Chargers vs. Raiders Odds, NFL Picks, Predictions: Our Expert’s Guide To Betting Last Sunday Night Football
Getty Images. Pictured: Chargers RB Austin Ekeler & QB Justin Herbert. Raiders QB Derek Carr & TE Darren Waller.
- The latest NFL odds for Chargers vs. Raiders have moved as kickoff approaches, with L.A. now once again a 3-point favorite on the road for SNF.
- But where's the betting value on the regular-season finale ripe with NFL playoff implications?
- Our expert makes his predictions and pick below, featuring a bet on the spread.
|Time||8:20 p.m. ET|
Editor’s Note: This intro was updated after Jacksonville defeated Indianapolis 26-11.
After the Jaguars upset the Colts on Sunday afternoon, this game now could invoke a good ole fashioned prisoner’s dilemma, where both the Chargers and Raiders can make the playoffs if this game ends in a tie. So if you’re reading this after the Jags won, go run and bet an alternate total under 0.5, as 60 minutes of kneel-downs would get both of these teams into the playoffs!
More realistically, though, this will be a win-or-go-home scenario for two heated division rivals with the NFL’s rulebook advising against a kneel-down game. The Chargers took care of business in the first matchup, winning 28-14 and covering the three-point spread at SoFi Stadium. Can the Raiders return the favor on their stomping grounds?
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Chargers vs. Raiders Injury Report
- DE Joe Gaziano (ankle): Out
- LB Drue Tranquill (ankle): Questionable
- RB Josh Jacobs (ribs): Questionable
- TE Darren Waller (knee): Questionable
- DT Johnathan Hankins (back): Questionable
- CB Casey Hayward Jr. (ankle): Questionable
Chargers vs. Raiders Matchup
|Chargers Offense||DVOA Rank||Raiders Defense|
|Chargers Defense||DVOA Rank||Raiders Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Chargers Hold Big Offensive Advantage
This is a great matchup for Justin Herbert, who shreds the type of single-high safety scheme (i.e., Cover 1 and Cover 3) that Raiders defensive coordinator Gus Bradley runs. According to Sports Info Solutions, Justin Herbert ranks fourth among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts in points above average (0.135) against single-high safety coverages and leads all quarterbacks in Wins Above Replacement (2.2) against single-high coverages.
Because of an affection for Cover 3, the Raiders are the most zone-heavy defense in the NFL. This also plays to the Chargers’ strength, as no team averages more touchdowns per target against zone coverage than the Chargers (4.3%, per data from PFF).
With the deep thirds of the field covered, Herbert was able to pick apart the Raiders underneath in the first meeting between these two teams back in Week 4, completing 25-of-38 passes for 222 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. The most disheartening thing for the Raiders in that matchup? Herbert didn’t need much from Keenan Allen (7/36/0) or Mike Williams (1/11/0).
The second-most disheartening thing? Las Vegas’ run defense, which is currently inside the top 10 in DVOA, surrendered 168 yards on 34 carries (4.94 yards per carry) to the Chargers, Los Angeles’ second-highest output of the season. That’s what happens when the opposing quarterback matches up well with your scheme, though: You’re forced to weaken yourself in other areas to compensate. Justin Jackson has emerged as a strong complement to superstar Austin Ekeler, averaging 107 scrimmage yards over the past three games.
Under first-year head coach Brandon Staley, the Chargers haven’t always been consistent, but they have been aggressive in going for it on fourth down and not settling for field goals in the red zone. This high-risk, high-reward strategy is the correct approach over the long term, but it sometimes can lead to maddening results in any given game.
The issue for the Raiders is they face longer odds than maybe any other team in the league at thwarting Staley’s aggressive antics, as they rank 31st in fourth-down conversion rate allowed (68.2%) and 32nd in red-zone touchdown conversion rate allowed (79.5%).
The red-zone issues are particularly worrisome not just because the Chargers will push the issue in scoring position, but also because they’ve reached the red zone 71 times, which is second-most in the NFL behind only the Bills (73).
Raiders Must Find Early-Down Success
At this point, we all know what the Raiders are up against: If I gave you shoulder pads and cleats, you could run for 100 yards against this Chargers defense. The Chargers are allowing 136.7 rushing yards per game (30th) and 4.6 yards per carry (28th), and they rank dead last in DVOA against the run. (I should note that some of this is by design, as Staley aims to limit big plays and is willing to concede the run at times.)
The Raiders have been a near mirror image of rushing incompetency on offense, averaging just 90.3 yards per game and 3.8 yards per carry, both of which rank 29th. Despite still having Henry Ruggs III (who has since been cut for his involvement in a deadly car crash) and a healthy Darren Waller (listed as questionable) to loosen up the defense, the Raiders managed just 48 scoreless yards on 18 carries in the first matchup.
In fact, the teams’ Week 4 matchup may have been Staley’s best defensive game plan of the season, as the Chargers were not only able to limit the Raiders on the ground, but also hold Waller to a modest 4/50/1 line on seven targets.
What plagues the Raiders is a weak offensive line that ranks third-worst in PFF’s team run-blocking grades (55.8) and 11th-worst in their team pass-blocking grades (60.8). The Chargers are not a good defense by any stretch, but they still have enough talented players in their front seven — Joey Bosa, Linval Joseph, Kyzir White, Uchenna Nwosu, Justin Jones — to dominate lesser offensive lines.
The key to hanging with the Chargers is having success against them on early downs in order to get into manageable third downs where the run is still an option. The Chargers have allowed an NFL-worst 49.7% conversion rate on third downs.
In the first meeting between these two teams, the Raiders had 12 drives, and the first plays of those drives combined to net them 77 yards. The problem? Of those 77 yards, 51 came on one catch by Ruggs, and the other 11 plays totaled just 26 yards. The return of Waller means that one of either himself, Hunter Renfrow, or a five-yard run from Josh Jacobs should be available on every first-down play, so it will be key for the Raiders coaching staff and Derek Carr to come up with a better plan and get them in the right looks.
NFL Pick: Chargers vs. Raiders
The Raiders gutted out an impressive 23-20 win over the Colts in Week 17 to give themselves a shot at the playoffs this week, but this has all the makings of a letdown spot against a division rival they don’t match up well against.
The Chargers’ biggest enemy has been themselves, while the Raiders have more serious flaws — both talent-wise and schematically. In the first matchup, the Chargers were able to game plan such that both their weaknesses and the Raiders’ strengths were minimized.
The Chargers aren’t one of those teams that has a major home-field advantage, and thus they shouldn’t get docked as much when going on the road, especially since not much travel is involved here. In fact, the Chargers are 4-3 against the spread (ATS) on the road while the Raiders are just 3-5 ATS at home.
According to public betting data in the Action Network App as of Saturday evening, we have tracked 11 sharp moves on the Chargers, and I feel that’s the right play as long as we’re laying a field goal or less.
Pick: Chargers -3 | Bet to: -3
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