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San Diego Chargers Betting Odds Preview

It was the tale of two seasons for the Chargers last year. Heading into Week 14 San Diego was 5-7 and appeared to be going nowhere. Instead, they reeled off four straight wins (including wins over Denver and Kansas City) to sneak into the postseason.

In the playoffs they upset the Bengals in the opening round before their run was ended by the Broncos in a closely-fought battle. The Chargers will be on everyone’s radar this season, but they still have the talent on both sides of the ball to pick up right where they left off last season.

San Diego Chargers Odds to Win AFC West: +500 at Bovada
San Diego Chargers Odds to Win Super Bowl: 40/1 at Bovada
San Diego Chargers Regular Season Win Total: 8 at Bovada
San Diego Chargers Betting Props: Philip Rivers to Win NFL MVP 40/1 at Bovada

After two sub-par seasons Philip Rivers bounced back in a big way last year with one of the best seasons of his career. With a strong set of receivers behind him Rivers should be primed for another strong season. Keenan Allen heads the receiving corps after a massive rookie season with 104 receptions for 1046 yards and eight touchdowns. With Vincent Brown, Eddie Royal, Malcom Floyd and veteran tight end Antonio Gates all returning the Chargers are loaded with options for Rivers.

Nearly as important as Rivers' rebound last season was that running back Ryan Mathews finally stayed healthy for an entire season. Mathews rushed for 1255 yards and six touchdowns, and along with change of pace back Danny Woodhead and new acquisition Donald Brown the Chargers have a three-headed attack out of the backfield.

The Chargers' defense should get a much-needed boost from a key free agent signing, the draft and a big name returning from injury this season. The San Diego pass defense was a major weakness at times last season, as they were 29th in the league versus the pass. To change that the Chargers signed Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Flowers and used their first round draft pick to select cornerback Jason Verrett from TCU. Veteran linebacker Dwight Freeney also returns healthy after injuries limited him to just four games in his first season in San Diego.

Thanks to their surprising run at the end of the season the Chargers were one of the best bets in football last season at 11-6-1 ATS. That included a 6-3-1 ATS record on the road and an 8-3-1 ATS mark as the underdog.

AFC West Odds at Bovada as of August 5

Denver Broncos -300
San Diego Chargers +500
Kansas City Chiefs +600
Oakland Raiders +1800

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The San Diego Chargers suffered their first losing season since 2003 last season, finishing 7-9 SU and ATS. The normally potent offense of the Chargers went cold in 2012, and the front office hopes that quarterback guru Mike McCoy can get things back on track as the team’s new coach.

Odds to Win AFC West: +650 at Bovada
Regular Season Win Total: 7.5 at Bovada
Betting Props: Philip Rivers to win NFL MVP (50/1) at Bovada

San Diego’s identity has usually revolved around a strong passing game and a high-scoring offense in years past, but the offense was actually the main problem for the Chargers in 2012. After getting off to a 3-1 SU and ATS start, the Chargers fizzled out to a 4-8 SU and ATS record over their last 12 games.

For the second straight year, quarterback Philip Rivers struggled. After posting a 92-to-33 touchdown-to-interception ratio from 2008 to 2010, Rivers’ TD-to-INT ratio was 53-to-35 over the last two seasons. His uptick in mistakes and lack of efficiency, coupled with RB Ryan Mathews being virtually non-existent, led San Diego to the second-worst offense in the league last year averaging just 297.3 yards per game.

Enter Mike McCoy, a quarterback expert that got career seasons out of Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow in Denver. McCoy has a lot more to work with in Rivers, and if he can get his quarterback playing up to his potential again, the Chargers could compete for a playoff spot. Draft additions OT DJ Fluker and WR Keenen Allen should make an immediate impact as well.

The defense was a bright spot for San Diego last season, finishing sixth against the run allowing just 96.4 rushing yards per game and ninth overall with 326.4 yards against per game. Considering how much the offense struggled, San Diego’s resiliency on this side of the ball is even more impressive. The unit should be effective again in 2013.

This team will go as far as Philip Rivers will take it. While it would take a near-perfect season to upset Denver for the AFC West title, the Chargers could be a playoff team if Rivers can return to 2010 form.

AFC West Odds at Bovada as of July 31
Denver Broncos -400
Kansas City Chiefs +600
San Diego Chargers +650
Oakland Raiders +2000