Last season San Diego slipped into the playoffs in their first season under head coach, Mike McCoy, and they did the most with it winning a game against the Bengals. Their NFL Odds are slightly improved from 2013, but will their team live up to the numbers?
Super Bowl (+4000)
While I won’t say it’s going to be impossible to bring a Super Bowl to San Diego this season, I will say that it’s a long shot. At +4000, the Chargers have solid Super Bowl NFL Odds from Bovada, however in a conference and division no less with the Broncos, the Chargers will ultimately have an uphill battle to become champions. They would likely have to do what only six teams have done since the wild card round was established; win three consecutive road games and then win a fourth game at a neutral site. Currently the Chargers have the 7th best NFL Odds from Bovada to win the AFC, and they are right in the middle with their Super Bowl Odds.
Bovada Sportsbook normally has really spot on NFL Odds when it comes to futures, and the Chargers’ AFC Odds are no exception. At +1800, they are on the fringe when it comes to the playoffs in 2014, and after 9-7 made the playoffs in the AFC last season, it might again this season. However I do think there are four distinct division winners this season in the AFC. The Broncos, Patriots, Colts and Steelers will almost surely take the four divisions down, which would ultimately lock the Chargers into trying for the 5th or 6th seed. Although their defense should still be good, the Chargers’ offense is what scares me away from taking a stab at them as one of my futures betting picks. As good as Phillip Rivers is, he doesn’t have many prolific options to throw to outside of Keenan Allen. Antonio Gates is aging and on the decline, and Allen is still only in his second year. Even though they do have depth, they don’t have a “go-to,” option.
AFC West (+550)
Not only could San Diego’s passing options be limited, but the running game may not be as good as people are suggesting. Even with Ryan Matthews breakout performance last season, I’m not sold he can replicate that this season. Even with the addition of Donald Brown to the backfield along with Matthews and the dynamic Danny Woodhead, the Chargers passing game may not be able to open up the running game as it did last season.
However, this is all just speculation at this point. If Gates isn’t done yet, and young tight end, Ladarius Green breaks out this season, the Chargers are going to be just fine passing the ball, and will likely be one of the AFC wildcard teams. They still have Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal backing up Vincent Brown and Allen, but even though they appear to have depth, one injury to their receiving core could be deadly.
In the end however, I don’t see them regressing or progressing much this season. I would be surprised if they won more than nine games this season, and in a division with Peyton Manning, the only thing that might make any of these NFL betting picks move would be a Manning injury.