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The Kansas City Chiefs own the recent rivalry with the Los Angeles Chargers, winning the last eight meetings in a row straight up and going 6-2 against the spread. Can Kansas City make it nine in a row when the teams open their seasons Sunday afternoon in suburban Los Angeles?

NFL point spread: The Chargers opened as three-point favorites; the total was 47.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)

NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 27.9-14.5 Chargers (NFL picks on every game)

Check out the OddsShark podcast on iTunes or at OddsShark.libsyn.com for more odds information, betting picks and a breakdown of this week’s top sports betting news.
Why the Chiefs can cover the spread

Kansas City finished 10-6 last season both SU and ATS and won the AFC West, before getting upset by Tennessee in a wild-card round playoff game. The Chiefs started 5-1 last year, inexplicably lost six of their next seven but won their last four to clinch their playoff spot.

Over the offseason Kansas City made a big move, trading away quarterback Alex Smith, choosing to now move forward with young slinger Patrick Mahomes.

The Chiefs averaged 375 yards per game last year on offense while allowing 365 YPG on defense. So they ranked 12th in the league in total yardage at plus-10 per game.

Finally, Kansas City swept two games from the Chargers last season by scores of 24-10 and 30-13. The Chiefs covered that first game as three-point favorites at home, then covered as one-point favorites on the road.
Why the Chargers can cover the spread

Los Angeles finished 9-7 SU and 8-7-1 ATS last season, and just missed the playoffs. The Chargers got off to their typical slow start again last year, losing their first four games, and later sat at just 3-6. They then won six of their last seven but fell victim to a playoff tiebreaker.

Los Angeles averaged 377 YPG on offense last year while allowing 328 YPG on defense. So the Chargers ranked sixth in the NFL in total yardage at plus-49 YPG.

Los Angeles lost twice to Kansas City last year, but both those games were closer than those final scores might indicate. The Chargers only trailed that first meeting by a touchdown late in the game, before the Chiefs iced it with a score with just over two minutes to go. And Los Angeles actually led that second meeting 13-10 late into the third quarter before allowing the last 20 points.
Smart betting pick

The Chargers begin this season with heightened expectations, but those can sometimes be a heavy burden. Meanwhile, the Chiefs might be starting a youngster at quarterback, but he’s got a nice arsenal of weapons to work with on offense. Smart money bets KC plus the points.

NFL betting trends

The Chiefs are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games against the Chargers.

The total has gone under in six of the Chiefs’ last eight games against the Chargers.

The Chiefs are 7-3 SU and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games on the road in September.

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What an incredible win the Chargers had over the weekend against the Buffalo Bills.
Time to move on.
With the team kicking off again in less than 72 hours, the Bolts have no choice but to move on to a pivotal game Thursday against the Dallas Cowboys. Back in the playoff hunt, the Chargers have an opportunity to narrow that gap in front of a national audience on Thanksgiving Day.
“We’re not way out of the division and not way out of the hunt,” Philip Rivers said. “That’s exciting and encouraging. It shouldn’t be hard to keep us focused on the task at hand….You have to quickly forget about that and just be fired up that we still have everything in front of us. There’s obviously no room for any more hiccups, but excited about the opportunity ahead.”
“We made a point of emphasis after the game yesterday to move on to Dallas,” stated Head Coach Anthony Lynn. “So the staff has been focused on the Cowboys.”

Knowing they had a short week to prepare, the coaching staff actually got a head start preparing for Dallas during the bye week. However, the Cowboys have played two games since then, so much work is still needed to be done.
“Just the film study, we did some of that on the bye week,” the head coach continued. “The Cowboys have played a couple games since then, so it’s catch up on the film and comparing their personnel to ours, trying to find the matchups we want. Things like that. It’s a lot of film study. That’s what it is. You don’t have time to go back and evaluate (our Bills) game. That’s a half a day. We’ll do that this following weekend.”
At the same time, Lynn admitted the Chargers’ own game plan will be tailored due to the quick turnaround.
“You have to make sure you don’t do too much on a short week like this. The plays that go on better be the ones that count because you better make sure you have enough bullets when you go out and play on Thursday night. That’s the most challenging part.”
While the players would like nothing more than to celebrate a monumental win, they agree that they have fought too hard to get back into the hunt to get complacent.
As Rivers noted, the chance to rattle off two wins in a span of five days is an opportunity they must take advantage of. Number 17 isn’t a huge believer in momentum, but admits it does play a factor when two games are this close together.
“I don’t believe in the momentum thing, but hopefully that can kind of catapult us to Thursday and then we can keep staying in that flow,” Philip Rivers said.

That’s especially the case when the team finally was able to get into a groove offensively.
“For one, it’s nice to finally score over 24 points in a game. I know we haven’t been in a season ever here through nine weeks where we didn’t score more than 24 points. That was the part that was eating me alive. You see all those opponents’ scores the last nine weeks and see us only having three wins. That’s the part offensively where I felt a little bit like we’re letting our defense down. Here they are holding them to under 24 almost every week and we’re winning three games. I think from that standpoint, it’s nice to see 54 up there. That’s not something we expect every week obviously, but I think that was good for us. We got Keenan going and Hunter got a catch early and we got going a little bit. I think that can (carry over).”
Playing in a condensed timeframe is a whole new experience for the team’s rookie class.
“That’s why I was in early today, getting my body ready to go, because usually we have today to kind of recover, and then Tuesday as well,” Austin Ekeler acknowledged. “I’m definitely still sore from the game and feeling that, and this week we’re playing on Thursday. Just make sure I do all of my recovery, get it all in to make sure I’m as ready as I can be by then.”