Los Angeles Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals Pick 8/8/19
Los Angeles Chargers (0-0) vs. Arizona Cardinals (0-0), 8/8/19
Time: 10 pm ET Thursday, Aug. 8
Where: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ
TV: NFL Network
Point spread: Cardinals -2
The Chargers finally played up to their potential last season, won 12 games and broke a four-year playoff drought. The Cardinals, meanwhile, devolved into the worst team in the NFL last year, and now move on with a new head coach and new, young, electric quarterback. So it’s two teams coming from opposite directions meeting when the Chargers and Cardinals open their exhibition seasons Thursday night in suburban Phoenix. Who do we like here for our free NFL pick?
NFL Betting Odds
Week 1 ‘s NFL exhibition betting odds opened Arizona at around -1.5 over the Chargers, with an over/under of 35. Early betting action then bumped the Cardinals to -2 and the total to 36.
Chargers vs. Cardinals Set-Up
San Diego – err, Los Angeles is coming off a 12-4 campaign (9-7 against the spread) in which it reached the divisional round of the AFC playoffs before succumbing to eventual Super Bowl champion New England. The trick now for this team is to take the next step and at least reach the conference championship game this season.
The Chargers return basically the same team for this season and may have even upgraded what was already a pretty good defense. Heading into this campaign, the Chargers regular-season wins over/under is listed at 9.5.
Unfortunately, Los Angeles is dealing with a holdout situation with RB Melvin Gordon. His absence won’t be felt Thursday night, because he wouldn’t see the field even if he were with the team. And in fact, it might even help, as others play this exhibition season with the hope of more playing time once things get real.
Quarterback Philip Rivers probably won’t see much action Thursday night either so that the Chargers will be piloted by some combination of newcomer Tyrod Taylor, fourth-year back-up Cardale Jones, and rookie Easton Stick out of FCS power North Dakota State.
Los Angeles ranked 11th in the league in total offense last season, averaging 373 yards per game, and ninth in total defense, allowing 334 YPG.
Arizona, meanwhile, is coming off a disastrous 3-13 season (6-9-1), after which it canned Coach Wilks, replacing him with professional novice Kliff Kingsbury. The Cardinals then also later drafted Heisman Trophy-winning QB Kyler Murray with the No. 1 overall pick, and dumped Josh Rosen, who they’d just drafted in the first round the previous year.
In other words, we’re not sure this outfit knows what it’s doing.
Heading into this season, Arizona team total wins O/U is listed at five.
It’s hard to tell how much Murray might play Thursday night. He needs field action, but the Cardinals can’t afford an injury. The rest of Arizona’s quarterbacking crew consists of castoff Brett Hundley and rookies Charles Kanoff and Drew Anderson.
The Cardinals ranked dead last in the NFL last season in total offense at just 242 YPG and 20th in total defense at 359 YPG.
These teams just met back in Week 12 of last season, a 45-10 Chargers rout of the Cardinals in LA. The Bolts covered easily as 14-point favorites that day, and the game played over a total of 43.
NFL Betting Trends
The Chargers are 3-5 both SU and ATS in two exhibition seasons under Coach Lynn, which gives us a hint on how he approaches these games. Lynn knows he’s got a playoff contender, and he’ll rotate personnel accordingly.
The Cardinals finished 3-1 both SU and ATS in their only exhibition season under Coach Wilks last year, which indicates to us he was trying to instill a winning atmosphere right from the start. It didn’t do him much good, though. However, it seems likely Kingsbury will try to do the same thing.
- Totals split 8-8 in Chargers games this season, which averaged 47 total points.
- Unders played 9-7 in Cardinals games last season, which averaged 41 points.
- Overs, somewhat surprisingly, played 11-6 in Week 1 of last year’s NFL exhibition season.
Free NFL Pick
We tread very lightly when it comes to betting NFL exhibition games, but it appears Arizona, a team in search of success, needs this one much more than the Chargers, who are just playing not to get hurt. We’ll go with the Cardinals here.
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