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Chargers Hoping to Crush the Crummy Cardinals at Home

Damion Square

The Los Angeles Chargers were quietly one of the best teams in the league heading into last weekend, but they took a step back when they lost on a last-second field goal to the Broncos at home. It was their first loss of the season to a team not named the Rams or Chiefs. They have a great opportunity to bounce back Sunday when they take on the lowly Cardinals, a team that is absolutely abysmal offensively.

The Chargers opened as 12-point favorites at home while the total sits at 45.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Chargers’ last four games (avg. combined score: 38.0).
  • The Cardinals are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven games as underdog.
  • The Cardinals are 5-25 SU and 10-18-2 ATS in their last 30 games on the road vs teams with winning records.

Cardinals vs Chargers Game Center

My Pick: Chargers will cover the spread

There’s a plethora of quarterbacks this season who are having career years, but Philip Rivers’ name seems to get lost in the mix compared to guys like Patrick Mahomes and Drew Brees who are having historic seasons. Regardless, the Chargers gunslinger deserves some major respect.

Rivers is on pace to set career highs in QB rating and passing touchdowns, and his completion percentage and passing yards aren’t far off personal bests either. He’s playing as well as he ever has, and I expect him to come out firing against the Cardinals to make up for the frustrating loss he suffered to the Broncos last week.

He isn’t the only one on the offense who is on track to set career highs. Running back Melvin Gordon is also on pace to break personal records in just about every rushing and receiving statistic. He stands sixth in the league among running backs in yards from scrimmage and is the perfect complement to Rivers’ passing attack.

The Chargers lead the NFL in net yards per play this season, which is a statistic that many football bettors like to look at to get a better understanding of how a team is performing. The stat deducts the number of yards allowed per play on defense from the number of yards gained per play on offense. Los Angeles leads the entire league with a +1.2-yard differential, while the Cardinals rank second-last with a -1-yard differential.

Our Super Computer agrees with me on this pick as well, as it has the Chargers covering the spread by a mile and beating Arizona by 31 points.

It’s also interesting to note that underdogs are 83-68-8 ATS so far this season, so I expect these numbers to start to even out in the coming weeks considering from 2013 to 2017 they covered only 49.7 percent of the time compared to covering in 54.9 percent of games this season. Fading underdog spreads may be a viable option moving forward.

The Chargers can certainly put up points, but what makes me most confident in taking them to beat the spread is how horrific the Cardinals offense is.

The Cardinals offense is the worst in the league

If it wasn’t for the Cardinals’ adequate defense, they would most likely be winless right now and on pace for a historically bad season because their offense is completely dreadful. Instead of describing the numerous statistical categories that the Cards are terrible in, allow me to just list them for you.

Offensive statistics that the Cardinals rank dead last in:
  • Yards per game (240.8)
  • Time of possession (25:46)
  • 1st downs per game (14.4)
  • 3rd-down percentage (29%)
  • Rushing yards per game (78.8)
  • Yards per rush (3.6)
  • FG % (67)

In just about every stat that isn’t listed above, they’re second-last to the Bills. This includes points per game (14.5), yards per play (4.2) and passing yards per game (162).

Arizona’s rookie quarterback Josh Rosen has shown flashes of competence, but he’s having an overall rough rookie season. He has the worst completion percentage among current starting QBs at 54.8, and he’s already thrown for 10 interceptions, which has resulted in a gross quarterback rating of 68.5.

The numbers truly do speak for themselves. The Cardinals offense is atrocious. Barring this game taking place in Bizarro World, the Chargers will only need to score in the 20s to beat the Cardinals and cover the spread.

My take on the total

I like the UNDER in this game. The total has gone UNDER in the Chargers’ last four games, with an average score of 38 points, which is seven points below the current set total of 45.

The main reason why I like the UNDER is that I don’t trust the Cardinals to score enough points. The Chargers will have to put up 30-plus for the OVER to hit, but that will be a tough challenge considering Arizona’s defense isn’t nearly as bad as its offense. It ranks in the middle of the league in most statistics.

The Cardinals team total has yet to be posted but if it’s 14 points or higher, I would recommend taking the UNDER on their team total as well.

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