Los Angeles Chargers (5-3) at San Francisco 49ers (4-4)
The 49ers are favored by a touchdown at home against the Chargers, which might seem like a lot if you look at these two teams’ records, but neither team’s record tells the whole story. The Chargers are 5-3, but their only win by more than one score came by 10 points against arguably the worst team in the league in the Houston Texans, while two of their three losses came by 14 points or more, giving them a point differential of -22. The Chargers are even worse than that in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, ranking 27th, 4.5 points below average.
The Chargers had a lot of promise coming into the season, but injuries have been a huge problem for them, leading to them ranking significantly below average in my roster rankings as well, 3.5 points below average, which largely lines up with schedule adjusted efficiency. While center Corey Linsley has returned, the Chargers this week will be without stud left tackle Rashawn Slater, their two talented wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Wallace, stud edge defender Joey Bosa, and expected #1 cornerback JC Jackson, among other lesser injuries.
The 49ers, meanwhile, are getting healthier coming out of their bye week. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tight end George Kittle, and left tackle Trent Williams are all among their best offensive players and all missed time earlier this season, but all three will play this week, a huge boost for an offense that also got a big boost from adding Christian McCaffrey in a trade a few weeks ago. The 49ers’ defense is also getting healthier out of the bye, with linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair and safety Jimmie Ward returning to action.
The 49ers have also played better than their 4-4 record even with all of their injuries, ranking 9th in point differential at +29 and 5th in schedule adjusted efficiency, four points above average. With the reinforcements they have gotten in recent weeks, I have the 49ers 5 points above average, with the Chargers 3.5 points below. That gives us a calculated line of around San Francisco -10, so we’re actually getting some line value with the 49ers, as high as this line is. This isn’t a big play, but the 49ers are worth betting this week and, if this line happens to go down to 6.5, this would become a bigger play.
San Francisco 49ers 27 Los Angeles Chargers 17
Pick against the spread: San Francisco -7