San Diego Chargers vs. San Francisco 49ers (11/13 @ 8:20 PM EST)
Spread: 49ers -7
Money Line: Chargers +249 / 49ers -293
Overview and Betting Info
The San Diego Chargers will head north to face the San Francisco 49ers for just the fifth time since 2002. Since then, the Chargers have dominated the series taking all five games. This matchup brings us two very different teams, with the Chargers dealing with a slew of injuries and the 49ers adding one of the best players in the NFL in Christian McCaffery.
The Chargers are 5-3 against the spread this season, and they’ve covered three of their last five. They have gone over the point total four times this season, including three times over their previous five games.
The 49ers have gone 4-4 against the spread, covering two of their three home games. They have gone over the point total three times, all of which came in their last five games.
San Diego Chargers
The Chargers have overcome brutal injuries to win four of their previous four games, keeping them close to the AFC West-leading Chiefs. They’ve done so with an offense averaging 370.9 yarders per game, which is 9th in the NFL. Justin Herbert is having another great year and is now fifth in the NFL in passing yards (2,254) and ninth in touchdowns (13). He’s struggled a bit more over their last three weeks, throwing three interceptions in that span. It’s not a surprise, given the injuries to Mike Williams (out) and Keenan Allen (Questionable). Allen is unlikely to go again this week, as he has not practiced since October 21st. In their absence, Herbert has been relying on receivers Joshua Palmer and DeAndre Carter, along with tight end Gerald Everett. Watch for Palmer Sunday as he appears to now be Herbert’s top option, with eight receptions and 106 yards last week.
Austin Ekeler has been the other half of the Charger’s offensive success. He’s a dual threat that leads in rushes (98) and is second in receptions (60). He has a combined 922 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s also been a scoring machine over their last five games, scoring at least one touchdown in each of them. Ekeler also has four receiving touchdowns in that same span. He won’t dominate a game on the ground, but he can break out for big plays. Expect to see the 49ers focus on containing Ekeler and forcing Herbert to return to his banged-up receiving core.
The defense is allowing 370.9 per game and are still without Joey Bosa. They are giving up the third most points per game in the NFL (25.8), thanks to a run defense that gives up 145 yards to opposing teams (4th worst in NFL). It’s a problem that needs to be addressed this week as they welcome Christian McCaffery to town. They do have some healthy playmakers in Khalil Mack (6 sacks, 2 FR) and safety Derwin James (72 tackles, 3 sacks, 3 PD). James leads the team in tackles, resulting from running backs finding their way into the secondary all season.
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers sit at 4-4, thanks partly to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s resurgence. After starting the year behind Trey Lance, he’s thrown for 1,691 yards and eleven touchdowns. He’s helped by a trio of talented pass catchers with Brandon Aiyuk (483 yards, 4 TDs), Deebo Samuel (387 yards, 2 TD), and Deebo Samuel (387 yards, 2 TD). While the numbers don’t overwhelm you, they will likely change drastically over the next few weeks as the offense adjusts to their new dynamo running back.
Christian McCaffery will appear in his third game with the Niners, and he seems to settle in nicely. Last week saw him score three touchdowns in three different ways. He ran one, caught one, and threw one. It was a scary preview of what this offense could be capable of with him now in the backfield. He should be in for a big day on Sunday as he faces a San Diego rush defense that is among the league’s worst.
On defense, the Niners are allowing a league-best 285.9 yards per game. They also lead the league against the rush, only allowing 86 yards per game. It’s an impressive unit, thanks to a pair of young playmakers in Nick Bosa and safety Talanoa Hufanga. Bosa is second in the NFL with 8.5 sacks, setting him on pace to surpass his career high of 15.5 last season. Hufanga is in his second season, but he’s filled up the stat sheet with one sack, three interceptions, six pass deflections, and a touchdown. They will be Herbert’s top concern Sunday as he tries to work with his banged-up receiving corps.
Free Pick: 49ers -7
It’s a lot of points to give up, but we see the 49ers as a much better team. The Chargers’ 5-3 record is impressive, especially considering the injuries, but they lack a signature win. Their five wins came against teams currently under .500. Those five include the Raiders, Texans, Browns, Broncos, and Falcons. That’s a combined record of 9-22. The Niners have impressive wins against Seattle and the Rams (twice), but that was before they added McCaffery. He’ll be facing a Chargers run defense in the bottom five of the NFL. We see Ekeler being effective, but LA’s banged-up offense won’t be able to hang with this new Niners attack.
We’re giving up the seven points to take the 49ers on Sunday.