NFL Week Seven Betting Picks: San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars

San Diego Chargers at Jacksonville Jaguars
EverBank Field – Jacksonville, Florida
Sunday, October 20, 2013, 1:00 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: San Diego -7 1/2
Current Line: San Diego -9 (+105)
Opening Total: 44 1/2
Current Total: 45 1/2
Opening Money Line: Chargers -360 / Jaguars +295
Current Money Line: Chargers -345 / Jaguars +285

San Diego is a 9 point favorite at the winless Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday.
San Diego is a 9 point favorite at the winless Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday.

The 3-3 San Diego Chargers travel to the 0-6 Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. The Chargers are in third place in the AFC West behind the 6-0 Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs. Jacksonville is one of three winless teams in the NFL along with the 0-6 New York Giants and 0-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Since 2001, San Diego is 3-2 against Jacksonville. The Chargers have won 2 straight against the Jaguars including a 38-14 win at Jacksonville in 2011 in the last meeting between the teams.

San Diego is coached by Mike McCoy in his first season. The Chargers are 3-3 but could easily be 5-1 at least. They lost to the Houston Texans 31-28 at home despite leading 28-7 in the third quarter. The Chargers then won at the Philadelphia Eagles 33-30 before losing at the Tennessee Titans 20-17. San Diego hosted the Dallas Cowboys and came back from a 21-10 deficit to win 30-21. The Chargers lost at the Oakland Raiders 27-17, and then beat the Indianapolis Colts 19-9 last Monday night. The Chargers are 4-1-1 ATS this season and the total is 3-3. San Diego was a 1 point favorite against Indianapolis and the total was 50.5.

The Colts took an early 3-0 lead against the Chargers. The Chargers would score 10 straight points to take a 10-3 lead in the second quarter. Indy would add a field goal before halftime to make it 10-6 going into the locker room. San Diego added two second half field goals to expand the lead to 16-6. the Colts pulled to within 16-9 with 7:21 left. The Chargers punted on their next possession but an illegal block in the back pushed Colts back to their own 9. Indianapolis went three and out and punted it back to the Chargers with 3:17 left. San Diego drove down the field and kicked a 50 yard field goal to ice the game 19-9. The Colts threw an interception on their last possession which was the game’s only turnover. The Chargers had 374 total yards including 227 passing yards. The Colts had 267 total yards including 193 passing yards.

San Diego is outscoring teams 24-23 this season. The Chargers are #14 in scoring in the NFL. On offense, San Diego is averaging 397.7 yards per game including 297.2 passing and 100.5 rushing yards per game. The Chargers are #6 in total offense and #5 in passing. On defense, San Diego is allowing 382.8 total yards per game, including 272.8 passing and 110 rushing yards. The Chargers are 18th or worse in all three categories. The Chargers are -7 in turnovers this season. San Diego is 37/77 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 28/73. The Chargers have forced 14 sacks and allowed 10 this season. San Diego is averaging 32:36 minutes for time of possession. The Chargers are averaging 45 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 69. San Diego has allowed 3 defensive touchdowns this season.

San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers is having his best season in years. He has completed 72.6% of his passes for 1,847 yards with 14 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 28 rushing yards. He has been sacked 10 times. Running back Ryan Mathews has 89 carries for 3366 yards, along with 7 catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. Danny Woodhead has 37 carries for 143 yards, along with 36 catches for 267 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ronnie Brown has 23 carries for 69 yards and the lone rushing touchdown this season for the Chargers, along with 6 catches for 48 yards. He is probable with an ankle injury. Tight end Antonio Gates has 36 catches, 466 yards, and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Eddie Royal has 18 catches, 216 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is questionable with a toe injury. Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown also get significant catches. Receivers Malcolm Floyd and Danario Alexander are both on IR. Eleven defensive players and five offensive linemen are listed on the  injury report.

The Jaguars are coached by Gus Bradley who left his job as the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks to take over this train wreck. The Jaguars aren’t just bad but historically bad. Jacksonville has lost all six games by double digits. The Jaguars have home losses to the Kansas City Chiefs 28-2 and the Indianapolis Colts 37-3, along with road losses at the Oakland Raiders 19-9, the Seattle Seahawks 45-17, the St. Louis Rams 34-20  and last week at the Denver Broncos 35-19. The Chiefs, Seahawks, Broncos and Colts have a combined 3 losses. The Jaguars are 1-5 ATS and the total is 3-3 this season. Jacksonville was a record 26.5 point underdog at the Broncos last week and the total was 53.

