San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
The Chargers’ offense continues to be bitten by the injury bug. After finishing last season with the 8th most adjusted games lost to injury of any offense in the league, the Chargers lost #1 wide receiver Keenan Allen for the season week 1 and running back Danny Woodhead (the Chargers’ leader in yards from scrimmage in 2015) for the season with a torn ACL week 2. They will also be without veteran tight end Antonio Gates in this one, while rookie defensive end Joey Bosa (the 3rd overall pick in the draft) remains sidelined with a hamstring on defense.
Despite that, they still won at home last week, by the final score of 38-14 against a capable though mediocre Jaguars team. They’re more talented overall than last season, so they can withstand injuries better. Plus, even with all of their injuries last season, they outgained their opponents by 158 yards on the season and went 4-12 largely as a result of bad luck and things that are easy to clean up (close losses, long return touchdowns, missed tackles on special teams).
The Colts are not much better than the Jaguars and they too are dealing with injuries. While Vontae Davis, Henry Anderson, and Trent Cole are expected to return from injury this week, they could be limited; Davis and Anderson are making their season debuts, the latter after a late 2015 ACL tear. They’re also still without #2 and #3 cornerbacks Patrick Robinson and Darius Butler and will additionally be without starting wide receiver Donte Moncrief and right guard Denzelle Good with injury this week. An old team in general, especially on defense, the Colts have one of the weaker rosters in the NFL, outside of the quarterback position. This game is in Indianapolis, but the Chargers have covered in 7 of their last 9 road games. The Chargers don’t get great home crowds, so it makes sense that they would be travel well (they’re also 3-6 ATS in their last 9 home games).
On top of that, the Colts could be distracted with a game in London on deck; teams are just 6-18 ATS all-time before a game in London. It makes sense that a long trip would serve as a big distraction. I wish this line hadn’t moved from the full field goal it was at last week on the early line. We lost all line value as a result of the Chargers’ big win last week. The line is now between 1-2 points. It doesn’t really matter what this line is as long as it’s under 3, as about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal. I think the Chargers will win straight up, but not enough to take them confidently as favorites of less than a field goal. If you need something to bet on in this game, the money line is a good idea at +110. This game seems like a toss up at worst for the Chargers.
San Diego Chargers 27 Indianapolis Colts 24 Upset Pick +110
Pick against the spread: Indianapolis +1.5