Los Angeles Chargers vs Arizona Cardinals (11/27 @ 4:05 PM EST)
Spread: Chargers -4.5
Money Line: Chargers -210 / Cardinals +175
Overview and Betting Info
The Los Angeles Chargers (5-5) head for Phoenix on Sunday to take on the struggling Arizona Cardinals (4-7). The Chargers have won four of the last five matchups, but the two teams have not played since 2018. The Cardinal’s previous victory in the series came in 2014 at home.
The Chargers are 7-3 against the spread this season, going 5-0 on the road. They have covered their last three games. LA has gone under the total in three of their previous five games.
The Cardinals are 5-6 versus the spread, going 2-3 at home this year. They have covered just one of their last four games. They have gone over the point total six times, including each of their previous five games.
The Chargers lost a heartbreaker last week to the Chiefs, but the offense returned some key players to have their best game since October 9th. The unit is averaging 360 yards per game, thanks partly due to the play of Justin Herbert. The quarterback has 2,730 yards and 16 touchdowns, despite only having his top two receivers on the field for 7% of snaps. That was set to change last week with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen returning from injury, but Williams re-aggravated his high-ankle sprain early in the game and may miss this week. The good news is Keenan Allen looked fantastic with 94 yards on five catches. His presence also opened up Joshua Palmer, who went for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Even if Williams and tight end Gerald Everett cannot go, the duo of Palmer and Allen should allow this offense to do some damage against the Cardinals on Sunday.
The ground game is led by Austin Ekeler, who has team-highs in both rushing yards (534) and receptions (69). He has 971 combined yards and 11 touchdowns, making him the backbone of this offense. Ekeler had his second-best rushing day against the Chiefs last week, thanks in part to the resurgence of the passing attack. Expect to see him top that this week against a vulnerable Arizona defense.
The LA defense has struggled, allowing 384 yards (25th) and 25.8 points per game (29th) per game (25th). They played a solid three quarters against the Chief’s explosive offense but gave up 14 in the fourth to close the game. Like the offense, they have been hit with injuries. Key among them is Joey Bosa, who seems to be a couple of weeks away from returning. Even without Bosa, the Chargers have a pair of playmakers in Derwin James Jr. (team-high 92 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 PD) and Khalil Mack (team-high 7 sacks). The Chargers have some depth at corner in Bryce Callahan and Asante Samuel Jr, but they have a lot of holes on the line. We expect them to bounce back this week as the Cardinals continue to deal with injuries to offensive playmakers.
The Cardinal’s offense averages 353 yards per game, which is far lower than expected. They’ve been struck by a slew of offensive injuries, including to Kyler Murray and his three top pass catchers. While Murray could suit up Sunday, rumblings are that he will likely need at least one more week to recover his hamstring. That means Coly McCoy will make his second straight start after throwing for 218 yards and 1 interception last week. The veteran backup could be getting a boost as DeAndre Hopkins, and Marquise Brown should both be ready to go on Sunday. Hopkins played great in his return last week and should build on that when Brown is healthy. Keep an eye on second-year receiver Rondale Moore who has at least six catches in his previous three games but hurt his groin last week. If all three receivers are healthy, it should boost McCoy this week.
The backfield is especially thin, led by James Conner. The veteran is back after dealing with some injuries and has three touchdowns in his last two games. He can be an effective runner, but with Kyler out, he’s struggling to average more than 3 yards per carry. It’s a glaring hole in this offense, especially with Murray likely out or limited again this weekend. There is little depth behind Conner since Eno Benjamin was released, so there is little hope it will improve this week.
The Cardinal’s defense has been bad, allowing 373 yards per game and surrendering 26.9 points per game (31st). They are trending in the wrong direction, with the unit allowing 30+ points in three of their last four games. The team is led by Budda Baker (team-high 85 tackles) and JJ Watt (team-high 5.5 sacks, 7 TFL). Both have played well but haven’t been enough to support a defense with many holes. They’ll be challenged this week as a healthier Chargers offense comes to town on Sunday.
Free Pick: Chargers -4.5
It’s hard to pick with so many injuries up in the air, but we feel confident in the Chargers Sunday. While they lost last week, we saw an offense that finally looked like their old selves. Even if Williams misses again this week, Palmer has become an excellent option for Herbert and will see less coverage with Allen on the field. This will also open up the run game for Ekeler, giving the Chargers an attack that will put up points against a bad Cardinals defense. Even with key players healthy, the Cardinals have yet to beat a team with a record of .500 or better. Add to that the rumors swirling around Murray’s role as a leader, and you have a recipe for a home blowout.
We’ll gladly lay the 4.5 points to take the Chargers on Sunday.