Denver quickly jumped out to a 14-0 lead and it looked they would easily cover the 27 point spread over the woeful Jaguars. However, Jacksonville outscored the Broncos 12-0 in the second quarter to make it 14-12 at halftime. The Jaguars scored on a 59 yard pick six late in the second but went for 2 points and failed instead of kicking the extra point. The teams traded touchdowns to start the third quarter to make it 21-19 Broncos. However the Broncos scored the last two touchdowns of the game to make the final 35-19. The Jaguars had 362 total yards including 291 passing yards. Denver had 407 total yards including 295 passing yards. Denver had 3 turnovers and Jacksonville had 2.

The Jaguars are being outscored 33-12 this season. Jacksonville is last in scoring and second to last in points allowed. The Jaguars are averaging a league worst 270.2 yards per game including the #25 passing game at 209.7 yards and are last in rushing at 60.5 yards per game. The defense isn’t much better. Jacksonville is allowing 384.3 yards per game including 231.8 passing and 152.5 rushing yards. The Jaguars are #22 in total defense and last against the run. Jacksonville is -6 in turnovers. The Jaguars are 28/96 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 35/85. Jacksonville has allowed 22 quarterback sacks this season and forced 10. The Jags ave allowed 3 defensive touchdowns this season and has one of their own. Jacksonville is averaging 53 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 36.

Jacksonville quarterback Blaine Gabbert will miss his second straight game with a hamstring injury. He also missed a couple of games earlier in the season with a laceration on his throwing hand. Back-up Chad Henne will start but most people (myself included) feel that Henne is slightly better than Gabbert anyway. Henne has completed 58.4% of his passes for 904 yards with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. He has been sacked 10 times this season and has 13 rushing yards. Gabbert has completed 48.8% of his passes for 481 yards with a touchdown and 7 picks, along with 9 carries for 32 yards. He has been sacked 12 times.

Running back Maurice Jones-Drew has 94 carries, 279 yards and 2 touchdown, along with  8 catches for 44 yards. Jordan Todman has 13 carries for 34 yards with a touchdown along with 3 catches. He is probable with a thigh bruise. Receiver Cecil Shorts has 31 catches, 411 yards and a touchdown. He is questionable with a shoulder injury and missed the Bronco game. Ace Sanders has 15 catches for 171 yards. Justin Blackmon returned from a 4 game suspension for violating the NFl’s substance abuse policy a couple of weeks ago. He has 19 catches for 326 yards and a touchdown. He will likely supplant Shorts as the go-to receiver even if Shorts is healthy. Blackmon is probable with a groin injury. Tight end Clay Harbor has 11 catches, 146 yards and a touchdown. Tight ends Marcedes Lewis is probable with a calf injury. Eight defensive players are listed on the injury report.

San Diego is 4-1 ATS after gaining more than 350 total yards, 4-1-1 in road games, overall and on grass, 13-6-1 against AFC teams, 2-6 against teams with losing records, 1-4 in Week 7, 1-5 after allowing less than 90 rushing yards, 1-6 in October, 1-7-1 after a cover, and 0-6-1 after a straight up win. The favorite has covered 4 of the last 5 in this series. The over is 4-0-1 in this series recently.

Jacksonville is 5-2-1 ATS in October, 7-15 after passing for more than 250 yards, 6-20-1 after allowing more than 350 total yards, 2-8 at home, 1-4 after a cover, after allowing 30 points or more, against AFC teams, and on grass, 1-5 after a straight up loss, 1-6 after a straight up loss of 14 points or more, and overall, 0-4 after rushing for less than 90 yards and gaining more than 350 total yards. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 in this series.

West coast teams having to travel to Eastern Time Zone for a 10:00 am Pacific kickoff usually don’t do too well. Plus, throw in the fact the Chargers played on Monday night and have a short week.  It doesn’t bode well for San Diego. However, Jacksonville is dreadful and doesn’t have much of a home field advantage as EverBank Field is usually half full at best. I think San Diego jumps out to a big lead, but Jacksonville scores late to get inside the 9 point spread.

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