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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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SAN DIEGO — Unhappy with his team’s effort on the first day of mandatory minicamp, Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said players need to improve over the next two days of practice.

“We just looked sluggish,” Lynn said. “We committed some fouls — things that get you beat. Things we haven’t done all offseason.”

Lynn went on to say the mistakes are correctable, but he wants to stop the poor play now before one bad practice turns into two. Lynn wouldn’t bite when asked what he told players after practice.

“I probably can’t say that on camera,” Lynn said.

“One thing we’ve found out early on from Coach Lynn is that he’s matter of fact, to the point,” said Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers of new coach Anthony Lynn, above. Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports
However, quarterback Philip Rivers said he appreciates Lynn holding players accountable.

“One thing we’ve found out early on from Coach Lynn is that he’s matter of fact, to the point,” Rivers said. “We have to bounce back this afternoon, have a good walkthrough and have a better day tomorrow.”

Forrest Lamp, Dan Feeney work with starters: For the first time during an offseason practice open to reporters, second-round selection Forrest Lamp and third-rounder Dan Feeney worked with the starting offense line. Lamp saw time at right guard in place of Kenny Wiggins and Feeney at center with the first group in place of Spencer Pulley. Lynn said he wanted to get a look at different offensive line rotations up front. “We don’t want those guys to be jack of all trades, master of nothing,” Lynn said. “But right now, we’re just looking at different combinations before we get to training camp.”

Melvin Ingram arrives at camp: Fresh off his new deal, edge-rusher Melvin Ingram jumped right in and got some work with the starters during team drills on the first day of minicamp. The Chargers placed the franchise tag on Ingram in February, and he had been working out in Florida until he signed his new deal this week. Ingram appeared to be in good shape. “I feel like nothing is different, you just have to come out and play football,” Ingram said about signing his new contract, a four-year, $66 million deal that includes $42 million in guaranteed money. “I just love (DC Gus Bradley’s) energy. Just the way he comes out. He’ll put a smile on your face because he’s coming out with a smile on his face. He just wants to be successful and I think all of us want to do that. When we combine everything together, I think we have a great chance of doing that.”

Injury update: CB Jason Verrett (knee), CB Casey Hayward (ankle), S Darrell Stuckey (unknown), WR Mike Williams (back), WR Dontrelle Inman (core muscle surgery), DE Chris Landrum (unknown), DE Chris McCain (ankle) and DL Caraun Reid (knee) did not practice on Tuesday. Lynn said that Williams is just resting his back with the hope that the injury will calm down so he can begin rehab. Williams suffered a minor disk herniation that forced the Clemson product to miss the rest of offseason workouts.