Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) at Oakland Raiders (2-3)
When I saw Derek Carr was going to be play, I was excited because I thought we’d be getting a significant amount of points with the Chargers, which would have made this a great betting opportunity. The Raiders are obviously better with Carr out there, but Carr is likely not 100% just 2 weeks into a 2-6 week recovery timeline and re-injury is a possibility with this type of back injury. On top of that, the Raiders are in a tough spot with a game against the Chiefs on Thursday night on deck, as favorites are just 59-90 ATS before Thursday Night Football since 2008.
The Raiders also face an underrated Chargers team this week, so it won’t be an easy return for Carr. The Chargers are just 1-4, but 3 of those losses came by a combined 7 points and they’ve basically had to play 5 road games this season given how few fans they attract in their new home in Los Angeles, so they’re a lot more talented than their record suggests. They’re still around middle of the pack in my roster rankings and they rank 9th in the NFL in first down rate at +2.99%.
However, this line opened at 4, so we’re not getting as many points with the Raiders as I would have expected. I was expecting this line to be about 6 or 6.5, but the oddsmakers might have worried about too much sharp action at that number. I’m still taking the Chargers because they play a lot of close games (12 of last 25 losses by 4 points or fewer) and because the Raiders are in a tough spot with Thursday Night Football on deck, but we aren’t getting enough line value to bet on the Chargers confidently.
Oakland Raiders 23 Los Angeles Chargers 20
Pick against the spread: LA Chargers +4