Week 5 NFL Pick: Raiders vs. Chargers
Oakland Raiders (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Football Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday October 7th, 2018. 4:05PM (EST)
Where: ROKiT Field at StubHub Center Carson, C.A.
By: Jay Horne, College Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Spread: OAK +5/LAC -5
It has not been a glamorous start for Head Coach John Gruden yet the Oakland Raiders finally put a mark in the win column last week with a 45-42 victory over the Browns. The Raiders offense finally got a big performance from quarterback Derek Carr who threw for 437 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 picks. WR Amari Cooper and TE Jared Cook had huge games going over the century mark with 3 combined touchdowns. It was finally a sign of life from a Raiders offense that has struggled in recent weeks. Now the lingering question heading into week 5 is was this a one week performance or can we trust the Raiders have turned the corner?
Perhaps the answers to those questions will come this weekend when the Raiders travel to meet the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers also scored a victory last week over the San Francisco 49ers but like the Raiders victory; it was not necessarily overly impressive. The Chargers had to dig out of hole early thanks to a pick 6 thrown by QB Philip Rivers. The Chargers defense also surprisingly struggled against 49ers backup quarterback C.J Beathard who completed 23 of 27 passing for nearly 300 yards. Therefore, questions loom around this football team at the moment. They have won the games they should (Buffalo/San Francisco) and they have lost the games most expected as well (Kansas City / Los Angeles Rams). Therefore, perhaps this weekend’s meeting will provide a better indicator of just where this Chargers team stands in terms of the AFC.
Raiders vs. Chargers Total Prediction
At first glance, I can see why the popular opinion may favor the offenses. Neither the Raiders nor Chargers defense has been special this year. Furthermore and most importantly, all the notoriety surrounds the offensive players in this game. Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen from the Chargers square off with Derek Carr, Amari Cooper, and Marshawn Lynch from the Raiders. Fireworks all over the place, right? Well, let’s take a step back and really analyze these offenses.
The Raiders average 24.3 points per game which ranks right in the middle of NFL teams and they failed to break the 20 point mark in their first two games against better defenses. This offense has largely been inefficient and I am not a believer in Carr after one good performance. Let’s not forget, Carr has played very poorly this season with 7 picks compared to 6 touchdowns along with several missed opportunities down the field. Last week TE Jared Cook helped ignite the offense with more than 100 yards and 2 touchdowns. Cook really helped open up the field in an up-tempo game. However, I do not expect any repeat performance from Cook as he faces off against the no. 1 ranked defense against tight ends by DVOA rankings.
The Chargers defense also has a pretty solid pass rush which could add some pressure to Carr to toughen the situation. Meanwhile on the other side of the ball, I am not convinced the Chargers will post any type of huge number to warrant the 53.5 total. The Chargers have only scored more than 30 points once this year and that was a 31-20 win over Buffalo. The offense has been very effective moving the football and rightfully so. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are electric 1-2 punches in the backfield. Not to mention, Rivers has an explosive receiving corps with Allen and rising star Mike Williams. Yet for whatever reason, this offense is not posting the huge numbers and I think they will be victim of a negative game flow this weekend once the Raiders offense comes back to earth.
Raiders vs. Chargers Betting Trends
Sometimes it is hard to explain to casual fans that a negative game script will hurt the scoring but it is something every bettor should consider. The likelihood of the Raiders struggles returning on offense, against a defense that covers the middle of the field well, are extremely high. Likewise, the likelihood of the Chargers pace slowing down with the lead are also high and I believe those are the situations that will unfold on Sunday. A few trends support the argument as well. The Raiders have gone under the total in 4 of their last 5 games. The Chargers are also riding a wave of under cashes in 10 of their last 15 games. Meanwhile, the last 4 out of 5 meetings between the Raiders and Chargers specifically have also gone “under” the mark. Therefore, I feel like we have a lot of indicators pointing towards a somewhat letdown spot from the offenses.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Take the under 53.5!