NFL Odds: Back Chargers To Continue Unusual Preseason Domination Of Cardinals

San Diego Chargers

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 2:16 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016 2:16 PM UTC

Potentially the final season of NFL football in San Diego begins on Friday night when the Chargers host the Arizona Cardinals in the second preseason game for both. The game is a pick'em on NFL odds with a total of 41.

Arizona Cardinals vs San Diego Chargers

Cardinals What To Watch For
Arizona and San Diego players will be well-acquainted with each other by game time as they are participating in joint practices for a few days this week. Tuesday was the first time the Chargers have had a joint scrimmage with another team since facing the Dallas Cowboys in 2012.

The Cardinals weren't great in their preseason opener, losing 31-10 at home to Oakland. But Arizona starting QB Carson Palmer looked solid in his only series in going 3-for-5 for 38 yards and leading a field-goal drive. Matt Barkley, trying to win the third-string job over rookie Jake Coker, was way off, going 8-for-24 for 121 yards and a pick. Guy was great at USC but his NFL career might soon be over.

On Tuesday, the Cardinals activated safety Tyrann Mathieu, cornerback Justin Bethel and defensive tackle Frostee Rucker off the PUP list but they didn't practice and you won't see them in this game. Mathieu recently got a huge extension despite suffering another major injury last season. But he was playing like an NL Defensive Player of the Year before he went down. You also won't see receiver John Brown as he remains in the NFL's concussion protocol. It's not clear if first-round pick Robert Nkemdiche, a defensive tackle from Ole Miss, will take the field as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Arizona was a 2.5-point favorite last week vs. Oakland on NFL odds with a total of 37 so the Cards are 0-1 ATS and 1-0 O/U.


Chargers What To Watch For
San Diego ownership has until mid-January of next year to tell the NFL if it will move the Chargers to Los Angeles or not and become a tenant in the new Rams' stadium that will open in a 2019. The Bolts are still hoping to get a new stadium built to replace Qualcomm Stadium. There's a ballot proposal set for November that seeks a $1.15 billion facility subsidy via a hike on local hotel taxes. It's not looking great that will pass. If  it doesn't, the Chargers are likely going to leave.

San Diego still is at a curious stalemate with No. 3 overall pick Joey Bosa. It's curious because these rookie contract are not pretty much set in stone by where a player was drafted; Bosa would get a four-year deal worth about $25.8 million. But the Chargers and Bosa, the first defensive player taken in 2016 as an end out of Ohio State, are haggling over bonus structure. Bosa wants more now. This is the longest rookie holdout under the current CBA, which set agreed to in 2011. Most experts say the Chargers are at fault here as the team has history of drawing a line in the sand with rookie first-round picks.

I don't read much into the preseason but the Chargers didn't look good at all last week in a 27-10 loss at Tennessee, which was probably the NFL's worst team last year and earned the No. 1 overall pick (but traded it to the Rams). Chargers QB Philip Rivers was in for one possession and was 2-for-3 for 64 yards and a 44-yard TD pass to Melvin Gordon, who did all the work. He was a bright spot for the game after a hugely disappointing rookie season and then offseason microfracture surgery on his knee.

Kellen Clemens and new addition Zach  Mettenberger, who was cut by the Titans this offseason, are battling to back up Rivers. Clemens was 9-for-16 for 92 yards and Mettenberger 2-for-8 for 22 and a pick against Tennessee. So advantage Clemens there. The San Diego defense wasn't great last year and wasn't against the Titans, either, allowing them 437 total yards, including 288 rushing on 33 attempts -- that's 8.7 yards per carry.

San Diego was +3 against Tennessee on NFL picks with a total of 36.5 so the Bolts are 0-1 ATS and 1-0 O/U.


Series History
The Bolts have beaten the Cardinals in seven straight preseason games. Last year in Arizona it was 22-19. Josh Lambo kicked a 42-yard field goal as time expired. Palmer was 3-for-7 for 88 yards and a touchdown, while Johnson rushed 13 times for 66 yards. Rivers didn't play. Clemens, starting in his place, was 9 of 15 for 88 yards. The teams last met in the regular season in Week 1 of the 2014 season, an 18-17 Cardinals home win. Palmer threw the winning 13-yard TD pass to Brown with 2:25 left. Arizona was down 17-6 entering the fourth. Rivers was 21-for-36 for 238 yards, a TD and a pick.

The Cardinals are the better team but the Bolts have for some reason owned them in the preseason and they are home. So San Diego and 'over' it is. The Chargers are 4-0 ATS in their past four games. 


NFL Free Picks: Chargers -120 & Over 41 -107 
Best Line Offered: Chargers -120 at Bet365 & Over 41 -107 at Pinnacle

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