Chargers 2020 Betting Record
Point Spread: 9-7
Total: Over-Under: 9-7
Coming into 2020, it looked like Tyrod Taylor would be the Chargers‘ starting QB. Due to injury and medical error, Justin Herbert ended up taking over in Week 2 and established himself as the QB going forward. The NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year winner displayed poise and instincts well beyond his years and provides LA fans with an exciting future. However, a host of special-teams miscues, blown leads, and the lack of a consistent run game severely limited the Chargers’ success in 2020.
From an NFL betting perspective, the Chargers were wildly inconsistent. They started by winning five of their six games ATS despite a 2-4 SU record during that time. Then, they failed to cover for the next six games but finished the season with four straight SU and ATS wins.
After this inconsistency and two straight losing seasons, head coach Anthony Lynn was fired. Brandon Staley, who was most recently the coordinator for the crosstown Rams’ No. 1-ranked scoring defense, was hired as his replacement. The Chargers will rely on their youth in 2021 and hope that personnel changes are what they need to contend in the AFC West.
The Chargers’ first game started off inauspiciously. Tyrod Taylor cracked a couple of ribs during LA’s first drive against the Bengals but managed to see out the game. The Chargers were down 13-6 coming into the fourth quarter but scored the game’s final 10 points to move to 1-0.
Things got strange when a team physician accidentally punctured Taylor’s lung while administering a pain-killing injection before a Week 2 game against the Chiefs. So, 2020 first-round draft pick Herbert was starting his first game at QB earlier than expected, against the Super Bowl Champs nonetheless. Herbert wasted no time making his mark as he scored a 4-yard rushing touchdown on his first drive. The Chargers blew a lead and lost in overtime but Herbert managed to throw for 311 yards.
Herbert followed with 331 yards in a loss against the Panthers and 290 yards and three touchdowns against the Bucs. The Chargers led by as much as 17 but Tom Brady and the Bucs came storming back for a 38-31. There were always going to be some growing pains from this young Chargers team but the blown leads were certainly concerning as they could have easily been 3-1 after four games.
Point Spread: 3-1
Total: Over-Under: 1-3
Unfortunately, things got worse. RB Austin Ekeler was placed on IR and for a second straight week, the Chargers blew a 17-point lead, this time in New Orleans. Even so, it was hard to argue with Herbert’s production as he threw four touchdown passes against the Saints. Through his first four career starts, Herbert totaled 1,195 yards, nine touchdowns, and three interceptions.
The losing streak ended at four as LA beat the flailing Jaguars, 39-29. But, they blew a 16 point lead and had to come from behind. Another blown lead prevented the team from gaining any momentum. This time it was a 21-point lead in a loss to the Broncos, which was the third biggest in team history. So, in a span of just four games, LA managed to post three of its biggest 10 blown leads in losses in franchise history.
The Chargers then followed it up by dropping a home game to the Raiders, 31-26, at least without an egregious blown lead. Anthony Lynn’s job appeared to be in jeopardy and for good reason. At this point, Taylor was also medically cleared to play but stayed in a backup role behind Herbert.
Point Spread: 2-2
Total: Over-Under: 4-0
With Ekeler and Justin Jackson out and a dubious offensive line, the Chargers struggled to run the ball during this part of the season. They failed to break the 100-yard rushing threshold in any of these games and rookie back Kalen Ballage struggled. It’s no surprise that they went 1-3 during this stretch, with their only win coming against a winless Jets team.
Through 12 games the Chargers were last in net yards per punt, 30th in FG percentage, 29th in rushing yards per attempt, and 25th in opponent points per game. It’s certainly hard to play winning football without any consistency in all facets of the game. The Chargers failed to cover the spread in each of these four games and suffered a particularly embarrassing 45-0 loss to the Patriots in Week 13. The Chargers special teams unit was so bad that it had already undergone two coaching changes by this point in the season, with Lynn finally taking duties over himself.
Point Spread: 0-4
Total: Over-Under: 2-2
Even with Lynn taking over the special teams unit, the Chargers were called for an embarrassing too many men on the field penalty at halftime against the Falcons, which cost them three easy points. They did, however, win for just the second time in seven games.
It was too little, too late for Lynn and the Chargers. After a 3-9 start, the Chargers rattled off four straight consolation wins and ATS wins. Herbert secured his place as the offensive rookie of the year, as he finished with 4336 yards and a rookie record of 31 passing touchdowns.
It was somewhat encouraging to see things come together for LA late in the season as Ekeler and Jackson returned, but it was a frustrating year. Lynn was fired at the conclusion of the season, finishing his four-year tenure as Chargers coach with a 33-31 record, including a combined 12-20 the past two seasons.
Point Spread: 4-0
Total: Over-Under: 2-2
Divisional Record: 3-3
Conference Record: 6-6
Full Season Grade: C-
The Chargers needed to shore up their offensive line and have prioritized that in free agency thus far. With TE Hunter Henry departing, LA decided to sign 12-year vet Jared Cook. The Chargers need more consistency from K Michael Badgley and decided to sign Tristan Vizcaino to give him competition. The Chargers do still need to improve a pass rush, which ranked just 25th in sacks in 2020.
DE Joey Bosa led the team in sacks with 7.5 despite only playing in 12 games. The Chargers’ secondary was projected to be one of the best units in the league going into 2020 but struggled out of the gate. They picked things up as the season went on and allowed the ninth fewest passing yards as a team. As a pass-catcher Ekeler changes the Chargers offense and is a good match with Herbert. If Herbert builds on his rookie year and key players stay healthy, the Chargers could be a sleeper team in the AFC.
Super Bowl LVI Odds place the Chargers are in the middle of the NFL pack at +3300. They should certainly be contenders for the playoffs at the very least. With the NFL announcing a 17th regular-season game, LA will be playing an extra home game against Minnesota in 2021.
Predicted Record for 2021 Season: 11-6
Last Up: Las Vegas Raiders
Next Up: Denver Broncos