When evaluating the Chargers vs. Falcons spread, LA has an early, resounding “Bolt” of confidence before NFL Week 9.
An overwhelming percentage of DraftKings betting handle, 92%, favors them to cover at -3 against the host Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. That’s the highest endorsement for any team in the 12-game Sunday and Monday Night window.
And 93% of the handle backs the game going over 49.5.
That’s high praise for a team that limped into the bye with a 37-23 setback against the Seattle Seahawks two weeks ago.
Nonetheless, the Chargers launch their post-bye realm at 4-3 and an uphill climb.
After this game, the Chargers’ next two opponents are the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs.
Talk about pressure. Being at the 5-3 mark before that two-game gauntlet will feel much different than 4-4.
That underscores the urgency of this game.
Bettors have different ways to approach the Chargers.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told mylasports.com:
“Gamblers can decide that their team is not going to be in the hunt and look for some soft spots in a game, or they can figure the team is going all out and thus back them, which is what they are doing so far with the Chargers.
“But it’s going to be interesting what will happen if the Chargers slide back anymore,” Avello added. “I was thinking a lot about this today (right after the Cincinnati Bengals, led by Joe Burrow, flopped as a road favorite against the Cleveland Browns to become 4-4).
“The Chargers and Bengals both have quarterbacks that have gone backwards this year. I don’t know if it is because defenses are reading them a little better or they have lost their confidence level, but Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert don’t look the same to me.”
Herbert does have a lot to battle with. Besides his own rib injury sustained in week 2, he hasn’t had Mike Williams in the lineup every game. And Williams is out again. He just got Keenan Allen back but Allen missed practice Monday.
How will Herbert make this all work?
One answer: play the Falcons.
Herbert could not ask for more.
The Falcons are the league’s worst pass defense, yielding nearly 307 yards per game.
They are also near the bottom of the NFL pack with 12 sacks. That’s just 1.5 per game.
The Falcons give up more than 415 yards per game overall.
This sets up well for Herbert’s passing yardage props. It’s also positive for receptions and total yardage for Austin Ekeler.
Totals bettors, this one’s for you.
The Falcons started the season being involved in games ending in 53, 58 and 60 points. Rams bettors remember the Falcons coming back from a huge deficit before losing 31-27 in Week 2.
After two tight defensive games, the Falcons resumed the high-scoring parade. Their last two contests ended in 52 and 71 points.
Over bettors observe all types of opportunities in this game, from tweaking point totals in a parlay to playing it heavy on the over line in one bet.
Falcons Have Been Vulnerable Late
This team blew a pair of 26-10 fourth-quarter home leads over the past couple of seasons. Both became losses.
They tried to shoot themselves again in the foot last week, but missed.
The Falcons led the Carolina Panthers 34-28 with 23 seconds to go. Carolina had the ball on its own 38, no timeouts. Avello said that a gambler could have gotten +2600 (26-1) for the Panthers to win at that point.
Carolina did indeed beat Atlanta deep. D.J. Moore slipped behind coverage and took a bomb from quarterback P.J. Walker in the end zone with 12 seconds to go. The Falcons had melted down again.
Until Moore and Eddy Pineiro saved them. Moore took off his helmet in the celebration. That made the game-winning extra point a 48-yard kick. Pineiro barely missed it. And in overtime, he missed another, from extra point range.
Three things bailed the Falcons out and they are 4-4. Atlanta somehow leads the NFC South. Imagine being the bettor who made the 26-1 stab, thought that wager was in his/her pocket and had it stripped out.
Other betting considerations
Herbert’s passing yardage and Ekeler to score are the most reliable options.
And some others, via DraftKings:
- Atlanta point total 23.5. The Over is -105, the Under is -115
- First scoring method
- Chargers touchdown +170
- Chargers field goal +390
- Chargers safety +7500
- Atlanta touchdown +210
- Atlanta field goal +400
- Atlanta safety +6500
- The Score-and-Win Combo
- Chargers to score first and win +150
- Atlanta to score first and win +265
- Chargers to score first and lose +450
- Atlanta to score first and lose +300
The Battle of Halves
Atlanta to win both halves is +500
The Chargers to win both halves is +270
This has a chance to come in more often than one suspects. Seven teams were able to sweep both halves of their contest last week.
Key consideration: a tie in either half makes this bet a loser.
The kicking game
Once the line goes up, examine the price on total field goals in the game and points for Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo. He competes on a team that plays indoors and has chosen the field-goal route to keep themselves in the game.
One reason for that is that the indoor climate adds a few yards to the distance a player can convert field goals from.
The Falcons don’t get way ahead or behind early and he can rack up points.
Koo has hit 14 of 17 and a couple were from outside of a range at the end of a half. He is utilized most at home. Koo is 10-11 in the Falcons’ four home games. There was one contest – at 28-14 triumph over the San Francisco 49ers – in which he did not try a field goal.
But for the most part, bettors would give him a shot at getting three in each home game.
This is not an exciting area of betting, but it has been profitable for those who have been wagering into it. Whether one accepts the bet may depend on the price. Sometimes the books don’t make the bet attractive. Sometimes they do.
It doesn’t matter where the edge presents itself. Profit is profit.