Bengals vs Chargers : The Los Angeles Chargers are making some decent scratch as of late, going 6-2 against the spread over their last eight games. The Cincinnati Bengals, on the other hand, are proving costly to their financial backers, going 1-6 ATS over their last seven games. Maybe that’s why Los Angeles is favored by so many points for Sunday afternoon’s battle with the Bengals.
NFL point spread: The Chargers opened as 14.5-point favorites; the total was 54 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 43.9-5.2 Chargers (NFL picks on every game)
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Why the Bengals can cover the spread
Cincinnati is a tough case to make at the moment, after losing for the fourth time in a row last week, 24-10, to Denver. The Bengals played the Broncos to a scoreless tie late into the second quarter, only trailed 7-3 at the half but gave up the first touchdown out of the locker room and could get no closer.
On the afternoon, Cincinnati actually held a 20-16 edge in first downs and a 31-29 edge in time of possession. But the Bengals lost the turnover battle 3-1, resulting in a minus-13 point difference.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel was serviceable in his first NFL start in place of the injured Andy Dalton, hitting on 25 of 38 throws for 236 yards and a touchdown. But he also threw one pick and lost a fumble at a time when Cincinnati still had a chance to rally. Perhaps another week of practice will help.
At 5-7 overall, the Bengals trail Baltimore by two games in the fight for the second AFC wild-card spot.
The Chargers are 2-0 both SU and ATS the last two weeks, after coming from behind to beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh last week 33-30. Los Angeles fell down to the Steelers 13-0 early and trailed 23-7 at the half. But the Chargers scored the first 23 points out of the locker room to take a lead and eventually won it on a Michael Badgley field goal with no time left on the clock.
On the night, Los Angeles out-gained Pittsburgh 371-336, while the special teams unit chipped in with a 73-yard punt return for a score.
The Chargers have now out-gained eight of their last nine opponents and out-rushed six of their last nine foes. Los Angeles is also 2-0 ATS the last two times it’s been lined as a double-digit favorite.
At 9-3 overall, the Chargers, second on the NFL gambling odds to win the AFC West, only trail Kansas City by one game in both the division and the battle for the best record in the AFC.
These teams are headed in opposite directions this season. Also, Los Angeles already owns five wins this year by double digits, while Cincinnati has lost five games by double digits. Smart money here gives the points with the Chargers.
The total has gone under in the Bengals’ last four games vs the Chargers.
The total has gone under in eight of the Chargers’ last nine games in December.
The Bengals are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games on the road vs teams with winning records.
All NFL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagramor head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.