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Thursday Night Football: Chargers vs Raiders

Anthony P
Anthony P

The Bottom Line article will lead us in making the right call on high-profile games. I will cover TNF, SNF, and MNF. I will also cover big baseball games, the NBA, and the NHL.

Tonight's game features a less-than-stellar matchup with both teams struggling and key players, including starting quarterbacks and a star wide receiver, missing in action. According to my model, the game is more evenly matched than initially anticipated, with the home team, the Raiders, favored by just -1.5, a contrast to earlier expectations.

Initially, the line was set at -3.5 in favor of the Chargers, anticipating Justin Herbert's participation. However, with Herbert out and backups Stick and O'Connell stepping in, the line underwent a significant shift. The books have now adjusted, listing the Chargers at +3, a move that seems overstated given the current team dynamics, hence the model's adjustment to -1.5 for the Raiders.

In terms of total points, there's been notable fluctuation. The total has dropped considerably from 42.5 to 34.5, even dipping to 33 at one point before settling back to 34.5. This change reflects the expected impact of the absent key players on the game's scoring potential.

Betting trends are showing a clear lean towards Las Vegas, with both sharps and casual bettors favoring them. This is reflected in the betting statistics, where 80% of the handle and 70% of the tickets are on the Raiders. Consequently, the books find themselves in a position of rooting for the Chargers tonight. This game, with its mix of absent starters and unpredictable backups, presents a unique challenge for bettors.

The Los Angeles Chargers face a significant challenge, as they will be without their star quarterback, Justin Herbert, for the remainder of the season. Herbert's absence, due to surgery following an injury, is a critical blow to the Chargers' offensive capabilities. Stepping into the limelight is backup quarterback Easton Stick. Drafted in the fifth round out of North Dakota State in 2019, Stick has had minimal exposure in the NFL, with his experience largely limited to preseason games. His performance in these games has been modest at best, with a low quarterback rating and an average of less than six yards per passing attempt. This quarterback change is a pivotal factor that could significantly influence the Chargers' game plan against the Raiders. The Chargers will also be without star-received Allen for the game.

Raiders' Offensive Struggles: An Opportunity for the Chargers' Defense: The Las Vegas Raiders, on the other hand, have been grappling with their own set of challenges, particularly on the offensive front. They have struggled to put points on the board, scoring 17 points or less in six of their last seven games, including a shutout loss to the Vikings. This offensive drought could present an opportunity for the Chargers' defense to capitalize on and possibly tilt the game in their favor.

Betting Odds and Game Predictions: The odds and predictions for this game reflect the anticipated impact of these team developments. The over/under total is notably low, suggesting expectations of a low-scoring affair. The Chargers, initially poised as favorites, now find themselves in the underdog position following Herbert's injury. This shift in odds indicates a significant reevaluation of the Chargers' potential performance without their leading quarterback.

Strategic Considerations for Both Teams: In this tightly contested matchup, both teams will need to make strategic adjustments. The Chargers, under Easton Stick's leadership, might need to rely more on their running game and defense, while the Raiders will look to break out of their offensive slump. The game could come down to which team better adapts to their current circumstances and exploits the weaknesses of their opponent.

Bet on the chargers and take the points:

Easton Stick, making his first career start in the NFL after five years wasn't great last game when he has to step in for Herbert. However, this week's preparation as the starting quarterback should see him better positioned for the game, compared to the abrupt and challenging circumstances of his previous appearance.

The Raiders, meanwhile, are in a downward spiral. Their recent shutout loss to the Vikings, where they failed to even score a field goal, highlighted the team's current struggles. To make matters worse, key players like Josh Jacobs, Kolton Miller, and Maxx Crosby are dealing with injuries, signaling a rapid decline for the team. In contrast, despite the Chargers' own disappointing season, they still possess more dynamic playmakers who can impact the game on both offense and defense. This could be the edge they need to keep the game close, potentially within a field goal's reach, or even secure a win. With these considerations, the Chargers, as a 3-point underdog, seem like a prudent bet in this scenario.

Top props for tonight's game:


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