Sunday means two things. We get NFL football, and we get the chance to make some cash. With a full slate of games, besides the Thursday and Monday night games, there’s plenty of contests to pick from. However, here we are going to dive into the in’s and out’s of the Indianapolis Colts at the Los Angeles Chargers.
Life With No Luck
A couple of weeks ago, shockwaves were sent through the National Football League when Indianapolis star QB Andrew Luck retired, seemingly, out of nowhere. Now, the Colts are looking to fill the nearly 4,600 passing yards and 39 passing touchdowns that Luck accounted for a season ago.
They did sign recently-released Brian Hoyer to a three-year deal. However, they’re going to start the season with another former Patriots back-up in Jacoby Brissett. The thing is, Brissett did a pretty admirable job in filling in for Luck in years previous to this. In 2017, he started 15 games and threw for over 3,000 yards and 13 touchdowns while limiting his turnovers.
It will be interesting to see how the offensive philosophy changes with Brissett now in place of Luck for good. In 2017, the year that Brissett was the starter for an injured Luck, they only threw the ball a total of 487 times. When Luck returned the next season, that number jumped to 644. The team did have a total of 76 more plays ran in 2018 than 2017, but that difference is almost entirely made up in the 43 times more they ran the ball in Brissett’s year.
Who Is Running For LA?
Melvin Gordon has had three straight solid seasons for the Chargers after a nightmare rookie season where he didn’t score once on 184 carries. But after putting up over 1,200 total yards and 12 touchdowns a season ago, he is holding out until he gets a new contract. He’s in the last deal of his rookie contract that’ll see him be the 10th-highest-paid running back in the league at $5.6 million.
Chargers GM Tom Telesco has said publicly that they are not willing to negotiate a new deal until after the season, and recent reports say that they’re actually trying to trade him.
So the question is, who is taking those reps at running back? Enter Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Ekeler has had a very productive short career so far in Los Angeles. Last season he accounted for nearly 1,000 yards in the air and on the ground combined, as well as scoring six touchdowns.
The other guy that’ll get a fair share of work for LA is their seventh-round pick from last season, Jackson. After a four-year career at Northwestern, Jackson racked up over 300 yards in his rookie season. With 4.52 speed, he has the ability to make guys miss, and it would not be surprising if he’s the breakout star of 2019 in the NFL.
Sportsbook has this game at an over/under of 45 with the spread being in the Colts’ favor by 6.5 points. Only five games this weekend have a lower over/under line, and four having a higher spread. Seeing how the Colts are a completely different team in 2019 with Luck retiring, predicting their success/failures based on 2018 is near impossible.
However, what we can do is look at how Los Angeles did in 2018 based on the spread and over/under for this game. All in all, the Chargers went over 45 points in their games nine times. However, only four of those times came at home. They won seven of their 12 games by 5.5 points or more, but only did it twice at home. From that research, it seems that, understandably, the Chargers don’t really play well at the 27,000-seat StubHub Center. That’s fair considering it seems like half the people in the stands are there to cheer for the other team anyways.
The Pick: Chargers -6.5, Under 45