2017 Los Angeles Chargers Road Schedule Odds with Expert Picks and Predictions
So it took me all of five seconds to accidentally type San Diego instead of Los Angeles Chargers. NFL owners are businessmen, and while winning Super Bowls and hanging with athletes and hosting celebrities are all nice perks, having a team is still a business. It's about making money.
It's an absolute shame the city of San Diego lost its football team. The Chargers never gave the city a Super Bowl title, the only championship in their 57 seasons coming in 1963 while playing in the now-defunct AFL. It was absolutely the right of those San Diegans (Anchorman!) not to vote a tax increase to line the pockets of Alex Spanos and his family. Just as it was Spanos' right to head to Los Angeles when he couldn't get a new stadium built. I do believe that San Diego will realize how much it misses the NFL and get another team at some point just like Cleveland a few years after the Browns left for Baltimore. It might take a decade or so, but it will happen. Other NFL owners will use San Diego as leverage, just like current NBA teams can do with Seattle.
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The Chargers weren't much to watch this decade in their old haunts. The Bolts made the playoffs only in 2013 and lost 23 combined games the past two seasons. QB Philip Rivers always keeps this team close but then somehow the Chargers manage to blow game after game it in the fourth quarter. Eighteen of the Chargers' 23 losses the past two years were decided by a one-score margin, including nine of 11 in 2016.
This team could easily have been 7-0 to start last season but choked away games to Kansas City, Indianapolis, New Orleans and Oakland. Would a 7-0 start have changed things at the polls when that tax hike was beaten? We'll never know.
To no surprise, the franchise is starting over at head coach with the move to Los Angeles. Mike McCoy was canned on Black Monday. He was 28-38 overall, including 1-1 in the team's only postseason trip during his tenure. I truly thought the team would hire some sort of big-name charismatic coach to replace McCoy to make a splash in L.A. - and perhaps steal some thunder from the Rams. That's definitely not what happened as the Chargers hired Buffalo's Anthony Lynn. He was Buffalo's offensive coordinator last year and its interim coach the final two games after Rex Ryan was fired. Many thought the Bills would give the full-time job to Lynn. I'm sure he's a fine coach, but it was met with a collective yawn.
The Chargers were 2-6 on the road last season, 3-5 against the spread and 4-4 "over/under." They travel to five playoff teams in 2017, the most of any club: NY Giants, Oakland, New England, Dallas and Kansas City. That's a murderous schedule. Plus there are a handful of 1 p.m. ET kickoffs. I project a 2-6 record. Odds listed for the home team.
Sept. 11 at Broncos ( -4, 44): The second game of the Monday night doubleheader. Lynn was a reserve running back and special teams player for the Broncos when they won back-to-back Super Bowls behind QB John Elway. The Chargers lost in Denver 27-19 in Week 8 last year. Rivers was under siege all night, sacked four times and picked off three. The Chargers reached the Denver 2 with three minutes remaining but threw four consecutive incompletions. Key betting trend: Bolts 5-4-1 ATS in past 10 as at least a 4-point road dog in series.
Oct. 8 at Giants (-7): Chargers off a three-game homestand that concludes vs. Philadelphia. This is the first 1 p.m. ET start. Of course Rivers and the Giants' Eli Manning were traded for one another in 2004. Manning was picked No. 1 overall by San Diego but didn't want to play there and forced the deal. Manning and Rivers are both in the top three for most interceptions since 2006 (when Rivers became the team's full-time starter). Rivers has led the league in interceptions twice, while Manning has done so three times. Key betting trend: Bolts 7-3 ATS in past 10 at NFC East teams.
Oct. 15 at Raiders (-8): There would be no Raiders in Oakland right now most likely had the Chargers won the tax vote to build a new stadium. And Las Vegas wouldn't be getting the Raiders in a few years. How weird will that be: Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders. The Chargers lost 34-31 in Oakland in Week 5 a season ago. A late 36-yard field goal attempt to tie it was mishandled by holder Drew Kaser on a perfect snap. That summed up this team's season. Rivers threw for 359 yards and four scores but was picked off twice. Key betting trend: Bolts 8-2 ATS in past 10 as road dog in series.
Oct. 29 at Patriots (-12.5): L.A. off a Week 7 game vs. Denver and ahead of its bye. The Patriots, who are also ahead of their bye, won the most recent meeting 23-14 in San Diego on Dec. 7, 2014. Key betting trend: Bolts 0-3 SU & ATS in past three before bye (any location).
Nov. 12 at Jaguars (-3): Bolts off their bye week. San Diego's new defensive coordinator is Gus Bradley, who was fired late last season as Jacksonville's head coach. This marks the fifth straight season the Chargers will play the Jags. It was a 38-14 home win for the Chargers in Week 2 last year. Rivers threw for four TDs and Melvin Gordon had the first 100-yard rushing game of his career. Key betting trend: Bolts 3-7 ATS in past 10 after bye (any location).
Nov. 23 at Cowboys (-10): Thanksgiving game. Chargers host Buffalo the previous Sunday. The Chargers have played four Thanksgiving games, the last in 1969 right before the AFL-NFL merger. That 48-year drought is the longest in the NFL. Key betting trend: Bolts 6-3-1 ATS in past 10 as double-digit road dog (covered last four).
Dec. 16 at Chiefs (-6): Saturday night and obviously the Chargers' first cold-weather game. L.A. off a home matchup vs. Washington. Not sure I've seen a team blow a regular-season game worse than the Bolts did Week 1 last year in K.C. They led 24-3 at the half and 27-10 about midway through the fourth quarter but lost 33-27 in OT. To make matters worse, No. 1 wide receiver Keenan Allen left in the second quarter with a season-ending injury. Key betting trend: Bolts 7-3 ATS in past 10 as at least a 6-point road dog in series.
Dec. 24 at Jets (pick'em): Another likely winter weather affair and a 1 p.m. ET start. This screams trap for the Bolts as the Jets could well be winless. Last Christmas Eve, the Chargers traveled to a 0-14 team in a cold-weather cit y (Cleveland) with a 1 p.m. ET start and lost 20-17. The Chargers beat the Jets 31-0 in San Diego in the last meeting three years ago. Key betting trend: Bolts have seven pick'em games on record (any location) and are 2-5 in them.
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