NFL Divisional Round
Betting Line: Patriots -4
Over/Under: 45.5 at Bovada
The Los Angeles Chargers ended the 2018 NFL season with five wins in their last six games and they were impressive in their last outing, beating the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 in the AFC Wild Card game. Their only loss on the road this season was to the LA Rams in Week 3, but to advance to the AFC title game they have to hand the New England Patriots their first home loss of the season.
While Phillip Rivers and company did not put up big numbers against Baltimore’s top-ranked defense, the Chargers D played great. Can they do that this week against Tom Brady et al?
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The Patriots won their last two games of the season, but neither of the teams they beat made the NFL Playoffs. They had lost their previous two games before that, which is why many are picking the Chargers to cause an upset at Foxboro. However, New England are undefeated at home this season and have been in this situation many times. The Pats have had issues on defense, but they only gave up a total of 12 points in their last two games.
The Patriots are 8-0 at home and the Chargers are 8-1 on the road. This season LA are 10-7 ATS and have an Over/Under record of 8-9, while New England are at 7-8-1 ATS with an Over/Under record of 8-8.
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The last time these teams met was the previous season in Massachusetts where the Pats beat the Chargers 21-13. New England have covered the spread in their last four games against the Chargers.
The Chargers only had 243 total yards in the win over the Ravens and did not run the ball well at all, but they held Baltimore to 229 yards. They forced three turnovers while only committing one and they had seven sacks. The LA defense was stellar until late in the game when the Ravens made a run and they will have to be stellar again to take down Brady and the Pats in their house.
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Rivers passed for 160 yards with a touchdown and did not have an interception. He has a couple of solid wide receivers in Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. New England do not have a great pass rush and they only rank 21st in the league in pass defense.
One big concern for the Chargers is the health of lead running back Melvin Gordon. He was taken out of the last game with a knee injury and only rushed for 40 yards, averaging only 2.4 yards per carry. He should start in this game, however, and will be up against a Patriots’ run defense that ranks a respectable 11th in the league.
Brady has the weapons on the outside, a star tight end in Rob Gronkowski and a rookie running back in Sony Michel. ‘Gronk’ has not done much of late, although he comes up big in the playoffs, and Michel only rushed for 50 yards in his last game after rushing for 119 in the game before that. Brady will be facing a very balanced LA defense that ranks ninth in the league against both the run and the pass.
LA Chargers betting trends
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against a team with a winning record
- 7-2 ATS in their last nine playoff games
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games
- Under record of 4-1 in their last five games
New England Patriots betting trends
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven home playoff games
- 18-8 ATS in their last 26 games against a team with a winning record
- 7-3 ATS in their last 10 playoff games
- Under record of 8-1 in their last nine games
LA Chargers vs. New England Patriots betting predictions
There are a lot of experts picking the Chargers to pull off an upset in this AFC playoff game. However, we are not among them. Brady is at home and it is playoff time, and that usually spells victory for the Patriots. This will be a pretty close game, but the Pats will play well against the run and build a dam around Rivers. Get on New England to cover the spread and advance to yet another AFC Championship Game.
Best bet: New England Patriots -4 at 888 Sport
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