Raiders vs Chargers NFL Week 1: Updated Spread, Picks, Prediction
Ethan Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Derek Carr.
- The Chargers are -3.5 in Week 1 against the Raiders.
- Las Vegas made the playoffs last season thanks to a Week 18 overtime win over the Chargers.
- The Great Foosini breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Raiders vs. Chargers Odds
The last time we saw these teams play it was an absolute electric factory of a season finale, with massive implications for both teams.
We got the classic, "Hey, if we tie right now, we're both in the playoffs" scenario that happens every so often — and it was so close to happening! However, the Raiders and kicker Daniel Carlson, said, "No, thanks" and booted a field goal to win 35-32, bolting the Chargers out of the playoff picture and securing the No. 5 seed for themselves.
Will the Chargers get revenge, or will the Raiders and their new shiny offensive weapon continue their upward trajectory? Or … will these teams finally tie? Honestly, there has got to be some good odds on that.
Regardless, this game will be a blast. Let's dive into the analysis and see where there may be value.
Raiders vs. Chargers Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Raiders and Chargers match up statistically:
Raiders vs. Chargers DVOA Breakdown (Stats from 2021 incl. playoffs)
Let's start with the Raiders.
They added the best receiver in the league during the offseason, reuniting Derek Carr and Davante Adams from their days at Fresno State. This was a much needed addition as the Raiders failed to score more than 20 points in 10 games last year (including the playoffs). While Las Vegas put up numbers against several opponents, its offensive performances were inconsistent and mediocre at best.
That said, I do expect an improvement in offensive efficiency with another season under Carr's belt and the offensive mind of Josh McDaniels. The Raiders also have fantastic offensive weapons in Hunter Renfrow and the newly extended Darren Waller.
New GM Dave Ziegler also bolstered the other side of the ball, adding Chandler Jones to the defensive line. The only remaining concern is the offensive line, but the Raiders did draft a guard and made some offseason signings that will have to suffice. This should be a nine-win team and it has the potential to win more should things really start to click (obviously).
The Chargers also made some splashy moves in the offseason and addressed their significant weaknesses on defense. They signed J.C. Jackson to a five-year deal and traded for Khalil Mack. Joey Bosa and Mack will wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks when they're on the field.
As for the offense, the sky seems to be the limit with Justin Herbert entering his third year. He also has an impressive group of playmakers in Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. The Chargers already had the fourth best offense and although it will be hard to be better than the Bills and Chiefs, Los Angeles is certainly capable of taking a step forward.
Let's look at the line functionality of this game. Last year, the Chargers were three-point favorites home and away, winning by 14 at home and losing by three in overtime on the road.
Why didn't the line change in those scenarios? Well, because the Chargers (and Rams) don't have a home-field advantage. This will effectively be a home game for the Raiders.
Week 1 of the NFL season is a difficult wagering week given the lack of data, but we do have some line information and general logic to apply here that makes taking the underdog a favorable bet.
Books last year viewed the Chargers as three points better than the Raiders, give or take a point or two for home field. Both teams got better in the offseason and even if we assume the changes are a wash (I personally think the Raiders improved more than the Chargers), we are getting a half point of value on the line here.
There isn't a reason to think the Chargers increased their against-the-spread value by half a point, outside of the assumption that the offense will take a leap in Herbert's third year. However, we don't have data to support that just yet.
We know both teams improved and the Raiders' changes should help them keep up with any jumps the Chargers take this year. I have this as a field goal game, so give me the hook on the Raiders.