Bettors jumping on Chargers in Thursday night tussle versus Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, November 2019
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
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Bettors are heavily backing the Chargers over the Raiders in early wagering action, moving the betting line across the fence midweek.

Chargers (-1, 48) at Raiders

Kickoff: 8:20 p.m. ET / 7:20 p.m. CT (FOX/NFL)

Line movement: Oddsmakers opened the Raiders 1-point chalk Sunday afternoon, early action pushing the number to as high as -2 before a steady retreat moved the line to Chargers -1 by Monday afternoon. Nearly 71.0 percent of tickets wagered on the spread are backing Los Angeles as of Tuesday per Sports Insights. The total, meanwhile, reached as high as 48.5 following a 47.5 opener, but is settled at 48 as of publication.

Carr, offense on cruise control

The Raiders (4-4 SU, 5-3 ATS) offense is humming of late, averaging 26.8 points since Week 4. The franchise has surpassed its projected team total in each contest since by a 5.2 margin. For the year, the unit accrues 6.2 yards per play, third most efficient in the NFL.

After a rumor-filled offseason that Derek Carr might not be the long-term answer under center for the Raiders, the six-year pro is quietly putting together a season rivaling his near MVP win in 2016. Since Week 4, Carr owns a 9:1 TD-to-INT ratio, earning a 112.5 passer rating in that span. Carr, in fact, has passed the century mark in passer rating in three straight games, surprisingly a career first through 86 NFL starts.

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Carr proved the highest-graded (88.9) Raider in Week 9 per Pro Football Focus, tossing for 289 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and no picks on 20-of-31 passing in a 31-24 home victory over the Lions as 3-point chalk.

Raiders defense an enigma, lacks discipline

In what has become a near perennial tradition, the Raiders lack much discipline. They rank last in the league in penalty yards per game (80.0) and are flagged an average 8.6 times. The defense is the primary culprit, called for 35 penalties and 362 yards on the season. Both figures top the NFL.

The unit is also a Jekyll-and-Hyde construct in terms of efficiency. It allows 3.7 yards per rush, fifth best in the league. Against the pass, however, the unit yields an ugly 8.4 yards per toss. Only the winless Bengals (8.6) surrender more.

L.A. defense charged up

The Chargers (4-5 SU, 3-5-1 ATS) defense limited the NFC North-leading Packers to just 184 total yards in a 26-11 home win catching 3.5 points on the oddsboard last Sunday. It was the fifth fewest yards ever in 182 games with quarterback Aaron Rodgers attempting at least 10 passes or more in a contest. L.A. blitzed once all game on 39 dropbacks, confining the future Hall of Famer to the pocket and forcing passes into a flooded secondary.

Do not expect a similar containment scheme against Carr, who has put up pedestrian numbers under pressure much of his career. The Chargers average 2.1 sacks in 10 meetings against the Raiders signal-caller.

New coordinator unleashes running game

The Chargers have a new offensive coordinator in Shane Steichen after head coach Anthony Lynn let Ken Whisenhunt walk two weeks ago. Steichen stressed the running game in his debut against the Packers, providing L.A. an effective 1-2 punch from the backfield reminiscent of last year’s attack. Melvin Gordon rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, while Austin Ekeler covered 70 yards on the ground on 12 rushes. Expect the offense to go back to the well against the Raiders, as the unit establishes a much-needed identity.

Rivers a good road bet against division rivals

Philip Rivers has covered the betting spread in two-thirds (26-13-1 ATS) of all AFC West road games when attempting at least 10 passes. When rivals share or own a greater straight-up winning percentage than the Chargers, Rivers’ record moves to 15-4 ATS (78.9 percent). L.A. covers a 3.7 average line by 5.5 points per game under the latter conditions. Oakland enters with a 4-4 SU record, as opposed to a 4-5 mark for the Chargers.

Notable trends

The OVER is 24-9 (72.7%) in the Chargers last 33 games after surrendering fewer than 150 passing yards in their prior outing. The Packers accumulated 139 overall on 23-of-35 passes in defeat.

The UNDER is 20-6 (76.9%) in the Raiders’ last 26 divisional clashes.

Trends compiled with queries performed at SportsDatabase.

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