Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots kicks off this Sunday (12/03/23) at 1:00pm EST in Foxborough Massachusetts as a home game for the Patriots. Get Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots predictions and best bets below as our best bet is on the Chargers moneyline.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots Prediction & Best Bet
It is a new era in Foxborough as Mac Jones has once again been benched after another string of underwhelming performances. This time it comes after the most embarrassing performance of the season, throwing for a lowly 89 yards and two interceptions in a loss to the New York Giants. Anytime you lose to a team who is 32nd in Overall DVOA, let alone led by backup Tommy DeVito, that calls for an immediate change of the guard as the Patriots are expected to start Bailey Zappe under center against the Chargers.
To be fair, Bailey Zappe barely serves as an upgrade as he has also underwhelmed in his few mid game stints. That bodes well for a Chargers defense who has mightily struggled in coverage, a unit that ranks 27th in Def Pass DVOA, 28th in Def Pass Success Rate, and 26th in Def Pass EPA. Against a quarterback who struggles to stretch the field, the Chargers back end can creep up in coverage knowing that Zappe will live and breathe off the short throw.
On the other side of the ball, Justin Herbert and his hobbled group of pass catchers are in a great bounce back position as the Patriots have also had their fair share of struggles with coverage. The Patriots secondary ranks 25th in Def Pass DVOA and 21st in Def Pass Success Rate, now having to defend against a Chargers pass attack who clocks in at sixth in Pass DVOA, 11th in Pass Success Rate, and eighth in Pass EPA. The Patriots high blitz rate leaves them exposed across the middle, giving Herbert plenty of open field to work with.
Still, the Chargers lack of coverage is that alarmingly bad to the point it’s near impossible to back them at the current number of -5.5. Even against Zappe who has underwhelmed so far this season, the Patriots offense can hardly get worse in their efforts to move the ball against this weak Chargers defense. That immediately turns my attention towards their moneyline, serving as a valuable piece in a two team moneyline parlay. Pairing them with the Steelers brings the odds to +100, allowing you to bypass both inflated spreads.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots Prediction & Best Bet: Chargers ML
Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots Betting Odds
This contest was once pegged a lot tighter than what the current number implies as oddsmakers originally opened the Chargers as a -1.5 favorite. With the Mac Jones news, as well as the Chargers being in a prime bounce back spot, the spread has since climbed up to -5.5. That zaps all value out of the opener, potentially entering into Wong Teaser territory should they get to -7.
As for the total, oddsmakers believed points would be scored at a sluggish pace as they opened the number at 42.5. Bettors believe points will come at an even slower rate, taking the under down to as low as 40.5. With too much injury uncertainty, as well as the Patriots rolling out Zappe, the total is an immediate pass at the current number.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots Key Injuries
Both injury reports are riddled with big names as Keenan Allen, Rashawn Slater, Ezekiel Elliott, and Trent Brown are all currently listed as questionable heading into this game.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. New England Patriots Key Matchups
Can Austin Ekeler bounce back and give the Chargers ground game a boost in production?
Austin Ekeler Vs. Patriots Rush Defense
Since returning from injury, Austin Ekeler has yet to look like his former self as he continues to underwhelm as the Chargers star dual threat running back. This has dipped their rushing metrics, currently ranking 23rd in Rush DVOA, 31st in Rush Success Rate, and 25th in Rush EPA.
AUSTIN EKELER FUMBLES pic.twitter.com/Mir8Nkc73i
— NFL Retweet (@NFLRT) November 27, 2023
This makes for an intriguing matchup as the Patriots lone source of success has stemmed from their ability to limit the opposing ground game. New England currently ranks fifth in Def Rush DVOA and first in Def Rush Success Rate and Def Rush EPA. With Herbert in a position to stretch the second level of the defense, Ekeler may find himself in a favorable position to take advantage of a wide-open field.