NFL Preseason Picks: Chargers to Cover +3 Against 49ers & Their Struggling Offensive Line

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, September 1, 2015 11:34 PM UTC

Tuesday, Sep. 1, 2015 11:34 PM UTC

On Thursday evening, the NFL Network will televise the annual clash between San Diego and San Francisco and it could well be the last time the sportsbooks betting odds will favor the 49ers for some time.

Seemingly everyone is down on the Niners, from the oddsmakers, football handicappers and those not in the Bay Area making NFL picks. In spite of the negative talk, Heritage has San Francisco with a win total of O/U 6 for the season and they are listed as the 13th choice in the NFC to make the Super Bowl according to their NFL odds.

With this in mind, here is a look at Thursday's tilt with San Fran hosting San Diego.


Chargers Report
San Diego is 2-1 in the preseason and has managed to cover all three games. The current take on the Chargers is that the offense will be fine with Philip Rivers at the controls. Nonetheless, his regression a year ago was attributed to bad habits he began developing in 2011, which was throwing the ball late. In 2013, Rivers got the ball out quickly and San Diego went to the playoffs.

Journeyman backup Kellen Clemens will take the majority of the snaps in this contest and is expected to do a serviceable job playing with his peers (backups) for coach Mike McCoy.

The Bolts' coaches have seen their offensive line overachieve the past two years based on talent. They have not looked good thus far and concerns are emerging. Also, the defense has holes and the special teams have played anything but special for San Diego, which is why they are being downgraded by most NFL experts heading into the season.

McCoy hopes this game can answer questions about the San Diego Chargers' depth and that if he needs to replace players for ineffectiveness, the new guys end up being an upgrade by their effort and understanding the schemes.


49ers Report
It is a good thing that Colin Kaepernick is a mobile quarterback with an ability to run, because based on the play of the offensive line thus far, he might need a horse to escape the pocket. Arguably, the San Francisco offensive line has looked the worse among the 32 teams in the league, especially in pass protection.

Kaepernick is not the best thrower with time and while he's relatively skillful rolling out and passing, nobody is going to have a high completion percentage when running for his life.

If backup Blaine Gabbert thought the O-Lines he played for in Jacksonville were porous, he's not likely to be all that thrilled what he will he playing in front of as the Niners' starter in this game. New head coach Jim Tomsula has said he and the coaches are "working and sorting this out" and it might be a blessing that his team is playing the very last game of Week 1 in less than two weeks.

The San Francisco defensive with the starters or backups requires a program, because if troubled Ahmad Brooks is suspended or cut by the 49ers, that leaves Navarro Bowman as the lone starter from the Super Bowl team of just 2 1/2 years ago.

The drama surrounding the San Francisco 49ers has been non-stop for well over a year and unless the remaining players can pull this group together, it will be a long season for this team.


Odds & What to Look For
San Francisco is listed as a three-point home favorite with a total of 37, which could be the last time they will be a favorite until early November and maybe beyond. Both these California clubs are like drought in there state, barren beyond the core.

With this the case, in what appears to be an even matchup, it's best to take the points for football picks, and San Diego is 12-2 ATS after a home loss in the preseason.

NFL Picks: Chargers +3 at Pinnacle

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