NFL expert Joshua Jones (@JoshuapsJones) shares his expert opinion on the best bets available from Thursday night's action in Las Vegas.
LA Chargers @ Las Vegas Raiders | Friday 18th December 2020, 01:20 | Sky Sports
The LA Chargers (4-9) head to Allegiant Stadium to take on the Las Vegas Raiders (7-6) with the hosts needing to win to keep their slim play-off hopes alive.
The Raiders are ‘on the outside looking in’ of the AFC play-off picture, with the 8-5 Miami Dolphins occupying the #7 slot while the 8-5 Baltimore Ravens are currently sandwiched between the two.
If they’re to make any sort of push for the postseason, it has to start here against the already eliminated Chargers and they’ll have to do it without rookie wideout Henry Ruggs after he was placed on the COVID 19/Reserve list this week.
Vegas were able to welcome star RB Josh Jacobs back to the team last Sunday, but it still wasn’t enough to beat Indianapolis – who restricted him to just 49 yards on the ground from 13 attempts.
The Colts are the #5 rush defense in the league, and it showed, so he’ll be hoping for a more fruitful evening against Thursday night’s opponents, who rank 31st (per DVOA) in the league against the run, allowing 1.0 rushing TD per game and 4.8 yards per carry to opposing backs.
In fact, it should be a fruitful game for both sides’ rushing offenses, with the Raiders being the only defence currently ranked lower than their opponents. Vegas are 32nd (per DVOA) in the league against the run, allowing 5.0 yards per carry to opposing backs – a pitiful record that saw Jon Gruden fire defensive coach Paul Guenther this week.
His porous defence had also allowed an average of 1.8 rushing TDs per game at home.
They appointed a new coordinator this week, but I can’t imagine that’s enough to change their fate. With that in mind, I’m backing Both Teams to score a Rushing TD at evens with SkyBet.
Another trends-based play to keep an eye on is the Over. The Raiders are the (joint) best side in the NFL on the over/under market – going 10-3 ATS, per Action Network.
In their own backyard, that’s an impressive 5-1, whilst the Chargers are 4-2-0 to the over on the road. The worry here is that this is the highest total of the week (53.0), and the Chargers haven’t passed this number in any of their last three outings.
Because of that, I’m going to tease the line down to 46.5 and pair it with the Raiders to win at Betfair.
Vegas are 4-1 against sides with a .450 record or worse, and have surpassed this total in every game but their bizarre 16-6 win in the wind, rain, hail, sun, snow, thunder, lightning and hurricane affected game at Cleveland.
LA are 0-5 on the road with Herbert under centre; while their only wins this season have come against the Bengals (2-10-1), Jaguars (1-12), Jets (0-13) and Falcons (4-9). They were exceptionally lucky to beat the Falcons too, despite Atlanta seeming to be actively trying to lose.
Up 17-10 at the half, their four second half drives read ‘Interception, Punt, Interception, Interception’. Even then, it took a 6-play, 49 yard field goal drive that started with just 00:30 left in the 4th to get them over the line.
I’m taking Las Vegas Raiders to win and Over 46.5 points at 11/10 with Betfair.