LA Chargers at LV Raiders
Time: 7:20 PM (EST), Thursday, on FOX
Spread: LV -3.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Las Vegas Raiders is 7-6 and in second place in the AFC West, but it trails the first-place Kansas City Chiefs by five full games. This week the Raiders host the visiting Los Angeles Chargers as 3.5-point favorites per NFL oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes. The over-under is set at 52 total points, and the game will kickoff at 7:20 PM (EST) on FOX Thursday night.
The Las Vegas Raiders enter as losers of three of its last four. It suffered defeat to division-leading Kansas City four weeks ago, before then falling to the Atlanta Falcons, defeating the New York Jets, and then losing again 27-44 last week to the Indianapolis Colts.
The Raiders have only held one of its last four opponents under 30 points. Defensively, things are very bad. Las Vegas gives up 30.1 points per game on the season and ranks third-worst of NFL defensive units. Its offense ranking No. 11 in scoring at 26.9 per game has helped some, but even at one game over .500 the Raiders still possess a -3.2 point differential. Additionally, it possesses a No. 14 ranked pass offense and a No. 12 ranked Rush offense, but neither is blowing the lid off and keeping games out of reach for a defense that cannot seem to get it right.
The rush attack is bolstered by the talents of quarterback Derek Carr, who ranks No. 3 in rushing yards at 141 this season. Josh Jacobs does the heavy lifting with 219 of the team’s total 369 carries, but he averages under four yards-per-carry and he has fumbled the ball twice without recovery.
While his 48 first downs represent over one-half of the Raiders rushing firsts, Jacobs has to start cranking out more big plays, simply because no one else is. No. 2 backfield option Devontae Booker averages almost five yards-per-carry, but he has just three of the 15 touchdowns with Jacobs accounting for nine of the other 12. Carr has two, while Jalen Richard has one on his 20 rushes for 104 yards. The Raiders have averaged 4.2 yards-per-carry as a team.
Las Vegas has nearly three wideout options over 600 yards, paced by tight end Darren Waller’s 817 yards on 84 catches. Waller has nearly twice as many receptions as the No. 2 in that category (Hunter Renfrow’s 47), and he has seven of the team’s 24 receiving touchdowns. Jacobs has done a good job out of the backfield with his 30 catches for 200 yards, though he has yet to catch a TD pass.
The Los Angeles Chargers are just 4-9 on the season and it has lost two of its last three, though last week it knocked off the Atlanta Falcons 20-17. Los Angeles has made big improvements in its pass game, aided by the emergence of Justin Herbert. The Chargers rank No. 4 in passing yards at 270.4 per game and its rush attack ranks middle-of-the-pack at 112.6 yards-per-game. The overall picture still is not that great, as the Chargers manage just under 20 points per game while surrendering 27.8. The differential accordingly is -8 points.
Herbert has emerged as a top QB this season. He has completed 66.3 percent of his passes for 3,467 yards and 25 touchdowns, with 10 interceptions and 26 sacks (2.15 per game). Herbert has a decent passer rating at 94.7. He has also been a good rush threat on the 41 occasions he’s carried the ball: Herbert averages 4.5 yards-per-carry and has three of the team’s eight rushing touchdowns. Lead running back Austin Ekeler has averaged 4.7 yards-per-carry on his 86 attempts with a touchdown.
Joshua Kelley leads the team in carries with 109, but he averages barely three yards-per-attempt and he has just 19 first downs, which ranks tied for No. 2, again despite the lead in carries.
Herbert’s top receiver has been Keenan Allen. He has nearly 1,000 yards this season and has caught 99 of 144 targeted passes with 60 of those 99 catches resulting in first downs. He also has recorded eight of the team’s 25 receiving touchdowns.