Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders: Sunday Night Football Preview

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders: Sunday Night Football Preview

The Chargers and the Raiders will slug it out for a place in the playoffs when they lock horns at the Death Star on Sunday night. Who will hold their nerve?

Game Details

Date: Sunday, January 9, at 8.20pm EST

TV: NBC

Location: Allegiant Stadium

Weather: Warm, mostly sunny, with 8mph wind

An Elimination Battle

The Chargers roared back to form with an emphatic 34-13 win against the Denver Broncos last Sunday. In one fell swoop, they eliminated the Broncos, the Browns and the Dolphins from playoff contention. The Bolts are now holding the No. 7 seed in the AFC, and they will hold onto their wild card berth if they win this game.

The Raiders have an identical 9-7 record, but they are currently ranked No. 8 and sitting outside the playoff field. They would move ahead of the Chargers and into the playoff places if they were to win this game. They could also reach the postseason if the Colts (No. 6) and the Steelers (No. 8) both lose this weekend. We will know the permutations by the time this game takes place, as it is the final clash in a gripping regular season.

Big Wins in Week 17

The Bolts were in a great position to make the playoffs after beating the Giants 37-21 on December 12. It followed an impressive 41-22 win against the Bengals, and it left Los Angeles 8-5 for the season. However, they then lost to the Chiefs in overtime, before suffering a shock 41-29 defeat to the Texans in Week 16.

Yet the Chargers turned reignited their season in Inglewood on Sunday. Justin Herbert threw 22-for-31 for 237 yards and two touchdowns, while Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson combined for 99 rushing yards in a blowout win against Denver. Their destiny is now in their own hands.

The Raiders looked dead and buried a few weeks ago. A 48-9 defeat to the Chiefs was their fifth loss in six games, and they slumped to 6-7 for the season. However, they managed to rediscover the momentum they enjoyed at the start of the season, rattling off narrow wins over the Browns, the Broncos and the Colts to improve to 9-7. Yet they are still behind divisional rival Los Angeles due to head-to-heads, so they need to win this game.

Head-to-Heads

It finished 28-14 to the Chargers when these teams met at SoFi Stadium in Week 4. Herbert threw 25-for-38 for 222 yards and three touchdowns in that game, while Ekeler rushed for 117 yards and a TD off 15 carries. Derek Carr also threw two touchdowns for the Raiders, but the Bolts’ defense was stronger.

The previous meeting between these teams also resulted in a win for the Chargers. That came towards the end of last season, when Los Angeles picked up a narrow 30-27 overtime win. These teams are regular foes, having met 124 times over the years, and the Raiders lead the all-time series 66-56-2.

Team News

Running back Josh Jacobs exited the Raiders’ Week 17 clash with the Colts after suffering a rib injury, but he is likely to recover in time for this game. Carr should also get one of his most important offensive weapons back, as tight end is set to return after missing the last five games with a knee injury. There is no major injury news coming out of Los Angeles.

Key Stats

·   The Chargers are 8-8 ATS so far this season.

·   Los Angeles is 3-6 ATS in the nine games in which it has been a favorite by 3 or more points.

·   The Raiders are 7-9 ATS this season.

·   Vegas is 5-3 in the eight games in which it has gone off as an underdog by 3 or more points.

·   Vegas is 4-4 straight-up and 3-5 ATS at Allegiant Stadium this year.

·   The Bolts are 4-3 straight-up and 4-3 ATS this season.

·   The Chargers rank sixth in the league for points per game at 27.6.

·   The Raiders have only managed 21.2 points per game, which leaves them ranked 18th in the league.

·   The Chargers have one of the league’s worst defensive records, with 26.5 points allowed per game.

·   The Raiders have not fared much better, allowing 25.4 points per game.

·   Games featuring the Chargers have gone over 49.5 points nine times this season, and seven games have seen under 49.5 points.

·   Seven of the Raiders’ games have gone over 49.5 points and nine have stayed under.

Betting Odds

The Chargers have opened as the 3-point favorite for this game. Most sportsbooks are offering -110 on Los Angeles -3, while FanDuel stands out by offering -108 on the Raiders +3. It also has a market leading +115 on the Raiders +2.5.

You can find -125 on the Chargers -2.5 at FOX Bet. DraftKings, FOX Bet, and Unibet all have +100 on the Chargers -3.5 if you want to push it a bit further. Los Angeles is the -160 moneyline favorite to pull off a vital away win on Sunday. The Raiders are priced at +145 with BetMGM.

The total points line is set at 49.5, and there is no notable deviation from the official line at the sportsbooks. They generally have -110 on over and -110 on under.

Picks

The Bolts’ superior offensive firepower should carry them to victory in this game. They destroyed a strong Denver defense last weekend. If they play at that level again on Sunday, they should hold onto their wild card place. They beat the Raiders by 14 points earlier this season. This should be tighter, but Los Angeles can still cover a 3-point spread.

The Raiders are 3-5 ATS at home this season, and 2-5 in their last seven games against divisional rivals, so the Los Angeles Chargers -3 looks tempting. The total points line looks tough to call, but both defenses have struggled all season, so over 49.5 points at -110 is the more appealing option in that market.

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