Monday, November 09, 2020

Raiders vs. Chargers NFL Week 9: Value Quarterback Props for Carr and Herbert


Ian Wharton


Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images/AFP


Divisional matchups are some of the zaniest and most difficult games to bet. Coaching staffs know everything about their foe, even their willingness to break off trends and tendencies. These games come down to playmakers, but usually, it’s the role players who ascend to the moment more than the superstars doing even more.

We’re going to break down the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers Week 10 matchup. This is a critical game as the 4-3 Raiders want to maintain their bid in the playoff chase. The Chargers want to avoid falling even further into a tailspin as they sit 2-5.

The major theme of this game will be the quarterback play, and for good reason. Justin Herbert has overtaken Joe Burrow as the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award on some of the best sportsbooks thanks to his dazzling start. I'm not sure that's a wise bet at even or close to value considering Burrow's situation and more impressive volume of work needed to be competent, but if you picked Herbert when he was +500 or more then you should be plenty happy with those NFL odds and your potential payoff.

Herbert's completing a highly impressive statistical season though. With 67 percent of his passes being complete for 1,820 yards, 15 touchdowns and five interceptions, he's on pace for one of the best rookie years of all time. The Chargers must be thrilled with his playmaking and improved mechanics already. Quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton has earned league-wide praise already for that jump.

The rest of the season has been disastrous for the franchise. Injuries across the offensive line and other key spots have again limited the availability of difference-makers. This franchise feels cursed, and likely needs to reboot parts of their roster and staff after this season.

The offense has been quite effective, and the rush defense remains strong. They rely on chunk gains on offense as Austin Ekeler's injury stunted some of the consistency they showed early on. He's back into the fold now and he should do very well against the Raiders.

But the defensive backfield has been uncharacteristically bad. They traded the overrated but still talented Desmond King for nothing, and have quality veterans Casey Hayward and Chris Harris Jr., yet sit with the 21st-ranked pass defense. That's bad news against this Raiders offense.

The Raiders have been a tough out thanks to their coaching, tough-nosed approach, and efficient offense. The defense remains well under-manned and they need to be criticized for burning assets on that side of the ball, but Gruden's ability to scheme an offense is impressive. He needs more weapons and a more dynamic quarterback to make it better but he's getting the most out of his team.

The tough part predicting the Raiders is they swing between competitive and bad. Blowout losses to the Patriots and Buccaneers exposed major weaknesses, and even their close wins and losses were easy to side-eye with skepticism. They only felt like a good team against the Saints and Chiefs, but they also beat those two teams.

The Raiders have simply executed better in crunch time under this regime than the Chargers. For all of the possible criticisms of the franchise, there's a stability in process that will be solidified in the results if they can continue filling out the defense with higher-end talent. The Chargers certainly cannot say that and it likely costs jobs in the near future.

Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP


Derek Carr has put up good numbers on the year as well, but this is Herbert's show. I expect both to have efficient games with solid numbers, but leaving meat on the bone as usual. The impact of each quarterback will be more important than the statistics, and I like the veteran's play this year a little more than the rookie's. There's nothing wrong with that happening considering the difference in experience.

I'm bullish on the total, so everything stems from that under NFL pick. Check out our three free picks below for this matchup. 

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