San Diego Chargers (4-5) at Miami Dolphins (4-5)
The Chargers are in an obvious sandwich game spot here in between a loss at home for Denver and a game in Kansas City next week. Teams are 74-95 ATS since 2008 as favorites in between a loss as underdogs and another game in which they will be underdogs. Since 1989, teams are 29-45 ATS as road favorites in between a loss as underdogs and another game in which they will be underdogs. Road favorites are 37-50 ATS off of a home loss as underdogs since 1989. Also since 1989, non-divisional favorites are 24-40 ATS off a loss as divisional underdogs before being divisional underdogs again. It makes sense. Why would San Diego put forth a ton of effort for Miami in between arguably the two biggest games of their season?
However, Miami could also still be very distracted with the whole Incognito/Martin situation. At the same time, enough time might have passed that they are more motivated to silence their critics than distracted, especially after last week’s embarrassing loss in Tampa Bay. It’s really tough to know and that makes this a tough pick. Also, Miami is not as good as their record. Distractions weren’t the only reason Miami lost in Tampa Bay. They are moving the chains at a 70% rate, as opposed to 76% for their opponents. Their off-season spending spree has not paid off and being without two starters on their offensive line doesn’t help. The Chargers, meanwhile, are moving the chains at an 82% rate, as opposed to 80% for their opponents. That suggests they should be favored by about 3.5. I’m going to take San Diego on pure talent, but I’m not confident at all.
San Diego Chargers 27 Miami Dolphins 23
Pick against spread: San Diego -1.5