Los Angeles Chargers (6-5) at Las Vegas Raiders (4-7)
The Chargers are 6-5, but their six wins have come by a combined 24 points, while their five losses have come by a combined 54 points, giving them a point differential of -30. They’re even worse in terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, ranking 27th in the NFL, about four points below average, which is more predictive than point differential. They got talented wide receiver Keenan Allen back from injury a couple weeks ago, but they still remain without their other talented wide receiver Mike Williams, stud left tackle Rashawn Slater, talented starting center Corey Linsley, expected top cornerback JC Jackson, and stud edge defender Joey Bosa, who would be among their best and most important players if healthy.
The Raiders are missing a pair of key offensive playmakers, tight end Darren Waller and slot receiver Hunter Renfroe, but their defense gets back their top cornerback Nate Hobbs from a 6-game absence this week, a big boost for a unit that got a big boost a few weeks ago when top linebacker Denzel Perryman returned after missing 3 games. They also have a better point differential (-11) than the Chargers, despite being a couple games behind them in the standings. In terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, the Raiders rank 20th, 2.5 points above the Chargers, and they have a 5-point edge over the Chargers in my roster rankings as well.
Despite that, the Raiders are only 1-point favorites at home. My calculated line suggests they should be favored by 4, so we’re getting great line value with them at -1. The only reason this isn’t a bigger play is because the Raiders are coming off of back-to-back overtime games, a spot in which teams cover at just a 40.6% rate all-time, but that’s over a sample size of just 33 games, so it’s not enough to convince me not to bet on the Raiders at least somewhat. This isn’t a big play, but the Raiders are still worth a bet.
Las Vegas Raiders 24 Los Angeles Chargers 20
Pick against the spread: Las Vegas -1