Bengals-Chargers Betting Preview: Can Rivers Cover the 2-TD Spread?

Bengals-Chargers Betting Preview: Can Rivers Cover the 2-TD Spread? article feature image

Philip G. Pavely, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Phil Rivers

Betting odds: Cincinnati Bengals at Los Angeles Chargers

  • Spread: Chargers -14
  • Over/Under: 47.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

>> All odds as of Friday afternoon. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: Even though they have to lay 14 or 14.5 points, more than 70% of the public is backing the Chargers and fading quarterback Jeff Driskel and the Bengals.

There was enough sharp action on Cincy at +14.5 to move the line down to a consensus of +14 at the time of writing (see live betting data here). — Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Cincinnati lost 24-10 to Denver in Week 13. Double-digit underdogs following a double-digit loss have gone 51-24-2 (68%) ATS since 2003. However, in the past five season these teams are only 11-13-1 ATS. – John Ewing

Philip Rivers and the Chargers are 14-point favorites at home against the Bengals, who are without Andy Dalton and A.J. Green for the rest of the season.

Rivers is 6-12 against the spread (-6 units) when he’s giving 10 or more points, making him the second-least profitable QB (Ben Roethlisberger) in this spot since 2006.

When the game is played in December or later, Rivers is 1-5 ATS, failing to cover the spread by 9.5 PPG. — Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Chargers passing game vs. Bengals secondary

Rivers is the only quarterback to throw multiple touchdown passes in every game this season. The entire pass offense has been incredibly efficient all year, and the Chargers are tied with the Saints and Buccaneers for the highest combined net yards per pass attempt rate this week.

Slot receiver Keenan Allen should specifically have no trouble eating all afternoon, as nickel back Darqueze Dennard is just PFF’s No. 76 overall cornerback this season. — Ian Hartitz

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Keenan Allen

Which team is healthier? Chargers

Week 15 is looking like a more probable return for running back Melvin Gordon (knee). He could be joined on the sideline by cornerback Trevor Williams (knee) this Sunday, while defensive tackle Brandon Mebane (personal) is expected to suit up.

The Bengals won’t have the services of Green (foot, IR) for the remainder of the season, and they also face question marks with linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion), cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (ankle), left tackle Cordy Glenn (back) and cornerback Tony McRae.

Running back Joe Mixon (foot) and wide receiver Josh Malone (hamstring) are also not exactly 100%.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Allen is the clear focal point of the Chargers’ offense, soaking up an absurd 33% of their market share of targets over their past six games. Per Pro Football Focus, Allen has run 53.4% of his routes from the slot this season and 28.4% of his targets have come from that position.

This means he’ll see a lot of Darqueze Dennard, PFF’s No. 85 corner in coverage among 113 qualifiers. Allen should be a cash-game building block for $7,900 on FanDuel with a 94% Bargain Rating in our FantasyLabs Models. — Justin Bailey

Bets to watch: Under 47.5 and Bengals +14

First off, the Chargers find themselves in a horrific situational spot. Not only do they come back home from the East Coast after a Sunday night road upset win at Pittsburgh, LA has an enormous divisional showdown with Kansas City on Thursday night.

I expect the Chargers to approach this game with caution on the injury front. They should have no interest in blowing this open if it does indeed get out of hand.

On the other side of the ball, the Bengals will have to rely almost entirely on the legs of their QB and backs. As a result of a plethora of skill position injuries, there is just no way they can expect to throw the ball against an extremely solid Chargers secondary — especially when you consider the Chargers’ edge rushers should abuse a very weak Bengals offensive line.

Expect a heavy rushing attack to try to exploit the Chargers’ most vulnerable part of their defense. The clock should be moving swiftly when the Bengals have the ball and especially when the Chargers have the ball, as they are the slowest team in the NFL, averaging a league-high 30.55 seconds per play.

Chargers get the win, but the Bengals keep this within 14 in a low-scoring game against a flat Chargers team. Give me both the road dog and the under in a classic buy-low/sell-high spot, as both the total and spread are just too high for a potentially very flat favorite without a great home-field and a terrible special teams unit. — Stuckey

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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