Baltimore Ravens at Los Angeles Chargers (-4.5)
Sat. 12/22, 8:20 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Ravens-Chargers:
1. While Baltimore has put itself into the thick of the playoff hunt with four wins over its past five games, the Chargers have won four straight to give themselves a chance to nab the AFC’s top playoff seed. The quality of wins for these two teams during these surges have been quite different, however, as the Ravens’ four most recent victories have come against teams that currently have a combined record of 19-37 (Cincinnati, Oakland, Atlanta and Tampa Bay). The Chargers, meanwhile, have won at Pittsburgh and at Kansas City during their most recent win streak, which is part of a larger run of 10 wins in their past 11 games. They have also been a profitable wager in recent weeks, going 7-3 against the spread since the start of October.
2. Los Angeles is 7-1 straight up over its past eight December games dating back to last season, with the lone loss coming at Kansas City in 2017. The only other defeats against the spread in the season’s final month were the Chargers’ failure to cover a 13-point spread versus Cleveland last year and a 16.5-point spread in a win over Cincinnati two weeks ago. Saturday’s number falls right in line with what has been a sweet spot for L.A., which has won nine of the past 10 games (7-3 against the spread) in which it has been favored by between 3.5 and 10 points.
3. The Chargers are 4-2 against the spread in the last six games between these teams. That success has been due in large part to the play of Los Angeles quarterback Philip Rivers, who has completed 69% of his pass attempts for an average of 311 yards per game with 13 touchdowns and just three interceptions in the six meetings. Los Angeles has also been a sound wager when coming off the kind of narrow win it pulled off in Kansas City last Thursday. In two seasons under head coach Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles is 6-0 straight up (5-1 against the spread) when coming off a victory by six points or fewer.
Pick: Chargers -4.5
Confidence Level: Moderate (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)