We preview the Week 2 battle between the Chargers and the Bengals in hopes of finding the best options for Sunday's NFL picks.
San Diego's offense got off to a slow start, but then got their act together in a 33-28 win over Detroit as Philip Rivers went for 404 yards, two touchdowns and two picks, and the Chargers put up 483 yards. Cincinnati barely had to get out of second gear in a 33-13 romp at Oakland in what was a surprisingly feisty game, and Andy Dalton completed 25 of 34 pass attempts for 269 yards and two touchdowns as he has been known to do against bad teams. Those making their NFL picks know that if the Bengals are going to be taken seriously, beating Rivers and the Chargers would be a huge first step, although they would still have a lot of work to do.
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Opening Odds & Line Movement
Opening Line: -3.5 -100 at Pinnacle
This NFL odds opened at -3.5 for the Bengals and has held firm ever since, but it wouldn't be a surprise to see it move down to -3 or even -2.5, depending on how good bettors think the San Diego offense really is. Keenan Allen was the main recipient of Rivers' looks as he was targeted 17 times, catching 15 for 166, while Stevie Johnson and Ladarius Green were also productive. Do the Bengals have anyone who can stop them? On the other side, can Dalton put up another good performance and can A.J. Green break free after a modest 63 yards on five catches? You should also keep an eye on the total, which opened at 45.5 and has moved up to 46.5; both of these offenses can be very explosive and the defenses still have a lot to prove.
The San Diego Chargers are going to be without guard D.J. Fluker for at least a couple of weeks because of a bad ankle, although they initially thought it would be a month. Still, that is bad news for the running game as rookie Melvin Gordon had 51 yards on 14 carries. Other than that, the Chargers are pretty healthy (remember, Antonio Gates is out for the first four games due to a drug suspension).
The same goes for the Bengals, although there was a bit of a worry that cornerback Adam Jones would be suspended for his altercation with Raiders' rookie Amari Cooper; instead he was just fined after leading the Bengals in tackles. The secondary is banged up with George Iloka (ankle), Reggie Nelson (groin) and Dre Kirkpatrick (calf) limited in practice but all are expected to play on Sunday.
The Chargers are just 3-9 in their last 12 ATS, which includes a 2-4 ATS in their last six on road. Meanwhile, the Bengals are 13-4-1 ATS in their last 17 home games, although they're just 2-3-1 ATS in their last six.
In their last 10 head to head, the Chargers are 6-4 SU and have covered in half of the games; however, Cincinnati has covered in four of the last five. At home, the Bengals are 4-6 SU and 3-6 ATS against the Chargers since 1982.