaron Donald. They did lose their #2 pass rusher, Emmanuel Ogbah, to a torn pec last game. Behind Ogbah is Frank Clark, who started out horribly slow but has played better in recent weeks. Their defensive backfield has been filled with a bunch of guys all playing OK, but they could get back CB Kendall Fuller, who has missed the last 3 games with a hand injury.
Here’s to Mahomes throwing bombs at high altitude.
That’s it for now, bitches.