Denver Broncos (3-2 SU, 2-2-1 ATS, 3-2 O/U) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4 SU, 2-3-1 ATS, 3-3 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 22, 2017 at 4:25 p.m. EST
The Line: Los Angeles Chargers -1.5. Total: 42.5.
The Los Angeles Chargers will be trying to extend their winning streak to three games when they host the Denver Broncos at the StubHub Center on Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles lost its first four games of the season but has since defeated the Giants and Raiders. The Broncos are coming off a dreadful setback against the previously winless Giants.
Denver will be somewhat undermanned as it tried to bounce back from a surprising 23-10 loss to the Giants. Wide receivers Emmanuel Sanders and Isaiah McKenzie suffered right ankle sprains against New York and both will be sidelined from this week’s trip to Los Angeles. Sanders is second on the team in catches (25) and yards (266) to go along with his two touchdown receptions.
On a good note, fellow receiver Demaryius Thomas is good to go for Sunday. Thomas had his right lower leg x-rayed in the third quarter against the Giants before he returned to the game. An MRI on Monday revealed nothing more than a bruise. The former Georgia Tech standout could be limited in practice this week but will suit up to face the Chargers. And even a less-than-100-percent Thomas is clearly still a force. Against the Giants, he made 10 catches for 133 yards. Meanwhile, quarterback Trevor Siemian–who left the recent loss for a brief time due to a shoulder injury–has also been cleared to play.
Defense rises to occasion
Throughout the Philip Rivers era, the Chargers have almost always boasted a stellar offense while putting a subpar defense on the field. The story has been a similar one this season in Los Angeles, with the team currently eighth in total offense and a decent 18th in total defense. But it was the defense that stepped up in a major way during last week’s 17-16 victory over Oakland. Los Angeles forced two turnovers and limited the Raiders to 274 total yards. Oakland scored only six points in the second half and the Chargers put up a 10-spot in the fourth quarter to complete a comeback victory. Derek Carr threw for just 171 yards in the loss.
“I thought the guys stepped up and made plays when we had to,” L.A. head coach Anthony Lynn commented. “That’s what we’ve been talking about. I’m so proud that they are starting to see the fruit of their labor because these men work hard every single week.”
The Denver Broncos are:
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games following a loss
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games on grass
- 5-1 ATS in their last six road games against the Chargers
The Los Angeles Chargers are:
- 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 overall
- 7-19 ATS in their last 26 home games
- 0-5 ATS in their last five games against teams with winning records
Los Angeles must get off to a good start in this one in order to compete. Even though the Broncos lost to the Giants last week, they boast the No. 1 overall defense in the NFL and will not be easy to mount a comeback against. The Chargers have been outscored 50-7 in the first quarter so far this season. Denver is 5-2 ATS in its last seven following a loss and 5-2 ATS in its last seven on grass. The Chargers are 2-8-1 ATS in their last 11 overall, 7-19 ATS in their last 26 at home, 0-5 ATS in their last five against winning opponents, 4-12 ATS in their last 16 following a win, 1-9-1 ATS in their last 11 on grass, and 1-5 ATS in their last six at home against the Broncos. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
Pick: Denver Broncos +1.5
Los Angeles’ defense has to be feeling good about itself after it stymied a capable Oakland offense. The Chargers will never be confused as a defensive juggernaut, but if nothing else they are at least consistent. L.A. has allowed between 16 and 26 points in all six of its contests this season. The under is 4-1 in the Broncos’ last five against losing opponents, 4-1 in their last five on the road against opponents with losing home records, 7-1 in their last eight following a loss, and 6-1 in their last seven in October. It is also 6-2 in the Chargers’ last eight against the AFC and 11-3-1 in their last 15 at home against opponents with winning road records. Additionally, the under is 4-0 in Denver’s last four on the road against the Chargers. Look for this one to stay under the total.