Can the Los Angeles Chargers display a short memory?
That’s the question for them, and for bettors, when Los Angeles invades the Houston Texans Sunday at -4.5, down from the opening number of -5 at DraftKings.
The line could appear large, evidenced by the Chargers becoming 1-2 after a 38-10 blowout loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. And by Houston being 3-0 against the spread, despite being 0-2-1 on the moneyline.
DraftKings bettors thought the line was right about where it should be at midweek. The Chargers had 52% support at -4.5
Here are some points bettors will consider in a game both teams need badly.
How will Justin Herbert do?
The Franchise had a roller-coaster ride on Sunday. When rumors circulated that he would not play because of the rib cartilage injury sustained in Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs, the betting line exploded.
The Chargers went from -9.5 to -3.5 at DraftKings in the blink of an eye. When Herbert did play, the final DraftKings line closed at -6.5.
Chargers bettors who had taken a stand that he would play felt rewarded that they pounded the -3.5-betting line when they had a chance. A team with Justin Herbert at the helm was on sale.
But they didn’t cash in.
The savvy minority did instead, with only 10% of the bettors taking the Jags on the moneyline.
Herbert played well enough on Sunday, with 297 passing yards. But much of it came late and the Chargers were outscored 22-3 in the second half.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, told mylasports.com:
“I think they will have a better game this week. The team was out of sync last week and they just were not ready to play football.
“I don’t think Herbert should have been in the game at all. Early in the week, it appeared that he would play and then on Sunday we heard that the management of the team didn’t want him to play, but that he wanted in, so they let him start.
“It looked like the team was not prepared.”
Avello said “it was a little of both” regarding whether the book got in front of the Herbert development news or whether gamblers moved the line so rapidly.
Going forward, Avello said the Chargers need to get Austin Ekeler more involved in the offense in the ground game.
With Houston yielding a league-high 607 rushing yards, this would be good time to start.
Lightning Did Strike Twice
Here are some numbers to indicate that somebody always cashes a longshot ticket, somewhere.
Two unlikely prop bets paid handsomely and landed in bettors’ pockets in the Jags-Chargers game.
We outlined here last week the odds on different point totals for the Chargers. Anyone taking the unlikely total of 0-10 got +2000 or 20-1, at DraftKings.
As with many bets, it went down to the final play.
DeAndre Carter appeared to haul in a touchdown pass from Herbert on the final drive, but he was ruled out of bounds. Nobody argued that with the game already decided, but there is no such thing as a meaningless touchdown to the players.
Had Carter been ruled in, the ticket with the Chargers at +340 for hitting 11-20 would have instead been honored. Talk about being on the edge of your seat.
Some FanDuel bettors hit a huge prop payout with Jacksonville.
The Jags were the longest shot in the league to score the most NFL points on Sunday. They were +5000 or 50-1, which appeared sensible in the league that boasts many high-powered teams.
But the Jags had 38 points, one more than the Baltimore Ravens. The Buffalo Bills (19 points), the Kansas City Chiefs (17) and the Miami Dolphins (21) were nowhere close.
Even 10 bucks could get somebody $500 for that stab.
Injuries will be a concern
Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack came out like gangbusters in Week 1. But Mack had a quiet game Sunday and Bosa suffered a groin injury. Toss that into the fire with Rashawn Slater (biceps) and Keenan Allen (hamstring), and suddenly there’s a potential crisis. This doesn’t even include Herbert’s rib injury.
That makes the Week 4 matchup even more important to the Chargers, who caught a break with the Kansas City Chiefs beating themselves in a 20-17 setback to the Indianapolis Colts last week.
There may never have been a better time for Chargers fans to see the Chiefs muff a punt that turned into a TD, miss a short field goal, botch a short extra point and fail to execute a fake field goal.
The Chargers and Chiefs were expected to have the same result last week. They did, only it wasn’t the win that was anticipated,
The Texans are not that bad
Davis Mills has a strong arm at quarterback. The two picks that cost his team against the Bears in a 23-20 loss last week were tipped. This obscures the fact that he throws a good deep ball. He has a supporting cast that includes running back Dameon Pierce and a receiving crew that includes Brandin Cooks.
This team should not be 0-2-1.
Bettors view something else with this team.
The Texans have started strongly in games and failed to finish. They have not scored a point in the fourth quarter this year. That presents wagering opportunities.
Keep your eye on the second half
The Texans blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead, settling for a Week 1, 20-20 tie with Indianapolis. They led the Denver Broncos late before falling 16-9 in Week 2. They could have won last week.
This team has been rewarding bettors who take them to win the first half and their opponents to capture the second. Bettors will look at that and the odds on Mills to throw a pick when full odds go up later in the week.
Oher Prop Bet Considerations
No fuss, no muss, root for everybody.
Houston has an over-under point total of 19.5. The Over is -115 and the Under is -105,
The Chargers have an over-under of 24.5 with the Over at -105 and the Under at -115.
Will each team notch at least one touchdown in each half? The Yes is +195 and the No is -260.