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NFL Free Pick from Linebacker: Chargers vs Steelers

Linebacker chargers steelers

Los Angeles Chargers @ Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT -3.5, O/U 51.5)

Sunday Night Football comes to us from Pittsburgh, where the Steelers will host Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Pittsburgh is currently listed as a 3.5-point favorite at home, but The Linebacker predicts Los Angeles will win outright 53.6 percent of the time. The Linebacker projects a final score of 26.4 - 25.3 in favor of the Chargers, giving us a strong play on the spread. We suggest a wager of $100 on LAC +3.5 for a $100 average bettor.

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Why will Los Angeles cover the spread?

  • LA possesses one of the most well-rounded offenses in the league. The Chargers are top eight in both passing and rushing yards per game, and sit seventh in the NFL in scoring.
  • Pittsburgh is much more pass-heavy, throwing the ball on 66.7 percent of their plays, good for second-most in the NFL. While they have a successful air attack (2nd w/ 325 yards per game), the Chargers have surrendered the seventh-fewest passing yards per game (227) while allowing the seventh-fewest passing touchdowns (16) and sitting ninth in yards per attempt allowed (7.2).
  • Casey Hayward (outside) and Desmond King (slot) are two of the best cornerbacks in football. They should be able to slow down the two-headed monster of Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.
  • The Chargers have an edge in the turnover battle. They’ve posted a +4 mark on the season, having only coughed the ball up 10 times in 11 games. Pittsburgh is -7 in turnover margin this season thanks to 19 giveaways (7th-most).
  • Austin Ekeler shouldn’t be much of a downgrade from Melvin Gordon at running back. Ekeler leads NFL backs with 7.48 yards per touch this season.

How to bet the total in Chargers @ Steelers:

The Linebacker projects a final score of 26.4 - 25.3 in favor of the Chargers. With 51.7 projected points and an OVER/UNDER of 51.5, we have no suggestion for betting the total in this game.

Need-to-know stats for Chargers @ Steelers:

  • 6 catches, 79.2 yards, 0.63 TDs - Antonio Brown
    6 catches, 78.5 yards, 0.38 TDs - JuJu Smith-Schuster
    Brown and Smith-Schuster are two bona fide No. 1 receivers on the same team, and their projections illustrate that fact. They both project to catch six passes for around 79 yards, with an edge going to Brown in the TD department. When we say Hayward and King might be able to slow them down, it doesn’t mean they’ll disappear altogether. They’ll still catch a handful of passes, but the hope is the Chargers can hold them under 100 yards and keep them out of the end zone.
  • 21 touches, 116.2 yards - James Conner has 17 or fewer touches and less than 100 yards in three straight games, but The Linebacker projects he’ll break out of that slump. We project Conner for 17 carries and four receptions, and think he’ll bust through the century mark in yardage against the Chargers.
  • 20-31, 254 yards, 1.47 TDs - Philip Rivers set an NFL record with 25 straight completions to start the game in Week 12, as well as the best completion percentage in a game (96.6%). The Linebacker thinks he’ll take a considerable step back against the Steelers, completing 64.5 percent of his passes for around 250 yards. Rivers averaged 1.47 passing TDs per game in our simulations, so he has a solid chance to keep his streak of 11 straight games with multiple passing TDs alive.