The Los Angeles Chargers are set to host the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL regular-season. Kickoff is set for 4:05 EST at the StubHub Center and will be televised locally on CBS.
Oddsmakers currently have the Chargers listed as a 3.5-point home favorite with the total set at 48 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 1 betting schedule, which includes game odds and links to our previews.
Vegas NFL Betting Preview & Game Odds: Chiefs vs Chargers
The Chiefs are coming off a 10-6 season, where they secured their second straight AFC West title. It was an up and down season for KC, who took the league by storm with their 5-0 start, which included wins over both the Patriots and Eagles. Then came an ugly 1-5 stretch before the rebounded to win their last 4.
Their season ended with an ugly 21-22 loss at home to the Titans in the Wild Card round. Kansas City had a 21-3 lead at the half and were up double-digits (21-10) going into the 4th quarter. That loss marked the end of the Alex Smith era, as the Chiefs traded away their starting quarterback to make room for last year’s first round pick Patrick Mahomes. If he’s as good as advertised, KC is going to be a legit contender in the AFC.
The Chargers are coming off a 9-7 campaign, which many viewed as a success, given the team started the season out 0-4. However, it was another missed opportunity for Los Angeles, who has now missed the playoffs 4 straight years and 7 of the last 8 overall.
Regardless of what this team hasn’t been able to accomplish, there’s a ton of people who think the Chargers are the team to beat in the AFC West this year. Getting a win over KC at home would go a long way to proving those people right, as they have lost 8 straight meetings against the Chiefs.
Free NFL Pick & Betting Predictions: Chiefs +3.5
I would have to lean towards taking the points here with Kansas City. I’ve already mentioned the fact that the Chiefs have won 8 straight in the series, they are also 16-1 in their last 17 division games overall.
Sure all of those wins came with Alex Smith at quarterback, but I’m on the Mahomes bandwagon and believe he’s a massive upgrade at the most important position on the field. Not to mention, the biggest reason Smith had success in KC was Andy Reid’s offense. Not to mention some pretty good skill players.
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I think with the addition of Sammy Watkins and Mahomes now under center, the Chiefs are going to feature one of the best offenses in the NFL for 2018. I know people like this Chargers defense, but I got my concerns.
They won’t have starting defensive tackle Corey Liuget (suspended first 4 games) or starting corner Jason Verett (IR). Verett’s replacement, Trevor Williams, is questionable with an ankle injury and while Joey Bosa is expected to play, he didn’t take a snap in the preseason because of a foot injury. I also don’t know that LA did enough to really improve their 31st ranked run defense (131.1 ypg) from last year.
I think the biggest thing that is scaring people off the Chiefs, besides the unkown of Mahomes, is no one really knows how the defense is going to hold up. They certainly didn’t look good in the preseason, but I got a lot of confidence in KC’s defensive coorindator Bob Sutton. I also think that while they lost a great player in corner Marcus Peters, the overall strength of the defense was improved, especially up front.
The key for me and whether or not his play makes it as a premium pick will likely be the status of safety Eric Berry. He was lost for the year after Week 1 and he’s the one guy they can’t be without. Even if Berry doesn’t play, I still think there’s a good chance KC wins this game in a shootout. Give me the Chiefs and those 3.5 points.