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DENVER, COLORADO - NOVEMBER 28: Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers reacts during the first half of the game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field At Mile High on November 28, 2021 in Denver, Colorado. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by MATTHEW STOCKMAN / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

In a pivotal game for AFC playoff seeding, the Chargers travel to Cincinnati to face the Bengals. We break down this matchup with our Chargers and Bengals picks.

The Los Angeles Chargers are a weird team. After getting off to a 4-1 start, they've failed to win two straight since then, and the aggressiveness that won a lot of people over hasn't paid off in recent games. Despite all of that, they're still within a game of going joint top of the AFC West and are currently in an AFC wild-card spot. Whoever loses this game will fall out of a playoff spot, making this a crucial game for both teams.

The Cincinnati Bengals have exceeded all reasonable expectations as they've already cleared their preseason win total of 6.5. Much like the Chargers, they're also a tricky team to pin down. The Bengals won two big divisional games against the Pittsburgh Steelers and blew out the Baltimore Ravens, but also lost by 25 to the Cleveland Browns and fell in a head-scratcher against the New York Jets.

Here are my picks and predictions for the NFL Week 13 matchup between the Chargers and Bengals (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Chargers vs. Bengals Game Info

Date/Time: Sunday, Dec. 5, 1 p.m. ETTV: CBSLocation: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, OHWeather: 55 degrees, chance of a shower

Chargers vs. Bengals Odds Analysis

The line opened with Cincinnati as 2.5-point favorites and quickly moved to -3 for the Bengals. That's where it currently stands across the majority of major sportsbooks at various prices. A substantial 71% of the public has picked the Bengals to cover against the Chargers.

The Over/Under was at 51 earlier in the week and has now slightly moved to 50.5. The Chargers are just 4-7 on Overs this season, and the Bengals are 5-6.

Chargers vs. Bengals Picks

Chargers +3 (-105) ??Under 50.5 (-110) ???

SEE ALSO: Cardinals vs. Bears Week 13 picks

Chargers vs. Bengals Predictions

Chargers +3 (-105)

I believe there is a fair amount of recency bias going on with the line as it currently stands. The Bengals destroyed a mediocre Steelers team last Sunday, while the Chargers laid an egg and gave up 28 points against a Denver Broncos team that is 21st in points per game. Thus, people are rushing to bet on a Bengals team that while have pulled off impressive wins, have often followed that up by squeaking out a win (like they did against the Jacksonville Jaguars) or finding a way to lose (like their game against the Jets).

The Chargers could potentially get back guard Mike Feiler, a key piece of their offensive line. Corner Asante Samuel Jr. is currently questionable and if he is back will help shore up their pass defense. This Bengals defense is not as stout as the ones the Chargers faced when they played the Broncos and New England Patriots, especially through the air where they give up 254.5 yards per game. If the Chargers can start throwing more intermediate and deep routes, I fancy their chances to keep it close. You may want to wait to bet this closer to game time, however, as I predict this line will move more towards the Bengals in the coming days. At +3.5, I like it a lot more.

Under 50.5 (-110)

The Chargers' weak point all season has been their run defense. They've given up a whopping 145.3 ypg on the ground, dead last in the NFL. In their last game against the Broncos, they surrendered two rushing touchdowns and gave up 147 rushing yards. Cincinnati's Joe Mixon is coming off back-to-back 100-plus yard games on the ground, and thus I'm sure the Bengals will go with a ground-and-pound strategy that will chew up the clock.

The fact that two young franchise quarterbacks are starting for the first time against each other has contributed to a bit of an inflated total. I'd grab it before it goes down any further.

SEE ALSO: All picks and odds. Be sure to check out’s community forums and betting tools.

Picks made on 12/01/2021 at 5:50 p.m. ET.