The biggest question surrounding the Los Angeles Chargers’ projected 2022 win total at DraftKings is this:
It’s 10 wins and the over is –130.
Is that like stealing?
There has been a stampede on the “over” since the line opened last month.
Johnny Avello, the director or race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told Mylasports.com:
“We opened that at -115. There are going to be a lot of wins coming out of the AFC West, it could be one of the best in football. The price is going up on the over but I don’t think it’s too high for people. Look, you are only laying $1.30 to win $1.00 and if it lands on 10, it’s a push. That’s better than if you got a price near +100 but then saw the win total go to 10.5. I think bettors will still be fine laying odds up until the range of about -150.”
DraftKings’ game-by-game odds reflect his optimism.
The Chargers are picked in every game but one according to the posted spreads. That occurs in Game 2, at the Kansas City Chiefs, where they are +3.
The only game not listed is their Oct. 9 road game against the Cleveland Browns, because the book is not sure how to price Deshaun Watson’s impact in Cleveland.
Over 10: The case for
This team has Justin Herbert, one of the game’s charismatic young stars. He’s too good not to propel this team into the post-season. Herbert not only has a great arm, but a pocket presence to scramble and let receivers come back to the route.
He’s a leader, in the Joe Burrow mold. It took the Bengals only two years to go from 2-14 to a Super Bowl appearance with Burrow.
In Herbert’s second year, the Chargers were 9-8, losing three of their last four.
Once this team finds a way to stop shooting itself in the foot late in games, it’s an 11–12-win franchise.
Maybe that happens this year.
Under 10: The case against
It happens every year. The Chargers find a way to flop.
For many years, the Chargers had an inverse relationship with bettors. They covered the number on the away games and were one of the worst home favorites in the league.
This team should have made the post-season last year. They failed to put the Kansas City Chiefs away at home and then lost in overtime. They suffered a bad road loss to the lowly Houston Texans.
And the finale? Don’t get the skeptics started.
Coach Brandon Staley called timeout when the Las Vegas Raiders were milking the clock to preserve an overtime tie. That would have put BOTH teams in the post-season.
But Staley stopped the clock, the Raiders made substantial yardage on the next play, and kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired.
This team gets two wins less than it should every year because of self-inflicted wounds.
Some things to watch
Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams are mainstays in a potent offense that average nearly 28 points last year.
The Chargers are smartly building with young, slightly-below-the-radar players.
Last year, they drafted Rashawn Slater in the first round to protect Herbert. They had the same idea with Zion Johnson this season.
Running back Isaiah Spiller, taken in the fourth round, is being tabbed as an early impact player. The Chargers would add an extra dimension if he becomes the power back they have been seeking.
Khalil Mack, a once-dominant outside linebacker, is reunited with Staley, his linebackers coach with the Chicago Bears. Can Mack recapture old magic? He lost most of last year with a foot injury.
The Chargers also picked up cornerback J.C. Jackson and nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day, out most of last year with a torn pectoral muscle.
If these upgrades pan out, the Chargers might be a field goal or more improved over last season.
This year the Chargers’ schedule will consist of NFC West foes. So that’s one game against the defending champion Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers.
They will be under pressure to get a good start. They host the Raiders, visit the Chiefs and have two potential “cookies”, a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars and a road tilt against the Houston Texans.
I’m all over the “over.” One of these years, the Chargers will put it all together. Herbert has too much talent and this team won’t waste it. They will fill in the surrounding pieces.
A tip of the hat to those who got in at -115.
There’s an intangible here too. Teams denied something glaring, in this case, the post-season that did not come to the Chargers last year, have a way of succeeding the following year.
That’s what I expect from the Chargers.