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NFL Monday Night Picks — Chargers – Raiders

La Chargers

Would Either Team Ground It Out? Chargers or Raiders?

By Charles Jay

When making NFL Monday night picks involving the game taking place between the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers, BetAnySports patrons might want to take into account that despite the fact that there are two extremely capable quarterbacks, the ground game might play a big role.

We are not saying that because there are superstar running backs on either side, but rather, two teams that have experienced their share of problems stopping the run.

The game takes place at 8:15 p.m. Eastern time on Monday at Sofi Stadium in Inglewood, with ESPN televising.

NFL Monday Night Picks  – Here are the numbers

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In the football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Chargers are the favorites:

Los Angeles Chargers – 3
Las Vegas Raiders + 3

Over 51.5 points -110
Under 51.5 points – 110

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NFL Monday Night Picks  — About the Chargers

Brandon Staley, who did such a great job as defensive coordinator with the Rams, got the head coaching job with the Chargers. Yet it is the offense that is really carrying things at the moment. The Bolts are tops in the NFL in yards per drive at 45.68 , and obviously they have been riding the arm of Justin Herbert, who should pass the 1000-yard mark in this game.

They are blessed with two outstanding wide receivers; Mike Williams has caught four of Herbert’s six touchdown passes, and Keenan Allen has had a couple of 100-yard outings. Tight end Jared Cook, the former Raider, who is always somewhat dangerous, has caught 10 passes less far.

Austin Ekeler has proven to be an extremely useful back, as the Chargers seemed to have moved off of the “committee” approach. Ekeler has averaged 4.7 yards per carry and has 15 receptions.

On defense the Chargers depend an awful lot on forcing turnovers, and they have done that with the second most frequency in the NFL – 22.2% of their opponents drives, in fact.

Staley’s approach to defense is to take away the explosive plays but that often allows some room for a team to run the ball. Indeed, the Chargers are last in the NFL, allowing 5.8 yards per rushing attempt. This is definitely a part of their game the Raiders will look to exploit.

NFL Monday Night Picks — About the Raiders

Coming into this week’s schedule, Derek Carr had thrown for more yardage than any other NFL quarterback. Over the first three games, all of which Las Vegas has won, Carr has averaged 401 yards per outing.

He will rely an awful lot on Darren Waller, his tight end who was targeted 19 times in the opener against Baltimore. For big plays down the field, Henry Ruggs might be the most likely possibility. He has a boatload of speed, but has had a tendency to drop the ball.

The running back situation is a little uncertain as we speak. Josh Jacobs has been declared a game-time decision with an ankle injury, and if he can’t go that would leave most of the burden in the hands of Marion Barber, who is averaging four yards per carry. Kenyan Drake was signed to a big contract in the off-season, but he has only 44 yards on 21 carries.

Gus Bradley was hired as defensive coordinator; he had been with the Chargers last season. His defense is in the upper half of the NFL, in 13th place in terms of yards allowed on a per-drive basis.

NFL Monday Night Picks – Our conclusion

Both of these teams put the ball up in the air well over 60% of the time, but it’s what happens when they don’t do that which could determine the winner. It is very tough to be a winning team if you’re allowing 5.8 yards-per-carry. We know that Gruden likes to run the football, even if it’s just to show that he’s willing to do it. If it’s not Jacobs, then it will be somebody else, probably Barber. But the Raiders will advance the ball that way, and likely open things up a little bit for Derek Carr. The Chargers have allowed more yardage per opponents possession than all but two teams this season.

The only thing that prevents us from going over the total in this one is the fact that both teams are among the bottom ten in the league in converting Red Zone appearances into touchdowns. But we’re willing to take any points available, which puts us with the Silver and Black.

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Dirty has been an employee or owner of some of the top online sports gambling forums since 1998. He worked at EOG.com from it's inception until 2008 when he left and opened GamblingIQ and then in 2012 opened Handicappers Hidaway. He has written hundreds af articles over the years and always has his "Dirty Dozen" College Football poll up starting the first week of October.
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