The cream of the 2020 QB draft class will be on display in the week 13 Chargers at Bengals matchup. Both (#1 pick) and Justin Herbert (#6) have their teams in position to end playoff droughts, with each just one back in their respective divisions while also in the mix for an AFC wild card spot.
Cincinnati looks good coming into Sunday’s matchup, winners of back-to-back games over the Raiders (32-13) and Steelers (42-10). The Chargers meanwhile lost 28-13 in Denver last week as -2.5 favorites, their fourth defeat over the last six games. Now LAC makes the trek East of the Mississippi for an early 1:00 PM ET start but are still just +3 point underdogs. Does that spell trap?
“UP” Herbert or “Down”
It’s not necessarily a sophomore slump for Chargers QB Justin Herbert, who threw for over 4,300 yards last year with 31 TD and 10 INT. Herbert has 24 TD this year with six games to play, but has also tied his INT mark from last year. More importantly though you just never know what you’re going to get from the Chargers on a week-to-week basis as the team has been held to 20 points or less in three of the last six.
Last week’s loss in Denver was a microcosm of L.A’s inconsistency. Herbert had over 300 yards passing with 2 TD, but also threw 2 INTs and the team managed just 13 points. Now L.A goes on the road for a second straight week, and is up against a Bengals defense that is top 5 vs. the run (93.7 ypg) meaning Herbert is going to have to be great for the Chargers to get the win.
Herbert has thrown for 300+ in three of the last four so he should get his vs. a Bengals secondary allowing 254.5 yards/game which is 25th in the NFL. The big concern is the LAC defense stopping Burrow – or perhaps more importantly RB Joe Mixon. The Chargers allowed 147 yards on the ground to Denver last week.
Bengals Keep Rolling?
It’s somewhat of a shocker that Cincinnati is just a -3 point favorite in the week 13 Chargers at Bengals matchup considering how good they’ve looked the last two games. Actually the Bengals have scored 30+ in five of the last six, and simply laid an egg in the 41-16 loss at home to Cleveland in week 9 when the Browns ran for 153 yards on just 23 attempts.
55% of public bettors like Cincinnati in this spot, which is just adding fuel to the fire that this game is a trap. Joe Burrow has great upside (69.3% completion rate, 22 TD / 12 INT) but the reason the Bengals have posted two straight dominant wins over the Raiders and Steelers is because of their running game which has averaged nearly 180 ypg the last two. By the way, the Chargers have the worst run defense in the league (145.3 ypg).
Joe Mixon has 120+ yards the last two weeks and has run for 4 TDs over that span. If the Chargers stuff the box and try to add protection to their run game that just opens things up for explosive Cincinnati WR Ja’Marr Chase who is averaging 18 yards/catch.
Week 13 Chargers at Bengals Pick
Cincinnati should really be a 5-6 point favorite in this matchup which does open things up for a contrarian play on the Chargers +3. With the Bengals ability to hang 30+ points at ease and this looking like a LAC win (or at least cover) playing the total is the way to go.
Bengals 31 – Chargers 34
Free Pick: Over 50