Chargers vs Rams Odds, Pick, Prediction | NFL Week 17

Chargers vs Rams Odds, Pick, Prediction | NFL Week 17 article feature image

Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images. Pictured: Cam Akers.

  • The Chargers are favored in Week 17 against the Rams.
  • Sean McVay's team blew out the Broncos on Christmas.
  • Ricky Henne makes a Chargers vs Rams pick for today below.

Chargers vs Rams Odds

Sunday, Jan. 1
4:25 p.m. ET
Chargers Odds
-106o / -114u
Rams Odds
-106o / -114u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The Rams and Chargers square off in a match between two Los Angeles teams heading in opposite directions.

The Rams are authoring the most embarrassing season in history by a defending Super Bowl Champion.  Their 10 losses are tied with the 1999 Broncos for the most one year after winning it all. They’ll need to win their last two games to avoid setting a new mark, and you just know it would be particularly painful if the team they share a stadium with delivers that fateful blow.

Meanwhile, the Chargers are surging their way into the playoffs and are getting healthy at the right time. A defensive turnaround has sparked the Bolts’ three-game winning streak. They’ve given up only 11.3 points per game and 225.3 yards per game over that span, which are both far and away the best marks in the league.

However, there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to those numbers, which is why I find myself backing Baker Mayfield and a motley hodgepodge of an offense in one very specific way.

Chargers vs Rams Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Chargers and Rams match up statistically:

Chargers vs Rams DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA2415
Pass DVOA229
Rush DVOA2428
Overall DVOA2516
Pass DVOA2420
Rush DVOA257

Instead of Matthew Stafford throwing to Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson, we have Baker Mayfield throwing to Tutu Atwell and Van Jefferson. Is it any wonder why this game was flexed out of primetime?  But despite that, I think there's value in backing the Rams to hit their team total over 17.5 points, which feels too low for several reasons.

Call if recency bias if you want, but 17.5 points is a disrespectfully low number for a team that just dropped 51 points in their last game. Yes, it came against a Denver team that’s an absolute dumpster fire, but there's no denying that the Broncos defense is legit.

Bet the Battle of Los Angeles at FanDuel

Football Outsiders ranks Denver seventh in total DVOA (-7.6%) and fourth in pass DVOA (12.2%). Nonetheless, Mayfield had his way with them. He completed 85.7% of his passes (24-for-28) for 230 yards and two touchdowns on his way to posting an 88.1 QBR and 124.7 passer rating. That’s the highest QBR and second-highest passer rating by a Rams quarterback this year.

Then there’s Cam Akers, who a few months ago was benched and nearly run out of town, but is now playing some of the best football of his career.

Akers had an impressive outing in Week 15 against the Packers, turning 15 touches into 100 yards, but he really turned heads with a Christmas Day performance for the ages.  Akers ran roughshod over the Broncos, carrying the ball 23 times for 118 yards and three touchdowns. He also chipped in with a pair of catches for another 20 yards.

Now, Akers has a tasty matchup against a Chargers run defense that's allowed the second most yards per carry (5.3) and ranks 28th in rush DVOA (3.0%).

Meanwhile, about that Chargers turnaround I mentioned earlier? Well, you may want to take it with a grain of salt. The Bolts' stout performance against Miami’s formidable offense was certainly noteworthy, but dominating the Colts and Titans is nothing to write home about. While the Rams are far from world beaters, they’re markedly better than what the Bolts faced the past two weeks.

Additionally, the Chargers will be without Derwin James. The All-World safety suffered a concussion last week while delivering a vicious blow that also got him ejected.  The Bolts somehow managed to win a pair of games James missed with a quad injury last month, but there’s no denying they’re a vastly inferior defense with him on the sidelines.

Betting Picks

The Chargers are the class of Los Angeles right now, and it’s not even close. There are plenty of reasons to believe they’ll have their way against an inferior opponent, yet the more I look at it, the more I like Sean McVay’s crew to score over 17.5 points.

A ton is being written about how inspired the Bolts are playing on defense, but once again, I simply can’t get over the quality of opponents.  Shutting down Ryan Tannehill, who suffered a season-ending injury early in the first quarter, and Nick Foles in back-to-back games doesn’t exactly make you the '86 Bears.

Meanwhile, I’m hardly the only one who believes in the Rams. An obscene amount of money is pouring in on them to cover. While 60% of bets against the spread are on the Chargers, a whopping 99% of the money backs the Rams.

I strongly lean that way as well since I’m clearly confident in the Rams' chances of putting up points. What I’m not so confident in, however, is their ability to prevent Justin Herbert and company from doing the same.

Pivoting to the Rams team total takes that out of the equation, and for me, feels a bit safer. It also allows us to avoid the juice and turn a higher profit as you can grab this as high as +105.

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