The Los Angeles Chargers (5-5) face the Arizona Cardinals (4-7) on Sunday. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 pm ET. Below we continue our NFL odds series with a Chargers-Cardinals prediction and pick.
Los Angeles has lost two consecutive games and sits a game back from the AFC Wild Card. The Chargers are 7-3 against the spread while 50% of their games have gone over. They most recently lost to Kansas City last week 30-27.
Arizona has lost three of their last four games and sits two games back of the NFC Wild Card. The Cardinals are 5-6 against the spread. Six of their eleven games have gone over, with one pushing. Arizona most recently lost to the 49ers last week 38-10.
Here are the Chargers-Cardinals NFL odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
NFL Odds: Chargers-Cardinals Odds
Los Angeles Chargers: -3 (-105)
Arizona Cardinals: +3 (-115)
Over: 48.5 (-114)
Under: 48.5 (-106)
Why The Chargers Could Cover The Spread
Los Angeles continued their up-and-down season as they lost a heartbreaker to the Chiefs for the second time this season. Despite the loss, LA backers have to be pleased with the effort put forth by the Chargers. The return of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams (who did not return after aggravating his injury) did wonders for the Chargers’ offense. For the season, the Chargers are in the top half of the league in both scoring and total offense. They have a positive turnover differential but have been plagued by an inconsistent defense. LA allows the fourth most points in the league and is near the bottom in total defense.
The Charger’s offense is led by quarterback Justin Herbert. Herbert has gritted out a productive season thus far despite various injuries to himself and his offensive weapons. He spent much of the season without star wideout Kennan Allen and still managed to throw for the fifth-most yards (2,730) in the league. Herbert’s 16 touchdowns have been spread throughout LA’s complimentary receivers but he looked much closer to the Herbert of old in Allen’s return.
Keenan finished his first game full game of the year with five catches for 94 yards. Those are not earth-shattering numbers by any means but the eight targets he received demonstrate his importance in this offense. Against Arizona’s below-average pass defense, expect Herbert and Allen to be able to put up numbers at will. The Cardinals gave up 228 passing yards and four passing touchdowns to the 49ers last week — something worth keeping in mind when making a Chargers-Cardinals prediction.
Regardless of how Herbert and the passing attack play, Chargers backers can take solace in running back Austin Ekeler’s unwavering consistency. Ekeler provides a great deal of stability to LA’s offensive attack. In addition to being one of the best runners in the league, Ekeler is a skilled pass catcher. For the season Ekeler has amassed 534 yards rushing, 437 yards receiving, and 11 total touchdowns. Arizona won’t have an answer for Ekeler – giving the Chargers a solid baseline for covering as road underdogs.
Why The Cardinals Could Cover The Spread
Arizona has had yet another Jackal and Hyde season where they look fantastic in moments but have a shaky total body of work. The Cardinals have yet to beat a team with a winning record this season. Arizona allows the second-most points per game and are in the bottom half of the league in both total offense and total defense. That being said, they have skilled playmakers all over the field and, if they can get things rolling and avoid self-inflicted mistakes, should be able to cover as home underdogs.
The Cardinals’ strength lies in their offense. If they are going to cover it is going to come in the form of a shootout given their defensive woes. Arizona is a balanced offensive unit that slightly favors the pass. Quarterback Kyler Murray has been inconsistent and missed their last game with an injury. However, he is projected to play on Sunday – aiding their chance of a cover. Murray has thrown for 2,168 yards and 12 touchdowns but has also thrown six interceptions and lost four fumbles. He has served as their leading rusher thus far as well, rushing for 359 yards and two touchdowns.
This will be the first game all season Murray has both De’Andre Hopkins and Marquise Brown healthy. Brown has missed over a month recovering from injury but is projected to start alongside Hopkins. Despite them both missing a number of games this season, they share very similar stat lines. Both players have caught over 40 balls for over 480 yards in less than six games a piece.
Final Chargers-Cardinals Prediction & Pick
It’s tempting to take the Cardinals as home underdogs, but the Chargers looked “back” last week and I’d expect that to carry over into this one.
Final Chargers-Cardinals Prediction & Pick: Los Angeles Chargers -3 (-105)