Our expert's best player prop bets for Los Angeles Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football: Marquez Valdes-Scantling breaks out

Patrick Mahomes warms up with Marquez Valdes-Scantling of the Kansas City Chiefs
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Prop Holliday - Bobby Stanley


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On Thursday night we get another elite primetime matchup between the Los Angeles Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Both teams are coming off of impressive Week 1 victories and this showdown could have AFC West title implications later in the season. Last year, the Chargers and Chiefs split the regular season 1-1.

Based on the research I’ve done, there are a few trends I picked up when comparing the 2021 Week 3 game (the Chargers won) vs the 2021 Week 15 contest (the Chiefs won). I’ll explore them more in detail below. If you can’t get a line when it opens, use a 5% +/- variance. For example, if I like Player X at over 101.5 receiving yards, you can feel comfortable playing that line all the way up to 106.5 unless I say otherwise. I realize when this article is published lines could be drastically different, so follow the 5% rule and let’s have ourselves a day.

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Don’t miss our Chargers vs Chiefs best bets from our expert NFL handicapper

Josh Palmer over 46.5 receiving yards (-114)

Keenan Allen is unlikely to play, so I’m pivoting to his backup in Josh Palmer. The Chargers did a great job last weekend spreading the ball around as 11 different players saw a target, 9 caught a pass. Head coach Brandon Staley acknowledged that Josh Palmer will take Allen’s place starting opposite Mike Williams and Deandre Carter in the slot. I reviewed Palmer’s Week 1 performance and what stood out is all 3 of his targets came when Las Vegas was in zone coverage, which is how the Chiefs lined up 74% of the time against the Cardinals. Palmer also played a total of 50 snaps (75%) and run blocked on 48% of those snaps — meaning coaches feel secure with him in the game in most situations and he out-snapped Deandre Carter and Jalen Guyton likely for this reason.

I look at Kansas City on defense last week and CB Rashad Fenton graded out poorly as worst of the 3 starting CBs. To add insult to injury, rookie CB Trent McDuffie has been placed on the IR this week, so we can expect Chris Lammons or Joshua Williams in his place. As far as Palmer filling in on Allen’s routes, Allen saw 4 targets — 2 were short, 1 was intermediate and 1 was long. I expect Williams to command most of the attention from KC, so Palmer could be in for a career day. Last season he finished strong with a 3-game stretch that included 6, 5 and 9 targets. Last season without Allen in the lineup, Palmer posted a career-best 5 receptions for 66 yards and a TD. The trust is there, and I expect him to replicate that performance Thursday.

Be sure to check out our full Los Angeles Chargers vs Kansas City Chiefs predictions

Marquez Valdes-Scantling over 3.5 receptions (+120)

Valdes-Scantling had the highest snap count of any Kansas City wide receiver on the team and even had more than Kelce in Week 1. His aDOT was only 5 yards, but that helps him against this Staley defense that will do everything they can to prevent the “big” play. In fact, Staley did a great job of that in Week 3 2021 against the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes only threw 61% of his passes at the LOS->9 yards in search of the Tyreek Hill game-changing play. That play never came and the Chiefs lost 30-24. If we fast forward to Week 15, Mahomes changed his focus to the shorter routes and threw 71% of his past attempts between LOS->9 yards. This approach helped propel the Chiefs to a 34-28 victory.

MVS caught all 4 targets that came his way in Week 1 and should see a spike as the WR2. Mecole Hardman is the de facto slot receiver for this team, but after seeing Hunter Renfrow get shut down by Bryan Callahan last week, I’m reluctant to believe Hardman can have more success. Look for MVS to see 6-7 targets this Thursday.

We have our best touchdown scorer bets for Chargers vs Chiefs

Jerick McKinnon over 16.5 receiving yards (-109)

Jerick McKinnon played the same number of snaps as Clyde Edwards-Helaire in Week 1 and out-snapped rookie RB Isaiah Pacheco 27 to 16. The 39% of offensive snaps in Week 1 was his highest total as a member of the Chiefs. Unfortunately, McKinnon missed both games against the Chargers in 2021 so we do not have a benchmark for him, but if the trend of short and intermediate passes continues for the Chiefs, McKinnon could be in for a day.

A lot of hype is surrounding rookie Isiah Pacheco around fantasy football circles (myself included), but I believe his large exposure against the Cardinals was primarily due to the game being out of reach. This is likely a primetime divisional matchup where we’ll see Pacheco being used sparingly. The Raiders aren’t known for pass-catching running backs, but last week Josh Jacobs had 1 target and 1 reception for 16 yards and Brandon Bolden had 2 receptions on 2 targets for 21 yards against the Chargers. Let’s hope this turns into a track meet and McKinnon sees another 4 targets!

Get our Chargers vs Chiefs same game parlay (+750 odds!)

Touchdown scorers

Jerick McKinnon+390

Marquez Valdes-Scantling +210

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