Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-4)
Typically, the rule of thumb with Chargers games is to pick them when they are on the road and pick against them when they are at home. Since moving to Los Angeles, the Chargers have frequently had to play in front of crowds at home that primarily favor the road team, leading to them underperforming the spread at home, but then being underrated when they go on the road. In total, they are 21-14 ATS on the road, as opposed to 13-22 ATS at home.
The Chargers lost last week in Denver, but they were missing a key offensive lineman, Matt Feiler, and he will be back this week. Meanwhile, the Bengals could be down a pair of offensive lineman for the first time this season, with both center Trey Hopkins and right tackle Riley Reiff likely to be out after not practicing this week. The Bengals have the better record at 7-4, as opposed to 6-5 for the Chargers, and they have a much better point differential (+83 vs. -20), but they have also faced a much easier schedule, as the Bengals have faced one of the weakest schedules in the league and the Chargers have faced one of the toughest.
In terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, the Bengals rank 22nd, 18th, 7th, on offense, defense, and special teams respectively, while the Chargers rank 4th, 19th, and 32nd, while holding the edge in mixed efficiency rank, 14th compared to 18th for the Bengals. Despite being the better team and the healthier team, the Chargers are getting a field goal in this game, even though they normally don’t have much trouble going on the road, as they are used to playing in front of hostile crowds even at home. This isn’t a big play, but I like the Chargers against the spread and on the money line.
Los Angeles Chargers 27 Cincinnati Bengals 26 Upset Pick +140
Pick against the spread: LA Chargers +3