The Chargers missed the playoffs in 2017, despite going 9-3 in their final 12 games. They’re looking for a better start to the upcoming campaign, but are asked to defeat a division rival (Chiefs) in the opener for the first time since 2013. Here’s a look at the full schedule.
Below you will find the Chargers’ straight-up and against-the-spread records from last year’s NFL regular season, including average margin of victory, 2017 average odds, 2017 win totals and 2018 pre-scheduled figures, and projected strength of schedule using opponents’ combined record from 2017.
2017 SU Record: 9-7 (5.2 avg. margin)
2017 ATS Record: 8-6-2 (3.6 avg. margin)
2017 Average Line: -1.6
2017 Win Total: 7.5 (-160)
2018 Strength of Schedule: 24th, opponents were 123-133 (.480)Three Games to Back ATS
@Seahawks, Week 9; @Raiders, Week 10; @ Steelers, Week 13
Philip Rivers is as fiery, competitive and dangerous as any quarterback in the league. Never count him and the Chargers out, especially with that sling-shot arm. Often times, the best way to assure victory over L.A. is to control possession and keep Rivers off the field, especially late in games. To do that, you must have a strong rushing attack. Last year, for example, the Chargers went 6-0 SU and 4-1-1 ATS vs. opponents totaling less than 110 yards per game on the ground entering a matchup.
Since 2013, Rivers is 8-8 SU and 12-3-1 ATS when an underdog or a short-priced favorite of a field goal or less against opponents that failed to accrue more than 105 rushing yards per game the prior season. The Chargers top a 2.4 average line by 3.4 points per game. Rivers outscores foes 12.8 to 11.0 in the second half, posting 24.4 points overall. The 49ers (103.9), Raiders (97.1), Seahawks (101.8), Cardinals (86.6), Steelers (102.9), and Bengals (85.9) each ranked in the bottom half of the league rushing last season. Look for the Chargers to fall under the market conditions at Seattle, Oakland, and Pittsburgh. It’s Rivers or bust betting the spread.
Three Games to Fade ATS
@Rams, Week 3; @Chiefs, Week 15; @Ravens Week, 16
Ken Whisenhunt, who jumped ship to coach the Titans for one season-plus (2014-15), is entering his fourth year as L.A.’s offensive coordinator. “Whiz” employs a wide-open passing attack, spreading the field vertically and horizontally. Accuracy, precision, rhythm and timing are necessary for it to execute proficiently. An aggressive defense with a sound secondary can prove problematic, particularly those adept at creating turnovers.
The Chargers are 7-17 SU (10-13-1 ATS) vs. units that forced 1.5 takeaways or more per game the prior season with Whiz calling the shots. They score 21.2 points and gift 1.7 turnovers per game, as opposed to 26.9 and 1.2 against units generating fewer takeaways the previous year. L.A. is 17-9 SU and ATS in the latter contests. Road dates at the Rams, Chiefs, and Ravens, each forcing 1.6 takeaways per game or more in 2017, will prove tough to navigate. Lean the home team in each.
Trap Game Potential
@Browns, Week 6
The Chargers have four 1 p.m. ET kickoffs. Those “early-morning” starts are a proven disadvantage for West Coast teams. The Chargers, in fact, are 3-6 SU and 1-7-1 ATS when underdogs by a point or favored under these conditions with Rivers at quarterback. The offense averages 18.7 points per game. Don’t be shocked if the Browns snap their losing streak here.