Recommended Bet: LA Chargers (-14) over Cincinnati

by Brady

Cincinnati @ LA Chargers
Vegas: LAC – 14
DomModel: LAC – 20.588
Recommendation: LAC -14

Key injuries:
Cincinnati Bengals:
-QB Andy Dalton (thumb) was injured week 12. He was placed on IR.
-WR AJ Green (toe) was INACTIVE weeks 10 – 12. He returned week 13, but was re-injured. He is on IR.
-TE Tyler Eifert (ankle) is out of the season.
-TE Tyler Kroft (foot) was injured week 5. He was placed on IR on 11/16.
-DE Carl Lawson (torn ACL) was injured week 8. He is out for the season.
-DT Adolphus Washington (knee) was placed on IR on 11/23.
-LB Preston Brown (knee) was injured week 10. He was placed on IR on 11/21.
-LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion) was injured week 13. He did not practice on Wednesday.

Los Angeles Chargers:
-RB Melvin Gordon III (sprained MCL) was injured week 12. He was INACTIVE week 13. He did not practice on Wednesday.
-DT Corey Liuget (quad) was injured week 11. He is on IR.
-LB Kyzir White (knee) is was INACTIVE weeks 5 – 10. He has been placed on IR.
-LB Denzel Perryman (hamstring/knee) was injured week 11 and is out for the season.

When Cincinnati has the ball:
What started off as a promising season for the Bengals has quickly turned into a stage 5 disaster. It started early with some offensive line issues, mainly starting center Billy Price. Ok, innocent enough. Then they lost a couple of TE’s named Tyler (Eifert and Kroft). Then AJ Green went down, but at least he was coming back. Then they lost Andy Dalton. The final nail in the coffin came last week, when AJ Green finally returned, then immediately re-injured his toe. He’s now done for the year. Now, I must conclude that this offense is hopeless.

Not that there isn’t some talent left. WR Tyler Boyd (yes, another Tyler) is having a breakout season. RB Joe Mixon is also looking at a promising sophomore campaign. RB Geo Bernard continues to be reliable change of pace/third down back.

But that’s it.

Now we have Jeff Driskel throwing to guys like C.J. Uzomah and Cody Core. They still have some hope for John Ross. Ross was the 7th overall pick in 2017 and does exciting things like run really fast (he broke the record in the 40 with a cool 4.24 at the combine). However, Ross has been inconsistent and yet to put it together. There’s still time for Ross, but it’s unlikely to happen with Driskel throwing him the ball. It’s truly a disaster.

Oh and the offensive line sucks too.

Los Angeles’s defense:
The Chargers defense has improved over the last few weeks, now ranking 9th in DVOA (7th vs the pass, 18th vs the run). It helps that Joey Bosa is back to playing his full time pass rush roll. Bosa and Melvin Ingram make up a solid 1-2 punch at defensive end. Up front, they really don’t have much else — especially since they lost DT Corey Liuget and LB Kyzir White. The lack of depth contributes to their poor performance against the run.

The secondary, however, is turning into something special. Casey Hayward Jr. is back to his old reliable self at corner, and Desmond King is one of the top slot corners in football. Meanwhile, rookie safety Derwin James has played so incredible it would be a sin not to include him in the defensive player of the year conversation.

TL;DR Conclusion: The Chargers have some holes, but the Bengals are far too banged up to exploit them.

When Los Angeles has the ball:
The Chargers offense rolls into this one putting up 33 and 45 points in their last two games. They’ll still likely be without star RB Melvin Gordon, who is still recovering from an MCL strain. Last week, the Chargers split carries between Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Jackson averaged 6.1 ypc against the Steelers stingy run defense. Ekeler struggled, but he’s still an important piece since he’s the replacement for Gordon’s pass catching duties.

Through the air, Phillip Rivers is enjoying one of his better seasons. He’s completing almost 70% of his passes while keeping the ball out of harms way (only 6 INTs). Rivers continues to pepper slot receiver Keenan Allen with targets, particularly when you’re dumb like the Steelers and put a linebacker on him.

Image result for keenan allen

Behind Allen, expect Rivers to spread the ball around with Austin Ekeler, Tyrell Williams, and Mike Williams.

Cincinnati’s defense:
Give Cincinnati credit for being consistent — they rank 28th in defensive DVOA: 28th against the pass and 27th against the run. 

Yeah, those are high numbers.

If you’re an optimist that only enjoys good football, I suggest you exclusively pay attention to these guys:
1) DI Geno Atkins: 54 pressures rushing from the inside, plays well against the run
2) DE Carlos Dunlap 35 pressures, 7 sacks
3) DI Ryan Glasgow, run stuffer
4) Nobody else

TL:DR Conclusion: Even without Gordon, this matchup should be a cake walk for the Chargers. 

That’s it for now, bitches.

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