Thursday Night Football this week features another top-tier matchup between teams with Super Bowl aspirations in 2022. The Los Angeles Chargers travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face their division rival, the Kansas City Chiefs after both teams began their seasons with victories in Week 1.
Los Angeles narrowly defeated the Las Vegas Raiders at home in a game where neither team’s offense was as effective as anticipated. Kansas City won in Arizona last week in dominating fashion, out-gaining the Cardinals by more than 200 yards and scoring 44 points thanks to five touchdown passes from Patrick Mahomes.
The Chargers defeated the Chiefs in their Week 3 matchup in Kansas City last season thanks to their four takeaways on defense. 54 points were scored in that contest, the same number that is the point total this week.
Kansas City is currently a 3.5-point favorite to start the week. We’ll dig deeper into this matchup to offer this week’s player prop best bets for Thursday Night Football.
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H2H Passing Yards: Mahomes -140 OVER Herbert
Mahomes’ passing yard total is currently being offered at 303.5 yards, 21 yards greater than Herbert’s expected total. While the overreaction to Week 1 can be argued here, there’s more to it than the fact that Mahomes dominated the Cardinals on the road and Herbert looking somewhat average against the Raiders at home.
Herbert will likely play in Kansas City on Thursday without top receiver Keenan Allen, who exited the Chargers’ Week 1 game after suffering a hamstring injury. Wide receivers that experience a setback like that would not be expected to be ready to travel for a Thursday game, especially since it’s so early in the season.
With Mahomes having his full arsenal of talent against Herbert’s understaffed bunch, we like Mahomes to pour on the yards in this one.
Juju Smith-Schuster OVER 52.5 Receiving Yards
Juju was the top-targeted Chiefs player not named Travis Kelce last week, getting eight looks from Mahomes and hauling in six of those for 79 yards. The main blemishes on Smith-Schuster’s Week 1 performance were two fumbles, one of which was recovered by Arizona.
With Derwin James likely to shadow Kelce, that could leave Juju some room to get behind a Charger defense that gave up 410 passing yards to Mahomes in their second matchup last season.
Austin Ekeler OVER 4.5 Receptions
Ekeler struggled out of the gate last week on the ground, managing just 36 yards on 14 carries against a formidable Raiders front seven. He also garnered four targets and caught all of them for 36 yards through the air, including his longest play of the day which was a 13-yard reception.
Ekeler caught 10 total passes in the Chargers’ two games against the Chiefs in 2021, both in games where Keenan Allen played. With his absence looking more likely by the day, we see Ekeler in a position to catch more check downs from Herbert than his usual dose against a Chiefs defense that is better than public perception.