San Diego Chargers (2-4) at Atlanta Falcons (4-2)
I’m torn on this one. On one hand, the Chargers are in a tough spot. Because of a weird scheduling quirk, this road game against the Falcons is wedged between two meetings in a three week period with division rival Denver on San Diego’s schedule. The Chargers won last week at home in upset fashion and then have to travel to Denver next week after this game, where the early line has them as 7 point road underdogs. That puts San Diego in a couple of bad spots. For one, teams are 53-76 ATS off of a win as home underdogs, as teams tend to be overconfident and/or overvalued off of a victory like that. Two, underdogs of 6 or more are 47-74 ATS since 2012 before being underdogs of 6 or more again, as the Chargers likely will be next week. The Falcons are a quality opponent and the Chargers could easily not be as focused as they need to be to keep this one close, given how bad of a spot this is for them.
On the other hand, the Chargers almost never get blown out. I know this line is only 6 and a 7+ point win isn’t necessarily a blowout, but the Chargers have lost just 3 games by more than 8 points in the last two seasons combined and just 8 games by more than 6 points. They’ve been especially good on the road, where they’re 8-3 ATS in the past 2 seasons and haven’t lost been more than 7 points in any of their previous 9 road games. The Chargers enter this game incredibly banged up, with key guys like Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, and Jason Verrett out for the season, but they’re still playing pretty well. Despite their 2-4 record, they rank 7th in first down percentage differential and haven’t lost by more than 6 points all season. That’s actually one spot better than the 4-2 Falcons, who rank 8th in that metric. I’m taking the Chargers, but I’m not confident in them at all because they’re in a terrible spot.
Atlanta Falcons 31 San Diego Chargers 27
Pick against the spread: San Diego +6