10-4-1 on the season, Fabian Sommer had a rare loser last week but is confident of a bounce-back this weekend siding with a home divisional favourite!
We lost with the Under 49.5 in the Bucs/Falcons game last week, pushing our season-long record of this column to 10-4-1. We are back at it with an AFC West matchup.
The first game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Denver Broncos was a painful experience for me.
I was able to grab Chargers -2.5 early in the week and throughout the game, the Bolts collected leads of 24-3 and 27-17, only to lose on the final play of the game, via a touchdown pass from Drew Lock to KJ Hamler, after a questionable call for defensive pass interference. The Chargers dominated that game for the most part but fell victim in garbage time.
That’s not an excuse for a losing bet, it’s just the way it goes. On a different occasion, I’d get lucky.
Since the Chargers were the better team for the most part back then, what has changed? A lot.
The starting cornerbacks for the Broncos were A.J. Bouye, Bryce Callahan, Michael Ojemudia and Essang Bassey. Bouye is a quality outside cornerback, Callahan is maybe the best slot cornerback in the league.
Only one of them, Ojemudia – a rookie – will be available this week.
Last week, the Broncos featured De’Vante Bausby (practice squad), Ojemudia and Will Parks (converted safety) at the important position.
They got shredded. The Bills punted one single time.
Whereas the passing game of the Chargers is not quite on the same level as Buffalos, it’s pretty good.
Justin Herbert is campaigning for Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY) and he ranks 12th in EPA/dropback.
Keenan Allen and Mike Williams should be a lot healthier after ten days of rest, and guys like Tyron Johnson and Jalen Guyton have established themselves as top-notch complementary pieces.
Denver has such a cluster injury at cornerback that they won’t be able to cover Allen, Williams and Johnson. The Bolts can put Keenan Allen in the slot against a converted safety. They can put Mike Williams on De’Vante Bausby or rookie Michael Ojemudia. RT Bryan Bulaga looks on track to be back after his concussion. Herbert should be able to move the ball with ease.
On the other side, there’s Drew Lock. He ranks 30th out of 36 qualifying quarterbacks in EPA/dropback and 35th out of 39 qualifying signal-callers in PFF passing grade. Will he take a major step forward in his 3rd season? Possible, but the probability is extremely low. It’s just not been good so far.
From the eye test and my memory, he has had three solid games this year – against New England, Atlanta and Carolina. Against the Patriots, he suffered from a lot of drops from his receivers.
Both the Panthers and Patriots defenses rank in the bottom-third against the pass this year. The Falcons shut him down for three quarters and then gave up three TDs in the fourth quarter in garbage time. This isn’t enough to convince me.
The Chargers were already the better squad in the first game and now the Broncos are dealing with arguably the worst cluster injury possible.
Los Angeles has the better matchups on both sides of the ball.
I understand that most people will be hesitant to lay the points with Anthony Lynn. But this is too good of a matchup to pass.
My number for this game is Chargers -5.5, so I am happy to bet into -3. When Bulaga, Allen and Williams show positive injury statuses for the game, I would not be surprised to see this line moving towards 4.
- Los Angeles Chargers -3 (-114 / 1.88)