Multiple Hurdles Make the Bolts a Tough Buy in Their 1st Season in LA

Angelinos once again after spending more than 50 years in San Diego, the Chargers are set to play their next 16 home games at the 30,000-seat StubHub Center, a much more intimate setting than the stadium the organization left behind near the Mexican border.

Leaving Mike McCoy in the wake of the move, the Chargers will have a fresh face patrolling the sidelines with Anthony Lynn taking the head coaching reins after two sub-.500 seasons in San Diego. Lynn’s only previous experience as a head coach came at the tail end of last season when the longtime NFL subordinate filled the void left by Rex Ryan when he and brother Rob were relieved of their duties before the Bills’ final game of 2016.

With injuries plaguing the Bolts a year ago, unanswered questions regarding a rookie-led coaching staff are not the only mysteries that haunt a team that hasn’t won a division title since 2009. There’s no doubt that the Chargers have themselves a talented roster for the upcoming campaign but a potential season-ending knock to first-round draft pick Mike Williams has put the pressure squarely on Keenan Allen’s brittle shoulders in the receiving corps and if the injury bug continues to run through the Bolts locker room, it could be another year of “what-ifs” for LA’s newest pro club.

Here’s what the odds at Sportsbook are saying the Powder Blues are capable of in 2017:

Super Bowl +5000

This seems like an ambitious goal for a franchise that’s had to deal with more than its fair share of off-field narratives and that still has Philip Rivers under center.

Before you start throwing stats at me about Rivers’ touchdowns and passing yards over the last four seasons, take a look at his 51-61 win/loss record since he and the Bolts bowed out in the divisional round of the 2009 playoffs after a 13-3 campaign. My calculations tell me that, in fact, is not good.

The Chargers have made the playoffs just once in that seven-year span during which Rivers has thrown 111 interceptions. Phil’s decision-making only seems to be worsening – judging by his fear of prophylactics – and unless you’ve suffered some kind of psychotic episode, I will publicly berate and belittle you if you suggest he has a chance to beat Tom Brady and the Patriots in a postseason matchup.

Week 8 will see the two signal-callers go head-to-head at Gillette Stadium and if by some miracle the Bolts come away with a win in New England, you may hear me change my tune to something a little more mellow.

To Make the Playoffs +225                                            

Let’s not kid ourselves, the Raiders are winning the AFC West and pretending the Bolts have a shot at the division is a childish fantasy.

A playoff berth for the Chargers in Year 1 of their Hollywood venture would mark a massive success for a club that’s trying to exit a vicious tailspin. A tough schedule paired with a high turnover rate will make competing in the AFC West an arduous task for LA in 2017 and the ceiling for this team is likely a 9-7 season that could see it qualify for the postseason in one of the two AFC wild-card spots.

How fun would a Chargers playoff game be in that tiny stadium built for a Major League Soccer team? I’m betting this prop for no other reason than that but I could easily see this team finishing 6-10 if the bounces don’t go their way.

Win Total – 7.5

Another sharp line from those sharp cookies in Vegas makes either side of this bet tough to stomach. I think you’re getting much better value on the yes option for whether or not the Chargers will make the playoffs because if they get over that 7.5-win total, the chances are good they’ll sneak into the postseason with so many teams in the conference projected to finish below the 8-8 mark.

Philip Rivers to Lead the NFL in Passing Yards +1600

I may not be a fan of Rivers or his propensity to absolutely lose his mind but there’s nothing not to like about his +1600 line to lead the NFL in passing yards. Phil still has a rocket for an arm and he’s not afraid to use it.

He’s finished in the top eight in passing yards all of the past four seasons and more than half of the 4,386 yards he threw for last year were caught by receivers you’d never even heard of before. A healthy Keenan Allen – knock on wood – makes the Bolts receiving corps legitimately dangerous after Phil and Tyrell Williams developed some chemistry in 2016. I like Phil to top 4,500 yards for the fourth time in his career and finish somewhere in the top three in this statistic.

It’s more than likely that everyone will be chasing the defending champ Drew Brees in this department but the former Charger is approaching that age where quarterbacks like to fall off a steep cliff with no warning.

2017 Los Angeles Chargers Futures Odds
Market Odds
Super Bowl +5000
AFC Championship +2000
AFC West +400
Win Total  7.5

Odds as of August 19 at Sportsbook