Panthers vs. Chargers Betting Odds & Pick: Take The Under on Sunday
Harry How/Getty Images. Pictured: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
Panthers vs. Chargers Betting Odds
|Panthers Odds||+6.5 [BET NOW]|
|Chargers Odds||-6.5 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||43.5 [BET NOW]|
|Kickoff||4:05 p.m. ET on Sunday|
The Los Angeles Chargers enter Week 3 after going toe-to-toe with reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 2.
The surprise start of rookie quarterback Justin Herbert brought some life to the Chargers’ passing attack after a lackluster performance to open the season. And with Tyrod Taylor still ailing from a punctured lung, Herbert will again lead the Chargers, this time against a young Carolina Panthers defense.
Injuries have played their part for the Panthers as well. Star running back Christian McCaffrey was placed on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain. The standout is not only an elite player in the Panthers’ run game but also an elite pass catcher for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater when in need of a safety valve.
Missing McCaffrey’s stellar skillset might bring extra challenges, due to the fact the Chargers have an elite pass defense.
The Chargers should look to protect their young quarterback, as they did last week when they handed the ball off 40 times. The Panthers’ best chance at success is to use their talented receivers with McCaffrey sidelined.
That said, this should play right into the Chargers’ strength.
With both teams having reason to question their offensive capabilities this week, it is best to turn to the total for value, and I see that on the under. Let’s dig in a little more to see why.
Without McCaffrey, the Panthers should look to attack through the passing game. While Bridgewater is a top-five passer in terms of yardage, 307 of his 636 passing yards have come in the fourth quarter in what many fans would reference as “garbage time.”
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the Chargers’ strength is in their pass coverage, as they have Pro Bowl level players to rush the passer in coverage. The Chargers have struggled against the run allowing 4.9 yards per carry, which ranks 26th in the NFL.
However, without McCaffrey leading the rushing attack, it will be harder to target the porous run defense.
Ranking 31st in scoring defense last year, the Panthers used every draft pick they had to improve their defense. Four of those picks became starters and not having a normal offseason/preseason to prepare has had its effect, as none of these players have a Pro Football Focus grade higher than 55 — seventh overall pick Derrick Brown has been the most disappointing having a grade of only 29.9.
This will be a chance for the Panthers’ defensive front to step up its play and improve their 4.8 yards per carry allowed mark. The Chargers will be without starting center Mike Pouncey (IR) and guard Trai Turner is marked as questionable, but did not practice Friday.
These injuries will mean Derrick Brown should line up against backups. Hopefully, he’s able to seize this opportunity and show he was worth the seventh overall pick.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers’ philosophy has been to rely on their talented defense, as they have been trying to grind out games on the ground with a league-leading 83 rushing attempts.
Austin Ekeler and rookie Joshua Kelley have done their best behind an offensive line that ranks fifth worst in yards before contact at 1.8 yards per rush. In a surprise first start, Herbert brought some juice to the Chargers passing attack and threw for 296 yards against what was a top-five pass defense last season.
The improvement in the passing game should help the Chargers sustain drives, but they will most likely rely on the run game in Herbert’s second start.
The Chargers are one of the few teams who can rely on a rushing attack, thanks to its defense. The defensive front, lead by Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, has produced the fifth-best pressure rate while blitzing the fewest times in the NFL.
With McCaffrey out of the equation, the Panthers may be looking to rely on their passing attack more than they would like. This should play right into the Chargers’ hands and make things difficult for the Panthers.
The Chargers should be able to control the game, with the Panthers missing McCaffrey and their elite pass defense to stop the aerial attack. With the defense holding controlling the game, the Chargers should be able to stick with their run-first attack and grind out a victory.
The 6.5-point spread is too much either way. However, the total is at 43.5 making the under a strong bet.
PICK: Under 43.5