Chargers vs. Chiefs: The best player prop bets for Travis Kelce, Austin Ekeler, and more
The AFC West will serve up an absolute humdinger of a game on Sunday between the 1-1 Los Angeles Chargers and 1-1 Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chargers suffered a heart-breaking 20-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week, while the Chiefs managed to fumble their way to defeat against the Baltimore Ravens. Both teams suddenly have plenty of questions to answer, with the biggest being who will bounce back at Arrowhead Stadium?
Sun, September 26 2021, 5:00 PM
With plenty on the line, here are the three best player prop bets ahead of the big game.
Travis Kelce: Over/Under 89.5 Receiving Yards
Patrick Mahomes is showing no signs of slowing down in 2021 as he’s notched 667 yards through the air in just two games. The Las Vegas Raiders are the only team to have thrown more than the Chiefs, and one of Mahomes’ favorite targets is his big tight end, Travis Kelce.
Kelce commands 23% of the target share in the Chiefs' offense, and when you have a team built around its aerial attack, that level of volume is only going to lead to great things. Through two games, Kelce has already caught 13 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns.
That’s now 10 regular season games in a row that Kelce has had at least seven targets and at least six receptions – a record dating back to Oct. 25, 2020. During that run he has averaged 110 yards per game and would have beaten this line of 89.5 receiving yards 70% of the time.
The Chargers have a strong pass defense, and last week held Dallas to just 237 yards through the air, with CeeDee Lamb the only Cowboy to go for more than 38 yards. They’ve also shown they can shut down Kelce, holding him to just three catches for 24 yards in 2019. However, last year Kelce had nine receptions for 90 yards and a TD, and in the earlier game in 2019 he had seven catches for 92 yards and a TD.
This game has a points total of 54.5, so expect lots of action and plenty of juice for Kelce.
Austin Ekeler: Over/Under 55.5 Rushing Yards
Ekeler must be licking his chops at the thought of facing the Chiefs' porous run defense. KC has already given up 404 yards and seven touchdowns to its opponents on the ground, and has the worst run defense in the league, with opponents averaging 6.0 yards per rushing attempt.
That will be music to the ears of Ekeler, who should pick up another 11 or 12 runs in this match and see some looks as a pass-catcher. On the ground, Ekeler hasn’t set the world alight, but he did rack up 57 yards against Washington and 54 against Dallas – two teams who aren’t exactly pushovers on D.
Going back to the start of the 2020 season, Ekeler has run for more than 50 yards in nine of the 11 games in which he has had at least nine rushing attempts. Not only should he see that volume again on Sunday, but now he faces a Kansas City team that has already let Nick Chubb, Lamar Jackson, and Ty’Son Williams run for at least 77 each through two weeks.
Ekeler ran 16 times for 93 yards in the Week 2 clash with the Chiefs last year, and while he may not hit those heights again, he should be able to topple this conservative line.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire: Over/Under 55.5 Rushing Yards
It's been a dog-ugly start to the season for CEH. Not only is the volume not there – only the Bucs, Steelers, and Jags have attempted fewer running plays – but even when he is does get touches, Edwards-Helaire hasn't put up big numbers.
He has had between 11 and 16 touches in his last six regular season games, but has failed to top more than 46 yards in four of them.
The good news for Edwards-Helaire is that there is only one rush defense worse than the Chargers this year, and it’s the Chiefs! Antonio Gibson ran 20 times for 90 yards against them in Week 1, and last week both Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott were able to rack up more than 71 yards on the ground. Overall, LA is giving up an average of 5.6 yards per running attempt.
Edwards-Helaire will get plenty of touches against a vulnerable run defense, but even with that perfect cocktail it’s still difficult to side with him on the Over.