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Laying the points with Anthony Lynn’s road warriors

The Chargers and Raiders square off in a huge Week 10 matchup. We break down a pick against the spread for Thursday Night Football.

Head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers looks on in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on October 27, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

The Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Chargers in a critical AFC West matchup to open Week 10 on Thursday Night Football. Both teams are behind the Kansas City Chiefs, and more likely to compete for a wild card berth than the division title. The Raiders are 4-4 and the Chargers are 4-5, and while this is not yet an elimination game, the winner gets a big step up at the midway point of the season.

The Chargers are a one-point road favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, and the point total is set at 49. The Chargers are -114 on the money line, while the Raiders are even money (+100). Coming into this game, the Raiders are 5-3 against the spread overall and 3-1 ATS at home. The Chargers are 3-5-1 ATS and 2-2 ATS on the road. It’s worth noting that under Anthony Lynn, the Chargers are 15-6-1 ATS on the road and 6-1 ATS as a road favorite.

Divisional short weeks are always difficult to sort out. Last week, it looked like the 49ers were going to run away against Arizona, only to see Kyler Murray bring them back and coming up just short of the upset. The Thursday results have been up and down all season. The Vikings won 19-9 in an ugly game that saw them effectively outlast Washington. The Chiefs thumped the Broncos in spite of losing Patrick Mahomes to a knee injury, and before that the Patriots rolled the Giants in the second half.

Oakland and LA are pretty close, beyond just their record. The Raiders are 15th in overall efficiency, ranking fifth on offense and 29th on defense. They have a net yards per play differential of -0.1, which ranks 19th. The Chargers are 19th in overall efficiency, ranking ninth on offense and 26th on defense. Their net yards per play differential is 0.3, which ranks 10th.

This game is a tough call. Net yards per play is helpful, but not entirely determinative. The Chargers are coming off a really impressive win over the Packers, but I actually think that might over-impress people. As of Wednesday morning, 59 percent of the spread handle and 58 percent of spread bets were on the Chargers. That’s a good sized chunk, but not exactly an absolutely overwhelming margin. By comparison, last week saw over 90 percent of wagers and handle on the 49ers at -10.5

The Chargers have won four straight in this series, covering the spread in all four. This year’s Raiders team is a little different than some of those previous squads. They’re not great, but they’re proving competitive week in and week out.

And yet I’m struggling with this one. The Chargers are starting to pick up some steam as they get healthier. The questionable statuses of Chargers right tackle Sam Tevi and linebacker Denzel Perryman is not ideal. The Raiders could get Trent Brown and Rodney Hudson back to boost their offensive line.

I’d like to pick the Raiders with Josh Jacobs leading the way, but I just am not seeing it from this defense. Tevi’s status isn’t helpful, but with all their skill position players getting healthy, I’m not entirely sure how the Raiders will stop the likes of Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry in the passing game. Add in Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler on the ground and through the air, and I just don’t see the Raiders keeping up. The Chargers ground game has struggled, but they might be prepared to turn a corner after that game against Green Bay.

The Raiders offense has been impressive, but I don’t see the unit quite keeping up in this one. It could be a shootout, but I think we see the Chargers edge them out in the end. They’ve played well on the road under Anthony Lynn, and I’ll ride with them in this one.

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