Breakdown: LAC -17.5 over Miami

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LA Chargers @ Miami
Recommendation: LAC -17.5
Cover Probability: 70.82%
Cover Edge: 35.21%

Los Angeles Chargers:
-RB Melvin Gordon (holdout) will be back week 5.
-TE Hunter Henry (knee) is OUT indefinitely.
-LT Russell Okung (illness) has been placed on the Non-Football Injury List to start the season.
-LB Jatavis Brown (ankle) was INACTIVE weeks 1 and 2.
-CB Trevor Williams (quad) is on IR.
-S Derwin James (foot) is on IR.
-S Adrian Phillips (forearm) was injured week 2 and is OUT indefinitely.

Miami Dolphins:
-WR Albert Wilson (calf/hip) was injured week 1 and was INACTIVE week 2.
-WR Allen Hurns (concussion) was injured week 3.
-LT Jesse Davis (elbow) was injured week 3. He was limited in practice on Wednesday.

The model last week: Come on, 21 points? The Dolphins aren’t THAT bad…

*one week later*

…because they’re even worse.

That’s the thing about a machine learning algorithm. I have no idea what the hell it’s thinking. One thing to keep in mind is it’s likely using more preseason data to start the season, and will use more regular season stuff as we get a larger sample. Either way, I just trust that it works and will keep betting it. There’s a process. Trust it.

The spread has been bouncing around between 15.5 and 17.5. When we ran the model, the Vegas Consensus was at 17.5, so that’s where the bet is for us. Naturally, if you find it lower than that (consensus is at 16 at the time of writing, I personally got it at 15.5), you should still bet it).

When the Chargers have the ball:
The Chargers are coming into South Beach owning a 1-2 record, hoping to improve against a team that is mediocre by AAF standards. Though they’ve struggled this year at times (including a 10 point stinker against the freakin Lions), Football Outsiders still has the Chargers as the 10th ranked team in their predictive offensive DAVE rankings. Their biggest issues so far have been their offensive line, which feels the Chargers just line up 5 revolving doors. Last week, JJ Watt picked up 11 total pressures by himself. Fortunately for them, they aren’t the worst o-line playing in this game (foreshadowing!)

Phillip Rivers is playing his usual solid football, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt with a 66.4% completion percentage. Speaking of usual, Keenan Allen is still Keenan Allen — he’s already been targeted 41 times this year, racking up 404 yards and 3 touchdowns. Now that Hunter Henry is out, the next highest receivers based on targets are RB Austin Ekeler, Mike Williams, and Travis Benjamin. As of writing, the latest report is Melvin Gordon will end his hold out, but he still won’t be back for this one. Not that it’s really mattered, because A) he’s a running back and this is 2019, and B) Ekeler has been unreal — he’s averaging 4.2 yards as a runner and 10.9 yards as a receiver.

On defense, the Dolphins suck. The last quality player that they have is CB Xavien Howard, who has given up a 140.5 QB rating when targeted this year. They almost have as many missed tackles (25) as pressures on the QB (33). They’ve given up 10.3 passing yards per attempt and 5.4 rushing yards per attempt. They don’t do anything well, and do everything poorly. I award them no points, and my God have mercy on their souls.

When the Dolphins have the ball:
Yeah, it doesn’t get pretty on offense either. Josh Rosen is in for his second start, and I can’t think of a player who is in a worse spot than Rosen. Last year with Arizona, he played behind one of the worst offensive lines I’ve ever seen, until I saw the Dolphins this year. Per PFF, they own the lowest graded run-blocking unit in the NFL AND the lowest graded pass-blocking unit in the NFL. Meanwhile, Rosen is throwing the ball to guys like Preston Williams and Devante Parker. They’re averaging 2.6 yards per carry on the ground.

It’s just bad, everywhere.

On defense, the Chargers are essentially a 2-man wrecking crew at defensive end and holes everywhere else along the front 7. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa have 16 and 11 pressures, respectively — nobody else has more than 5. Against the run, they’ve given up a generous 4.2 yards per carry.

The secondary took a massive hit when they lost all-word safety Derwin James to a foot injury to start the season. That leaves corners Casey Hayward Jr and Desmond King as the play-makers on defense. Hayward Jr has been his usual dominant self, while King has struggled — he’s given up an almost perfect 155.8 QB rating when targeted this season. At least he can pump those stats up on Sunday.

That’s it for now, bitches.

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