On Saturday (12/23/23), the Buffalo Bills travel to face the Los Angeles Chargers in an AFC showdown that has the Bills slated as heavy favorites. In this article, find the latest betting odds for the game and a full preview of the matchup. In addition, find our best bet for Bills vs. Chargers which is the Chargers +12.
Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers Prediction
The Chargers suffered one of their worst losses in franchise history last Thursday as they surrendered a whopping 63 points to the Raiders, their most in team history. That walloping led to the team finally pulling the plug on Brandon Staley, firing him in a move that fans have been calling for incessantly. Now, former outside linebackers coach Giff Smith will serve as the interim head coach.
The Bills are clearly the better team in this game, but there are a ton of situational factors that point to the Chargers being the play on the spread. First off, the Chargers will likely see the “dead cat bounce” this week that we’ve seen countless times in the NFL. It sounds like Giff Smith has a lot of respect in the locker room and is a coach the players will fight for moving forward.
The Chargers also have a huge rest edge here. They last played on Thursday (12/24), giving them a full ten days from game-to-game. The Bills, meanwhile, will have six days to turn around and fly across the country. Buffalo is coming off statement wins over the Chiefs and Cowboys, and it will be tough to truly get up for this game against a moribund Chargers team coming off a 42-point loss. The Bills have huge divisional games on the horizon with the Patriots and Dolphins on deck.
Betting on Easton Stick against Josh Allen is terrifying, and I don’t doubt that the Bills will leave Los Angeles with a victory. However, the Chargers ATS is simply the type of situational play I’ll make every time in the NFL and live with the results.
According to our friends at Bet Labs, teams that lost by 35+ points the prior week are 75-44-6 ATS (63%) in the following week over the last 20 years. That improves to 58-29-5 ATS (67%) as underdogs and 17-3 ATS (85%) as underdogs of 10+ points.
I’d recommend waiting to see if this line gets back to 13 or 14 before kickoff as those are key numbers. That said, I’d still play the Chargers down to +10.
Buffalo Bills Vs. Los Angeles Chargers Prediction: Chargers +12
Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers Best Odds
The spread for this game opened with the Bills favored by 14 points on the road, which is a very key number. That was quickly swallowed up, and the Bills have dipped as low as 10.5-point favorites. At the time of writing, the spread is sitting at 12. With an over/under of 44 points, that leads to an implied final score of around 28-16.
Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers Key Injuries
The Bills are dealing with a handful of injuries on defense with defensive linemen Jordan Phillips, Leonard Floyd, DaQuan Jones, and A.J. Epenesa and safety Micah Hyde all listed as questionable. Given they are lofty favorites and there are big games on the horizon, it wouldn’t be shocking to see the Bills hold those players out this week. LB Matt Milano and CB Tre’Davious White are on the IR.
The Chargers will be without Justin Herbert for the remainder of the season after he suffered a fractured finger. Wide receiver Keenan Allen is the big injury to watch for them after he missed last week’s game. He’s dealing with a heel injury, and he’s crucial as the team’s top pass catcher, especially with Mike Williams out for the year.
Buffalo Bills vs. Los Angeles Chargers Key Matchups
This won’t be a showdown between Josh Allen and Justin Herbert like the NFL originally anticipated when it was scheduled before the season. However, there are still some intriguing players on both sides of the ball. Let’s take stock of some of the key matchups that will decide the outcome here.
Josh Allen vs. Chargers’ Pass Defense
The biggest mismatch in this game comes from MVP-level passer Josh Allen facing one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL in the Chargers. Allen didn’t have to do much last week as James Cook took the game over with over 220 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. However, Allen still has 26 passing touchdowns, the third-most in the NFL, and is PFF’s highest-graded quarterback this season.
The Raiders’ rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell torched the Chargers last week with 248 passing yards and four touchdowns, and Los Angeles has allowed 261.4 passing yards per game, the third-most in the NFL. However, I expect much more of an inspired effort from the defense this week with Staley out the door and pride to play for after that horrendous showing last week.
JOSH ALLEN SCORES ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN pic.twitter.com/OQ4RCzNaAH
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) November 26, 2023
Easton Stick vs. Bills’ Pass Defense
In his first career start in the NFL, Easton Stick actually played decent football at times last week with 257 passing yards and three touchdowns, but he’s now fumbled four times in two games. He has to find a way to cut down on turnovers this week if the Chargers want to have any chance to play spoiler.
The Bills won’t be a friendly pass defense to Stick, especially with a front line that ranks fourth in ESPN’s pass rush win rates. The Chargers are just 19th in pass block win rate, and they’ll have to keep Stick upright here. Cornerback Rasul Douglas has also been a transformative player for the Bills’ pass defense, and he ranks 7th among 129 qualified corners in PFF’s coverage grades.
Easton Stick finds Josh Palmer for the 79-yard touchdown!
The Chargers are on the board. pic.twitter.com/FkHcgYT9EQ
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 15, 2023