Week 15 is upon us with an AFC West battle between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders.
Since Thanksgiving, we are 36-22 and finding a recipe that works, so let’s strike while the iron’s hot.
It’s time to break it all down in my Chargers at Raiders betting preview. We’ll take a look at the teams, props to consider, and thoughts on the spread. I’ll be using grading from PFF for much of my analysis.
For all picks and props, make sure you’re following (@griffybets) along on Twitter.
Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders
8:20 PM EST, FOX/NFL
Line: Raiders -3
Los Angeles (4-9) overall, (6-7) ATS
The story of the Chargers season has once again been one-score losses and an inability to put games away.
They did win their most recent game, 20-17 over the Falcons, a nice bounce back from the 45-0 lashing they took at the hands of the Patriots.
Their offense comes in ranked an unfavorable 27th, according to PFF. The grade is weighed down from a struggling offensive line that comes in 32nd in run-blocking and 30th in pass protection.
Their passing and receiving grades come in closer to average, and it’s this I’m interested in targeting for the game.
Both are questionable for tonight, so we need to stay vigilant here. If they play, they are both worth pursuing.
Target breakdown (last three weeks):
- Ekeler (34)
- Allen (32)
This is the opportunity we covet when taking props!
Ekeler is expected to play, and Allen has been deemed a gametime decision. We likely won’t have clarity until 7PM.
The Chargers defense is surprisingly above-average, currently ranked 12th in the NFL. Their pass rush and coverage are the two pillars of their defensive success, always a nice foundation to have.
Las Vegas (7-6) overall, (7-6) ATS
The Raiders are fading in the AFC playoff race, with three awful games preceding tonight’s matchup.
- 44-27 loss to the Colts
- Last second win over the winless Jets, 31-28
- 43-6 beatdown from the Falcons
This is not a team I want to bet on to cover or win a game. Their defense is extremely troubling. The Raiders come in ranked 31st in the NFL in total defense, ahead of only Detroit.
As one might imagine for a 31st ranked defense, they are not good at anything. All the grading puts the Raiders at the bottom: run defense, pass rushing, tackling, coverage.
It’s here that we need to find value, in the form of Chargers props.
On the offensive side, they are middling. As you’re about to see, their rushing and receiving grades come in at 17th in the NFL.
Their run-blocking is particularly poor, context for Josh Jacobs averaging less than four yards a carry.
The team’s identity is to pass the ball, so if you’re building a DraftKings lineup or looking for a prop on this side of the ball, it should be in the passing game.
It’s tight end, Darren Waller, gobbling up the targets in the passing game, with 34 in his last three games.
Receiver target breakdown (last three games):
- Agholor (26)
- Renfrow (22)
- Ruggs (12)
I would probably stay away from Ruggs. He’s a catch away from hitting his over, but I prefer volume and opportunity when taking my props.
Chargers at Raiders Betting Preview – Player Props to Target
Before we get to a few props, as always – let’s compare the matchups, according to PFF rankings:
Los Angeles on Offense
Running grade (26) vs. Raiders Rush Defense grade (29) +3
Receiving grade (19) vs. Raiders Pass Coverage grade (25) +6
Las Vegas on Offense
Running grade (17) vs. Chargers Rush defense grade (15) -2
Receiving grade (17) vs. Chargers Pass coverage grade (10) -7
Los Angeles definitely has the edge in all categories tonight, lending credence to picking the dogs to cover the 3-point spread.
This isn’t the type of disparity that would typically get my attention on a packed Sunday slate, but we work with what we’ve got.
I tend to believe a struggling offense is more prone to outperform their ranking when going against a poor defense than vice versa, so my eyes are on the Chargers tonight.
- Austin Ekeler OVER 48.5 receiving yards (-115)
- Austin Ekeler OVER 6.5 Receptions (+110)
Bunching these together, but I like them both. Ekeler is the focal point of this offense, going against an extremely poor defense. The Chargers will look to Ekeler early and often with dump offs and screens and trust that the worst tackling team in the NFL will struggle to contain him.
In the three games since he returned from injury, Ekeler is averaging eight catches a game for 61.3 yards per game.
All in on Ekeler tonight.
Chargers at Raiders Betting Preview – Game Pick
Has this preview skewed enough to the Chargers yet? Surprise, I still like them as we wrap this thing up. Chargers +3.
I’ll gladly take the three points here in what should be a close divisional game. The Raiders haven’t shown much life lately, and I value defensive abilities more so than offensive firepower. The Chargers defense is better than you think and should contain the Raiders, while the Las Vegas defense could be in for a long night if the Chargers are fully healthy.
Hold on placing this bet until the status of Keenan Allen is known. If Allen does not play, I would not take this bet, and instead, focus on Ekeler.
That will do it, stay tuned for my Week 15 player prop preview, and as always, toss me a follow on Twitter and keep this train rolling.