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NFL Free Pick: Los Angeles Chargers vs Miami Dolphins

Prediction Machine NFL Free Pick: Los Angeles Chargers vs Miami Dolphins

Los Angeles Chargers vs Miami Dolphins (LAC +2.5, O/U 48.5)

Tua Tagovailoa and Justin Herbert will square off in a rookie QB battle this Sunday in Miami.

Herbert enters having torn up his competition through seven starts, averaging 8.0 yards per attempt and over 300 yards passing per game. The Chargers have failed to turn his brilliance into victories, however, with a 1-6 record since Herbert took over, with all six losses coming by a one-score margin.

The fifth overall selection in this year’s NFL draft is already 2-0 in his starts, but Tua sports a modest 6.7 yards per attempt as the starting signal-caller. His Dolphins are currently listed as 2.5-point favorites over the visiting Chargers, but our model projects a different outcome than the sportsbooks.

Our model is predicting a much more favorable outcome for the visiting Chargers, projecting a final score of 27.9-24.1 in favor of Anthony Lynn’s squad. Therefore, we have a rather sizable edge on Los Angeles with the Chargers listed as 2.5-point underdogs. Our model suggests a $117 wager on CHARGERS +2.5 for an average $100 bettor.

Prediction Machine’s NFL model was 129-75 ATS (63.2%) for +26.85 units and 117-98 (54.4%) on O/Us for +21.04 units in the 2019-20 season, producing a total profit of $4,789. Head over to predictionmachine.com/pricing and sign up to receive every NFL prediction.

Why will Los Angeles cover the spread?

  • The Chargers offense has performed extremely well since Justin Herbert took over under center. His 8.0 yards per pass attempt is tied for eighth in the NFL with Aaron Rodgers, and his 306.6 passing yards per game are the third-most in the league. Shane Steichen’s offense is averaging 5.8 yards per play on the season (13th), sitting well above Miami’s 5.4 yards per play (24th). Los Angeles should have no issues moving the ball against a Dolphins defense allowing 5.8 yards per play (21st).
  • Miami has lost some key pieces to its offense in recent weeks. Myles Gaskin landed on IR prior to Week 9 and Preston Williams joined him following the Dolphins’ matchup with the Cardinals last Sunday. Miami also traded Isaiah Ford to the Patriots ahead of the deadline, so the offensive skill positions have taken a serious hit in recent weeks. Tua could struggle to find open targets against a defense that has hurried opposing QBs at the fifth-highest rate on the season (11.8% of dropbacks).
  • Brian Flores’ defense has blitzed on 41.6 percent of opponent dropbacks, the fourth-highest rate in the league. Justin Herbert has destroyed opponents when they’ve blitzed him this season, posting a monstrous 9.8 yards per attempt and a 6-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (PFF).

How to bet the total in Chargers vs Dolphins:

Prediction Machine’s NFL model projects a final score of 27.9-24.1 in favor of the Chargers. With 52.0 projected points and an OVER/UNDER of 48.5, we have a solid edge on the OVER in this one. Our model suggests a $93 wager on OVER 48.5 for $100 average bettors.

Need-to-know stats for Chargers vs Dolphins:

  • 8 catches, 94.9 yards, 0.46 TDs - Keenan Allen paces the Chargers in nearly every relevant receiving stat on the season. His 29.8 percent target share not only leads the team but is second among all NFL players, behind only Davante Adams (34.1%). His 62 receptions are also second in the NFL, behind only Stefon Diggs. We’re projecting Allen to have another efficient and productive outing against a Miami secondary that has allowed the 11th-most catches and seventh-most yards to opposing wide receivers this season. Allen has surpassed 95 receiving yards in four of Herbert’s seven starts this season, and we’re projecting him to approach that mark once again Sunday.
  • 23/39, 300.1 yards, 1.61 TDs, 0.80 INTs (Herbert), 22/35, 226.4 yards, 1.47 TDs, 0.50 INTs (Tagovailoa) - All eyes will be on these two rookie quarterbacks on Sunday. Our model is projecting a more efficient afternoon for the sixth overall pick (7.69 ypa) compared to the fifth overall selection (6.47 ypa). We’re also projecting Herbert to just barely reach the 300-yard mark, which would give him his fifth 300-yard game of the season. We’re expecting Tua to struggle a bit with his limited array of weapons, as a 6.47 yards per pass attempt average would rank 28th out of 33 qualified QBs on the season. Ultimately, it’s projecting to be a much better fantasy outing for Justin Herbert in this one, as he enters this matchup fourth among QBs with 25.06 fantasy points per game.