Los Angeles Chargers NFL Betting Preview: Swimming Upstream Without Philip Rivers

Posted on: September 7, 2020, 08:48h. 

Last updated on: September 8, 2020, 07:48h.

Most football fans love the Los Angeles Chargers’ powder-blue uniforms. Most football fans, however, have little love for the team.

Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor
In nine seasons, Tyrod Taylor has thrown 54 touchdowns vs. 20 interceptions. He beat out first-round pick Justin Herbert to be the Chargers’ starter. (Image: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports)

That’s especially true for this season, as they chase the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West.

The previous 14 seasons, quarterback Philip Rivers put up prolific statistics, but only modest win totals. In his career, he guided the Chargers to only one AFC Championship Game. Over his last 10 seasons, they reached the playoffs only twice and had just one season of 10-plus wins.

With Rivers signing with the Indianapolis Colts in free agency, Tyrod Taylor — for now, anyway ––will take the reins of the Charges’ offense. Taylor is not Patrick Mahomes.

The Chargers range from +3,500 to win the Super Bowl at BetMGM to +6,000 at Westgate SuperBook.

Over/Under: 8.0 Wins

With the change at quarterback, the Chargers have to squint to see the Chiefs, who are running circles around the AFC West.

I don’t think there’s a lot of excitement for the second team in Los Angeles,” said Andrew Mannino, the senior sports content analyst at PointsBet, to Casino.org.

“Obviously, losing Rivers, despite what was a moderately successful run, even if it didn’t end in a championship there, combined with having to play what looks like the best team that we’ve seen in a while out in Kansas City, there’s just not a lot of interest in the Chargers at any price,” Mannino continued.

Sportsbooks are split between 7.5 and 8.0 wins for the over/under.

At PointsBet, it’s eight wins, with -115 on the over and -105 on the under. At DraftKings, it’s 7.5 wins with -141 on the over and +115 on the under.

The Chiefs are overwhelming favorites to win the division. At FanDuel, for instance, Kansas City is -420 to win the AFC West, while the Chargers are +700. At PointsBet, the Chargers are +850.

It’s Taylor Time

Los Angeles used the sixth overall draft pick on Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert. Taylor, however, will get the starting nod for Sunday’s opener against Denver. This is Taylor’s 10th year in the NFL. He started for Buffalo in 2015, 2016, and 2017, but only three games since. He threw only six passes last season as Rivers’ backup.

Taylor is barely a blip on the MVP radar. He’s +15,000 at DraftKings.

Defense will be the Chargers’ identity. With Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, they have one of the best edge tandems in the NFL. With Casey Hayward and Chris Harris, they have one of the top pairs of cornerbacks as well.

Bosa has 40 sacks in four seasons, including 11.5 sacks last season. At PointsBet, Bosa and Houston’s J.J. Watt are +1,200 and tied for the third-shortest odds for Defensive Player of the Year. There’s a lot of variances, though, with Bosa +2,500 at FanDuel.

The Chargers made three big additions to their defense with Harris, mammoth defensive tackle Linval Joseph, and first-round linebacker Kenneth Murray. Murray is tied for third on BetMGM’s Defensive Rookie of the Year Board at +1,100.

In three seasons, Anthony Lynn has led the Chargers to records of 9-7 in 2017, 12-4 in 2018, and 5-11 in 2019. He is +2,800 to win Coach of the Year at PointsBet, MGM, and DraftKings.

Editor’s Note: This is the 26th of 32 NFL team previews and the second of four on the AFC West.