The page is being turned in Arizona but the Chargers are turning to old reliable. Philip Rivers enters the pre-season as the Chargers first-string quarterback for a 13th consecutive season. Bettors will have to play close attention to see who’ll be his QB counterpart on the Cardinals’ sideline. Oddsmakers currently have the Cardinals as 1-point favourites on the NFL odds board.
NFL Point Spread and Betting Analysis
Los Angeles is 2-6 straight up and against the spread in their last eight exhibition matchups. The club lost all its games last August outside of its Week 3 game that saw extended time for Rivers and the rest of the first-string players. The Under was the best way to bet LA in 2017. The Under cashed in each of the Chargers’ last three preseason games and 12 of their 16 regular season contests.
Arizona finished 25th in points per game in 2017 after starting running back David Johnson suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions. Johnson tallied 2118 total yards and scored 20 touchdowns in 2016. The Cardinals started the ’17 season 0-5 ATS but rebounded over the final 11 games. The club went 3-1 SU and ATS in its last four games of the campaign.
Los Angeles Chargers
LA won nine of its last 11 games and fell just short of a playoff berth. Rivers will be the focal point of the offense again in his 14 year in the league, but Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn is known for his dedication to the run game.
The Buffalo Bills ran for a league-best 2630 yards in 2016 with Lynn calling the shots. The Chargers couldn’t replicate that success in 2017 – Lynn’s first with the Chargers – and it’s up to OC Ken Whisenhunt to make better use of Melvin Gordon and the rest of LA’s stable of running backs in 2018.
Steve Wilks is the new man in charge in Arizona. He made his name as the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers and is hoping to bring the same defensive intensity to the Cardinals.
Most of the intrigue in Tempe has to do with the other side of the ball. Quarterback Carson Palmer is gone as are his backups from a year ago, Drew Stanton and Blaine Gabbert. Sam Bradford is penciled in as the projected QB1 for Week 1 but there’s talk the oft-injured signal caller will see limited action in the pre-season. Bettors should expect to see plenty of rookie first-round draft pick Josh Rosen under center for the Cardinals. The former UCLA Bruin is quarterback of the future in Arizona but isn’t expected to take the starting job until at least 2019 – barring another Bradford injury of course.