The playoffs start a week early as the final game of the regular season pits the Los Angeles Chargers against the Las Vegas Raiders in a presumed winner-take-all Sunday Night Football affair. Los Angeles is favored in the NFL odds to beat Las Vegas and reach the postseason.
Game: Los Angeles Chargers (9-7) at Las Vegas Raiders (9-7)
Location: Allegiant Stadium
Day/Time: Sunday, 8:20 p.m. ET
Chargers at Raiders: Betting Lines
|Los Angeles||-3 (-115)||-160||49½ (-110o)|
|Las Vegas||+3 (-105)||+140||49½ (-110u)|
The Chargers defeated the Raiders 28-14 in Week 4 at SoFi Stadium. Los Angeles raced to a 21-0 halftime lead as a three-point favorite. Las Vegas made it interesting when Derek Carr threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes, but Austin Ekeler’s second TD of the game sealed it for the Chargers with 5 minutes, 20 seconds remaining. The 52 total proved to be too high. The teams have split the last six meetings, with the straight-up winner also prevailing in the NFL picks against the spread.
Los Angeles Chargers
Next game: TBA
Los Angeles rebounded from an inexplicable loss in Houston with a 34-13 thrashing of Denver behind a pair of touchdown passes by Justin Herbert. The Chargers were covering 8½ in the Las Vegas odds for good 3:33 into the second quarter, so the only drama was the 45 total. The Broncos sent over bettors into a frenzy by scoring the final points with 6:31 to play.
Starting center Corey Linsley left the Broncos game after sustaining a back injury.
Las Vegas Raiders
Next game: TBA
Las Vegas kept its hopes alive of reaching the postseason for the second time in 19 years with a 23-20 upset at Indianapolis as an 8½-point underdog. Daniel Carlson kicked a 33-yard field goal as time expired. The key play in the winning drive was a 24-yard pass to Hunter Renfrow. It was originally called a 48-yard touchdown, but reversed when replay revealed that Renfrow was down by contact. That made the difference for those betting online as the total was 46½.
The offense is expected to receive a boost as tight end Darren Waller returned to practice on a limited basis. The Pro Bowler hasn’t played since Nov. 25 because of a knee injury and a subsequent trip to the reserve/COVID-19 list. All signs indicate that he will be a go.
Betting on the Game
Los Angeles clinches a playoff spot with a win or a tie. Las Vegas makes it with a win, or a tie and an Indianapolis loss, or an Indianapolis loss and Pittsburgh loss or tie. In a bizarre scenario that requires Jacksonville defeating Indianapolis and Pittsburgh beating Baltimore, the Chargers and Raiders would both make the playoffs if they tie.
A high-scoring affair could be in order as Los Angeles’ last five games have gone over, with the club scoring at least 28 points during that span. Meanwhile, Las Vegas’ last three have stayed under. The Raiders have won two straight, both as an underdog.
Some small action showed on Las Vegas, knocking the number down one-half point before Chargers bettors moved it back. Los Angeles has received support on the money line after opening at -150. The total has risen a point. The line could drop a bit once players are more confident that Waller will play.
The Chargers seemed to get their mojo back last week while Las Vegas rose to the occasion to create this dramatic finish to the NFL regular season. It usually comes down to the play of the quarterbacks, so here’s thinking that Herbert takes the next step in his ascent to eliteness. And those who bet the Chargers to win more than nine games hope so, too.