Ravens (8-3) at Chargers (4-6)
Spread: Chargers +3.5
Weather: No concerns
The Line Report
The spread for this contest has moved from Chargers +4 to Chargers +3.5. The total has moved up from 46 to 48 points.
Chargers Offense vs. Ravens Defense
The Los Angeles Chargers are scoring the eighth-most points per game this season. Justin Herbert isn’t the reason Los Angeles is 4-6 this year. He’s why there’s any optimism behind this team turning things around despite their underachieving first half.
As wild as it is to say, Keenan Allen is having a career year at 31. Allen currently leads the league in receptions (76), he’s third in receiving yards (952), and he’s tied for third in receiving touchdowns (7). That’s the good news; the bad news is no one has stepped up to compliment Allen since Mike Williams’ injury earlier this season.
Josh Palmer is out because of an injury. First-round pick Quentin Johnston has only reached 50 receiving yards in one game this season. Last week, his drop on a late-game deep shot likely cost the Chargers a win in Green Bay.
Jalen Guyton is a role player who has 1,064 receiving yards over his five-year career. What makes matters worse is that Baltimore allows the eighth-fewest receiving yards per game to wide receivers.
The Baltimore Ravens have also been stingy against tight ends, allowing the eighth-fewest receiving yards per game to the position. Gerald Everett and Donald Parham Jr. have just under 200 receiving yards each on the season.
After being a production monster over the last few years, Austin Ekeler is having a bit of a down season. He’s only averaging 3.9 yards per carry, with only one spike game as a runner this season, which came on opening day. His passing game usage remains strong, with at least seven targets in three of his last four games. However, he’s only gone over 50 receiving yards once this season.
Baltimore allows the 13th-most rushing yards and the 16th-most receiving yards to running backs.
Ravens Offense vs. Chargers Defense
Lamar Jackson leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards, but he’s 23rd in passing yards per game. Jackson has been an efficient passer for most of his career, but he’s never been a voluminous one. He’ll have a great opportunity this Sunday night to break the pattern, as Los Angeles allows the most passing yards per game this season.
Jackson will have to face the Chargers without his most reliable target, Mark Andrews. That thrusts second-year tight end Isaiah Likely into a bigger role. Likely is a good athlete for the position but has seen very limited work this year, even when Andrews has been out. The Chargers are allowing the second-most receiving yards to tight ends this year.
Los Angeles is allowing the most receiving yards per game to wide receivers. That’s great news for rookie Zay Flowers, who leads Ravens’ pass catchers in every major category but touchdowns. Flowers is the standalone centerpiece of Baltimore’s passing attack with Andrews sidelined.
Odell Beckham Jr. had his first 100-yard game as a Raven last week. Before then, he only reached 50 receiving yards in one of his eight other games. Rashod Bateman and Nelson Agholor both see sporadic usage, but Agholor has a few spike weeks this year.
The Chargers have been much better against the run than they were in the previous two seasons, allowing the 19th-most rushing yards to running backs. They are, however, giving up the second-most passing yards to the position this season.
Gus Edwards is the team’s primary ball carrier, but he only has 10 targets on the season. Edwards has double-digit carries in all but two games this season, but he’s maxed out at 80 rushing yards in a single game. Rookie Keaton Mitchell has seen a usage uptick over the last three weeks, but he only has a supplemental role to this point.
What You’re Betting On
The Chargers have lost five games by three points or less this year; missed opportunities have derailed their season. If you’re betting on the Chargers, you are banking on a more consistent effort against one of the best teams in the league in Baltimore.
Herbert can outduel anyone, but he needs more out of his supporting cast. Brandon Staley’s defense has routinely underachieved since he took over the team in 2021. If you’re betting on the Chargers, you don’t need a great defensive effort, but you need them to prevent Jackson from taking over. One major perk for Chargers’ bettors is that Los Angeles is 4-6, which makes this a borderline do-or-die game.
The Ravens have been one of the most consistent teams in the league for a long time. Any bet on Baltimore is built around its defense and Jackson. Baltimore’s defense is giving up the second-fewest points per game this season.
The Ravens have had a little schedule luck on that front, but they are a high-caliber, reliable unit. Jackson is one of the few quarterbacks in the league that can carry his offense. He’ll be down his top target in Andrews this week, but he has a great matchup against the Chargers. If Jackson will have a production swell through the air, this is the spot to do it.
Score Prediction: Ravens 26, Chargers 24
Ryan’s Recent Betting Record
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 48-32
ATS 2023: 29-26
Props 2022: 60-40
Props 2023: 20-19