Quarterback Philip Rivers will be glad to be back in Southern California on Thursday night, as the San Diego Chargers (3-4) welcome the Kansas City Chiefs (1-6) to Qualcomm Stadium, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.
The Chargers are 7.5-point home favorites in the current Week 9 NFL betting odds (courtesy of SBR Forum), while the total has fallen by 1.5 points from its opening number to settle in at 42.5.
Rivers has won six of seven home games against the Chiefs during his career, while the UNDER has cashed in four of the last five meetings overall.
Let's take a closer look at this AFC West affair from a betting perspective, while providing an against-the-spread (ATS) pick along the way.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel has a 62.3 career passer rating against the San Diego Chargers, which is his lowest figure against any NFL team that he's faced at least three times.
I'm expecting him to struggle once again on Thursday night, which is bad news for a team that leads the league with 25 turnovers through eight weeks of the season.
San Diego Chargers head coach Norv Turner is sitting on one of the hottest seats in the NFL right now, but things could turn around versus Thursday night's opponent.
In the last three meetings in this divisional series in San Diego, the Chargers have outscored the Kansas City Chiefs by a 59-7 combined margin in the first half.
Expect a faster-than-normal start from an offense that has failed to score an offensive touchdown in two games during the 2012 campaign—something that had never happened in the Turner era before this season.
I reached out to Jimmy Vaccaro earlier this week about this high-profile affair. He serves as the public relations director for William Hill US, and here's what he had to say:
Chiefs are in trouble. Norv Turner is in bigger trouble. I say look for an upset.
I'm going to recommend that readers back the San Diego Chargers in the first half as one of their Week 9 NFL picks, as road teams in Thursday night divisional battles this year are averaging 4.6 points per game in the opening 30 minutes.
It's also important to note that the Kansas City Chiefs haven't led in regulation this season, while they've averaged just 3.0 points per game on the road in the first half.
NFL Week 9 Pick: San Diego Chargers -4.5 First Half