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Los Angeles Chargers vs. Los Angeles Rams,
9-23-2018 - Pick and Prediction

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#481 Los Angeles
Chargers 48
#482 Los Angeles
Rams -7

Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 4:05pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

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A pair of teams that call the City of Angels home meet up in a crosstown matchup in week 3 of the NFL schedule. The Los Angeles Chargers are on the road as they make the quick trip to face the Los Angeles Rams Sunday afternoon. The Chargers came up with a 31-20 road win over Buffalo in their last contest last Sunday. On the flip side, the Rams pummeled the Cardinals 34-0 at home to remain unbeaten in their last contest. The Rams hold a 6-5 edge in the all-time series between the teams but the Chargers took a 27-24 win when both teams were elsewhere in the last meeting on November 23, 2014. At that point, the Chargers were in San Diego and the Rams were in St. Louis.

Los Angeles Chargers Try for Second Straight Win

Los Angeles was unable to contain Patrick Mahomes II in the season opener but facing another young quarterback, the team took advantage. The Chargers kept Josh Allen in check in the first half and rolled up a 28-6 edge en route to the win. Los Angeles outgained Buffalo 349-293 in the game, picked up 21 first downs to the Bills’ 17 and held a 33:02 to 26:58 edge in time of possession. The Chargers also forced two turnovers while not committing a turnover of their own. Los Angeles had five sacks of Josh Allen in addition to a pair of picks.

The Chargers are 3rd in the league in passing offense with 329 yards per game and tied for 12th in rushing with 116 yards per contest. Los Angeles is 8th in the league in scoring offense with 29.5 points per game and stand just 25th in scoring defense by allowing 29 points per contest. Veteran QB Philip Rivers has completed 57 of 78 pass attempts last season for 680 yards with six touchdowns and one interception. Melvin Gordon (24 attempts, 92 yards, TD, 15 receptions, 140 yards, two TD) is the lead back in the run game. Austin Ekeler (16 carries, team-high 116 yards, eight receptions, 108 yards, TD) is a good change of pace back. Keenan Allen (14 receptions, 195 yards, TD) is the top target in the passing game for the Chargers. Tyrell Williams (43 catches, 728 yards, four TD), Mike Williams (seven receptions, 108 yards, TD) and Travis Benjamin (one catch, one yard) are also going to be involved in the aerial assault. Caleb Sturgis is four of four on extra points and three of four on field goals with a long of 45.

Los Angeles Rams Seek 3-0 Start

Los Angeles battered Arizona into oblivion and rolled to an easy victory to remain unbeaten on the season. The Rams should have a stiffer challenge in this contest as they face a good Chargers offense. Los Angeles, after a scoreless first quarter, tallied 19 second quarter points and didn’t look back in the win. The Rams owned a commanding 432-137 edge in total offense and picked up 24 first downs while limiting the Cardinals to just five. Los Angeles controlled the time of possession by a 34:08 to 25:52 margin and completely stifled Arizona’s offense.

The Rams have been very good offensively this season under head coach Sean McVay. Los Angeles is 10th in the league in passing offense with 283.5 yards per contest and 14th in rushing with 115 yards per game. The Rams are 5th in the league in scoring offense with 33.5 points per game and stand 1st in scoring defense as they allow 6.5 points per contest. Jared Goff has completed 42 of 65 passes for 587 yards with three touchdown passes against one interception. He has been sacked three times. Todd Gurley II leads the ground game with 39 carries for 150 yards and three scores while reeling in six passes for 70 yards and a score. Malcolm Brown chips in 13 carries for 51 yards. Cooper Kupp is second on the team with 11 catches for 115 yards and a score. Robert Woods (nine grabs, 118 yards), if he’s healthy, and Brandin Cooks (12 receptions, 246 yards) are good targets as well. Greg Zuerlein was a weapon at kicker: he’s hit all three extra points and four of five field goals with a long of 55 this season before getting injured during warmups against Arizona. Johnny Hekker hit an extra point and his lone field goal attempt, which came from 20 yards. The Rams signed Sam Ficken Monday to cover the kicking game in the short term: he took over the job when Zuerlein went down last year with a back injury.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

This one should be a really entertaining clash between the two teams from the City of Angels. There is a lot of talent at the skill positions on both teams in this contest. If there’s a quarterback that can handle what the Rams can do defensively, it’s Rivers. He has the experience to handle the schemes that Wade Phillips brings to the table. The Rams may come up with the win here but take the points and the Chargers in this one.

Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers +7

Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

Both teams have the ability to pile points up on the board as they both enter this game in the top 10 in the league in scoring offense so far. The Rams have had a lights out defense, which is to be expected given the fact that they have a ton of Pro Bowl talent dotting that side of the ball. Can the Bolts’ offensive weapons overcome Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh, Michael Brockers, Lamarcus Joyner, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters? Can the Rams survive a shootout if things go that way?

The over is 7-2 in the Chargers’ last 9 games after allowing more than 30 points in their previous game. The Rams have seen the over go 4-0 in their last four after a straight up win, 4-1 in their last 5 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game and 4-1 in their last five in September. The teams have gone over the total in four of the last five meetings: look for this one to go over the number here.

Prediction: Over 48

Full-Game Prop Bet
Rating:

While the Rams have been excellent in their first two games on the defensive side of the ball, holding the Raiders to 13 points before suffocating the Cardinals, the Chargers present a different problem. Los Angeles has talented receivers like Allen along with a tight end that can stretch the seam in Gates. Gordon and Ekeler are a dangerous duo at running back and Rivers isn’t easily intimidated by anyone. The Rams have a sharp defensive unit but the Chargers will get their points. They should go over the number in this contest.

Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers Over 20.5 -115

Half-Time Side Pick
Rating:

The Rams shouldn’t just run away and hide in this one but the Chargers’ defense is going to have to step up and make a few plays. Goff has a myriad of big play targets that he can utilize in the passing game but in many ways, the Chargers are a mirror image of their crosstown brethren in that regard. This one could be a back and forth affair on the scoreboard. Take the points and the Bolts at intermission.

Prediction: Los Angeles Chargers +4 (-110)

Half-Time Total Bet
Rating:

Both of these teams could likely climb over the number themselves by intermission. After all, the Chargers led Buffalo 28-6 at the half last week and trailed the Chiefs 17-12 in week 1. The Rams were down 13-10 to the Raiders in the opening week and led Arizona 19-0 at the half in week 2. In this one, both teams have plenty of firepower to work with. Seeing that the Chargers have gone over this number at the half in both games while the Rams were close, this one should go over at intermission as well.

Prediction: Over 24 -115

Half-Time Prop Prediction
Rating:

Both teams have quick strike capability and can put points on the board in a hurry. Field position could be a factor early as the defense that puts up a quick three and out could give their offense a short field with which to work. Both teams have explosive backs in the run game who can do damage and that is something that can’t be overlooked. As it stands, one of the teams should be in good position to put up at least a field goal early in this one to make this one a winner.

Prediction: Yes to Will Either Team Score in the First Six Minutes of the Game (Even)

Chris Kubala

Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.

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