Week 15 sports betting action kicks off on the final Thursday Night Football game of the season. The Los Angeles Chargers travel to Vegas to try and play spoiler against the AFC West division rival Raiders. The BetUS NFL injury report breaks down everything you need to know about the wounded leading into the final primetime Thursday.
|Game: Los Angeles Chargers (4-9) vs Las Vegas Raiders (7-6)
Location: Allegiant Stadium
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
When these two met in Week 9, the sportsbook set the Las Vegas Raiders as slight, one-point favorites. They won 31-26, cashing the over on the total of 52½. This round, they’ve bumped the NFL odds a point or so in the Raiders’ favor.
Chargers vs Raiders Game Betting Lines
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers bring a bunch of new injuries to their report this week. Starting WR Keenan Allen quietly left Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons after sustaining a hamstring injury. He’s listed questionable, but did limited practice in their Wednesday walkthrough and insists he’s a go.
Not so clear for WR Mike Williams whose back flared up before last Sunday’s game. He tried to start, but came out after only two plays and was done for the day. He was limited on the final day of practice, and should be the first name to check on the inactives list an hour or so before kickoff.
Also, starting running back Austin Ekeler injured his quadricep in that game, which limited him in this week’s practice and earned him a questionable designation. It’s thought he’ll be able to play, but check his availability.
TE Hunter Henry (hip) showed up on this week’s report as questionable, but he cleared the final report on Wednesday after a full practice.
Starting RT Bryan Bulaga lasted exactly three snaps into last Sunday’s game against the Falcons before sustaining a concussion. What’s known of his status was cleanly swept under the rug on Tuesday, as the team also placed him on the IR-C. At any rate, he won’t be playing Thursday, already declared out on the injury report.
Starting RG Trai Turner lasted a lot longer, but also couldn’t finish, eventually putting backup Cole Toner next to Bulaga’s replacement Storm Norton for the final couple of Chargers’ possessions. Turner fortunately cleared the final injury report and is expected to play, but does list the rarely-seen “neck/eye” injury description.
They’re still waiting to get OT Trey Pipkins from the IR-C, but even though he’s now spent over a week on it, it’s thought he won’t be back for this game either.
The Rest of the Mess
It looks like at least one more week before the return of MLB Denzel Perryman (back). He’s listed doubtful again. As is S Nasir Adderley, whose shoulder injury from the last game kept him limited in an already limited practice week.
A few players, notably DE Joey Bosa (shin) worked their way off the injury report. Bosa’s availability was a bigger concern because behind him, Uchenna Nwosu (back/shoulder) enters this match questionable after he took a bad hit on Sunday.
Finally, on offense, the Chargers should see the return of RB Troymaine Pope (neck) and depth-WR and kick returner Joe Reed (ribs). Both missed last week and have been cleared of an injury designation after returning to full practice.
Las Vegas Raiders
What fun we have on the Las Vegas professional football team!
Like how starting running back Josh Jacobs put up a sarcastic Instagram post roughly an hour before the game (and after the inactives list was released) muddying the waters as to whether his ankle injury would keep him out of the game Sunday. (He played despite quite a bit of uncertainty he wouldn’t.)
Betting markets and fantasy players are excited to welcome this new era of social-media driven pregame confusion and disinformation.
After the game in which the Colts hung 44 points on them, they canned defensive coordinator Paul Guenther. The team named defensive-line coach Rod Marinelli to take his interim duties. (His name sure seems familiar in that didn’t-win-any-games 2008 Lions’ kind of way.)
They’ll be keeping it simple for Marinelli by limiting his defensive options, since a bunch of them are dropping like flies. Even before their last game, they moved S Jeff Heath to the injured reserve for a concussion he sustained the previous week. They had already scratched CB Damon Arnette earlier in the week for the same reason.
Now, S Jonathan Abram and LB Nicholas Morrow emerge from that Colts game both on the concussion protocol. Adding to the woes, DE Clelin Ferrell sustained a shoulder injury last Sunday as well. The Raiders have declared all of them out for Thursday’s game.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Marinelli. CB Isaiah Johnson managed to rehab from a groin strain, played last game and is off the injury report. They also designated DK Takk McKinley to return from injured reserve and they signed DE Vic Beasley to the active roster. (Ok, that’s pretty cold comfort.)
Meanwhile coach Jon Gruden says he’s done making excuses, and goes on to list a number of injured players, all of which sounds remarkably like excuses.
Gruden: "I’m not here to make any excuses … Kwiatkoski had injuries. Littleton had coronavirus. Morrow has a concussion. Abram’s been in & out. Arnette's been out most of the year. Heath is out. Joyner had coronavirus. Collins is on IR. Hurst had coronavirus. Ferrell's hurt."
— Vic Tafur (@VicTafur) December 15, 2020
Let’s not leave the offense unaffected. The team placed star WR Henry Ruggs on the IR-C on Tuesday. It’s not known if he tested positive or was simply a close contact, but for this Thursday’s game, that point is moot in regard to his availability because he won’t clear the protocol in time. (He really ties the room together.)
The Chargers are well aware they’re in the position to derail the Raiders’ season who sit a game behind the Ravens and Titans in earning a wild-card berth. Las Vegas took money when they opened as a 3-point favorite and bettors bought them up to 3½-points as the markets widely opened on Monday. Since then, support came back for the Chargers, enough to take the hook off, and it’s now Raiders -3 -115.
Markets hit the total, opening at the nosebleed number of 55, to the under. It was bet to a low of 53 and has since notched up a half point.
If the Raiders defense didn’t hobble back into this week, the play would have been to back them even with Rod Marinelli. But between losing four starters and having the Chargers rehab enough of their offense to put on board a plane to Vegas, we’d expect the money to keep coming for Los Angeles.
Can’t do it — not with these Chargers. Every week their special-teams’ disasters increase in intensity, and though it would seem like they can’t possibly field an even more incredible submission to NFL Follies, that’s exactly what they’ve done for three straight weeks. We don’t expect them to repeat the play with, like, 18 dudes on the field while the kicker looks like he’s at practice as the clock winds to zeros and every referee is tossing laundry. Even if that never happens again — and it did at the end of last Sunday’s first half — we’ll continue to fade the Chargers.
At the same time, laying three with the wounded Raiders in this spot is no great shakes either. They’re defensive holes give reason to lean to the over 53½ and expect that number to go back up towards kickoff.
But since it’s no fun to finish off the Thursday Night Football season without some kind of single-game action, we’ll be desperate and play a three-point teaser with the Las Vegas Raiders at a pick ‘em for the game and over 50½. This, of course, will be Anthony Lynn’s flawless game.