San Diego Chargers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
NFL Week 1
Date/Time: Monday, September 10th, 2012/10:15 p.m. EST
Where: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SD -1/Oak +1
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The executives at the National Football League decided last spring that
some of the games best divisional rivalries would be a great way to open
up the season, and the folks at ESPN agreed to show one of the AFC Wests
best rivalries and also showcase the showdown for Southern California when
the Oakland Raiders host the San Diego Chargers
in the late game on Monday Night Football.
Both San Diego and Oakland are coming off of disappointing seasons in 2011, with both missing the playoffs and falling out of contention late in the season in the AFC West to the Tim Tebow-led Denver Broncos. While the Broncos certainly played their way into the West title, its hard to look any further than right at themselves in a mirror as to reasons why they both allowed the Broncos storybook comeback last year.
But hopes are high again in both SoCal cities with the start of a new campaign. Oakland is hoping that a full season with QB Carson Palmer at the helm, and the return of Darren McFadden at running back will reignite the Raiders title chances. While San Diego is hoping all of the additions on defense (OLB Jarret Johnson, first-round pick LB Melvin Ingram) will finally give the Chargers a defense to go along with Philip Rivers and the offense.
Unlike most of the point spreads in the opening weekend of the NFL, the Chargers-Raiders number has seen quite a bit of line movement. The line was originally set at San Diego minus -1-point on the road, but action has come in on both sides of the number and the point spread has moved in both directions. You can find the game listed as a pick (at 5Dimes), all the way up to Chargers minus -1.5 (Legends, Mirage) depending on where you wager, with most sportsbooks playing safe right down the middle with San Diego as 1-point favorites.
The over/under total opened at 47.5 and has not moved much at all, although there are a few online sportsbooks that have moved the total up to 48.
Using the preseason as a gauge, it appears the Chargers have ironed out some of their problems on defense. The rookie Ingram appears to be a solid pass rusher, and the addition of Robert Meachem at receiver gives Rivers and the Bolts offense a little more explosion. If there is one area of concern for San Diego it would be at running back, where Ryan Mathews is hurt (broken collarbone) and the battle to replace him between Jackie Battle, Ronnie Brown and rookie Edwin Baker has yet to produce a clear alternative.
Oakland begins 2012 with its usual host of questions a new coach in Dennis Allen, a new offensive coordinator in Greg Knapp, new schemes and a few new faces. Knapp has brought in a more tradition West Coast scheme, so it will be interesting to see how it translates to Palmer at QB and especially McFadden out of the backfield. But all the offense in the world wont help unless the Raider defense improves over their 27th-ranking last season.
What is nice about the Charger-Raiders matchup right off the bat is that you have plenty of betting trends to use as angles.
Trends like the Chargers going 8-2 ATS in their last 10 trips to Oakland County Coliseum, or the trend that shows Oakland has the complete opposite results with a 10-3 ATS record vs. the AFC West the past few years. Also, the underdog has played very well in this series over the past few years, going 6-0 ATS in the last six meetings.
The strongest over/under trend is the fact that the over is 5-0 in the last five head-to-head games in Oakland, and the over is also 12-4 in the Chargers last 16 games in September.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I dont see a lot of defense being played in this game, even though both teams have focused their offseasons trying to upgrade the units. San Diego will win a 31-28 or a 35-31 type of shootout. Im taking San Diego minus the point.
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