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Betting Preview: Pittsburgh Steelers vs Los Angeles Chargers

Oddsmakers aren’t sure what to make of Devlin Hodges ahead of his first career start against the Chargers. 

Matchup Information
  • Pittsburgh Steelers vs Los Angeles Chargers (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: October 13, 8:20 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: NBC
  • Opening Odds: Los Angeles -5.5 | O/U 43.5 (Line History)

Opening Odds Analysis

The Chargers opened as 5.5-point home favorites, but the consensus point spread ticked up to Los Angeles -6. Pittsburgh’s moneyline opened at +196 and the point total at 43.5 before a 2-point dip down to 41.5.

Los Angeles fell to 2-3 straight up and 1-3-1 against the spread after a lackluster effort against the previously winless Broncos. The Steelers fell to 1-4 SU, but picked up the Week 5 PUSH to move to 2-2-1 ATS.

While the Chargers are 27-3 SU in their last 30 home games when favored by 6 or more points, they’re 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games under those conditions and 0-4-1 ATS in their last five home games overall. With rookie Devlin Hodges set to make his first career start at quarterback, previous Steelers betting trends don’t carry as much weight. Yet, the fact the spread isn’t higher either shows respect for Hodges or incredulity toward the 2019 Chargers.

Pittsburgh News & Notes

No two ways about it, Mason Rudolph’s “concussion” will go down as one of the scariest injuries in modern NFL history.

Undrafted rookie quarterback Devlin Hodges is the next man up for the Steelers. The all-time leading passer out of Samford and FCS Walter Payton Award winner started the season on the practice squad but was promoted to the 53-man following Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury. Hodges performed well in relief of Rudolph, completing seven of nine passes for 68 yards and running two times for 20.

However, after the Broncos just ran all over the Chargers’ front seven for 191 yards, don’t be surprised to see a heavy dose of James Conner and Jaylen Samuels this Sunday. Pittsburgh was held to just 77 rush yards by Baltimore a week after carving up the Bengals. Controlling the clock with a rookie quarterback will be crucial, especially after the Steelers lost time of possession to Baltimore 39-26.

While Pittsburgh’s pass defense has improved in recent weeks, their rush D remains a sieve. After allowing 138 rush yards to Baltimore, they’ve now allowed 126.3 over their past three contests and 125.8 on the season. If anything, they’re consistently bad.

Los Angeles News & Notes

Los Angeles waited a long time for Melvin Gordon to return from a contract holdout and when he finally suited up and played, he laid one big egg. Did they force instead of ease him into their game plan? Granted, you could give Gordon the benefit of the doubt as the Chargers fell behind 17-0 early in the game against the Broncos. However, Denver just allowed 225 rush yards to Jacksonville’s Leonard Fournette two weeks ago and Gordon couldn’t even muster 3.0 yards per carry.

Perhaps, Austin Ekeler is the better option in the near term until L.A.’s primary back knocks the rust off. The dynamic RB2 tied Keenan Allen’s franchise record with 15 receptions against the Broncos but did fumble at the goal line right before the half. In fact, the Chargers committed two red-zone turnovers in their 20-13 loss to the Broncos. It was the first time in 56 games the Chargers offense was held without a touchdown.

Through their first five games, the Chargers have eked out a home win against the Colts, lost at Detroit, lost at home to the Texans, nearly went to halftime tied with the Dolphins, and were embarrassed by the Broncos on their home turf. What is this team? Far from trustworthy with a wager, if you ask me.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The Chargers are 11-2-1 ATS in their last 14 games after an ATS loss.

Betting Pick: UNDER

I don’t trust the Chargers to cover a touchdown or more and Hodges is a wild card entering a prime-time game. Is he a Gardner Minshew or a Luke Falk? I lean on the UNDER.

For more on the pick, hit me up on Twitter @FreelanceFowler

Shark Bites
  • The Chargers are 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 hosting an East Coast team.
  • Pittsburgh is 1-5-1 ATS in its last 7 road games vs teams with losing records.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of LA’s last 5 at home vs an East Coast team.