Last Week: 0-3
All Time Results: 78-76-1, +8.7 Units
Los Angeles Chargers -3 @ Jacksonville Jaguars – .25 Units
Two floundering franchises meet this Sunday in Jacksonville. I’ll take the team staying pat (for now), rather than the one frantically trying to mix things it up.
The Jaguars have lost 4 straight games by 17 points or more. Their two wins prior to this streak: two double-digit victories against the hapless New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals (who sport a 5-19 combined record). Their response to this humiliating month? Bench their SB champion, Nick Foles and go with their 6th round draft pick, rookie QB Gardner Minshew.
I could see a team rallying around a QB change once – or even twice in the same season. But this is the 3rd time they are making a QB switch – once due to Foles’s injury, twice now due to poor performance – and I think the move smacks of desperation. Like they did last year with Blake Bortles, I think the Jaguars quit on Doug Marrone and this coaching staff. Two years removed from covering the spread in the AFC Championship game, Jacksonville now appears rudderless and possibly needs to rethink the Tom Coughlin era.
For their part, the LA Chargers now sit at the bottom of the AFC West after winning 12 games a season ago. The Chargers have played decently, for the most part, this year – belied by their 4-8 record. They are an extremely rare example of a team 4 games under .500 that have actually outscored their opponents. They have a +3 point differential for the season.
Chargers HC, Anthony Lynn has been far better on the road than at home. Lynn is only 37% ATS at home in his 3 years as HC (7-12-1), Meanwhile, he is 65% ATS in away games (13-7-2). While Lynn is definitely facing heat, I think his 57% career winning percentage in LA gives him some buffer. I expect the Chargers to circle the wagons and put their best foot forward once again on the road.
Los Angeles Chargers -9.5 (+205) @ Jacksonville Jaguars – .1 Units
Los Angeles Chargers -13.5 (+300) @ Jacksonville Jaguars – .1 Units
While I like the Chargers to win, I would want no part of this side if I knew for a fact this game was going to be close. From QB Philip Rivers facing his mortality to HC Anthony Lynn increasingly questionable late-game decisions, the Chargers have shown a unique ability to lose games that they’ve statistically dominated.
While their positive point differential is surprising, it’s wouldn’t be were it not for their record. The Chargers came into the season expected to win 9 or 10 games, boasting one of the best rosters in the league on paper with Top 10 talent at every position group. Their poor record comes simply from their Quixotic ability to throw away games late.
Let’s break down their greatest hits: Week 2 – @Lions – fumble at the goal line, then blow a 4th quarter lead. Week 7 – @Tennessee. Same deal reverse order: blow a 4th quarter lead, then fumble at the goal line. Finally, last week @Denver – tie the game with 20 seconds left – only to allow a 40-yard drive on one play due to a horrific penalty.
Pro Bettor, Steve Fezzik made a great point on twitter about this drive. If the Chargers simply tackled the Broncos receivers on that last drive they would only receive a 5-yard holding penalty. Using this strategy, they could have run out the clock until there was only time left for a Hail Mary. We saw Tom Coughlin purposely run 12 defenders onto the field in Super Bowl XLVI because the penalty didn’t hurt him and wasting time was crucial. As it happened, the Chargers somehow lost, ensuring that Anthony Lynn will not make it 3 for 3 recording winning seasons as an NFL Head Coach.
These missteps will undoubtedly put Lynn’s job in jeopardy someday, but I don’t think that day will come this year. Sunday is a perfect opportunity for the real Chargers to show up, rally together and roll.
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