Miami Dolphins (4-4) at San Diego Chargers (4-5)
The Chargers have been one of the most banged up teams in the league in each of the last two seasons. This season, the Chargers have been missing wide receiver Steve Johnson, running back Danny Woodhead, wide receiver Keenan Allen, middle linebacker Manti Te’o, and cornerback Jason Verrett for most, if not all of the season thus far. Joining them this week will be starting middle linebackers Denzel Perryman and Jatavis Brown and starting wide receiver Travis Benjamin.
The Chargers are going into a bye, which is good news from an injury standpoint, as it gives them time to get their players back, but it’s also bad news because it puts them in a bad spot this week. Home favorites of 1 to 5.5 points are just 30-58 ATS before a regular season bye since 2002, as teams tend to get caught looking forward to their week off in this spot. The Chargers are 4.5 point favorites, so they fall right in the range. That’s also too many points, given the Chargers’ injury situation and the fact that the Dolphins are a quality opponent. The Dolphins are 12th in first down rate differential, just a few spots behind the Chargers, who enter this game in 8th. Even banged up and in a bad spot, the Chargers will probably win this game, but 3 in 10 games are decided by 4 points or fewer, so the Dolphins are the right pick if we’re getting 4.5 with them. There’s not enough for me to put money on them though.
San Diego Chargers 23 Miami Dolphins 20
Pick against the spread: Miami +4.5