Raiders vs. Chargers Odds, Picks & Predictions: Target the Spread in AFC West Rivalry Game

<p>AP Photos</p>

AP Photos

What an excellent matchup in Week 1 that the NFL has blessed us with. The last time we saw the Chargers on a football field, all they needed to do was tie with these same Raiders and both teams would have made the playoffs.

Instead, in a great, back-and-forth game, the Raiders won in overtime, advancing to the playoffs and knocking the Chargers out. Let’s look into what the betting markets think of this game.

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Raiders vs. Chargers Betting Odds Week 1

Raiders Moneyline+154
Chargers Moneyline-172
Raiders Spread+3.5
Chargers Spread-3.5
Raiders-Chargers over/under52
Date & TimeSun, Sept. 11, 4:25 p.m. ET
Odds via OddsJam Perfect Line

In terms of talent alone, these are two teams that could easily finish the year in the playoffs with a legit chance of advancing to the Super Bowl.

Let’s start with the Raiders, a team that I am admittedly higher on than the rest of the public. After making splash trade for receiver Davante Adams, the Raiders get my vote for the best group of skill positions in the NFL.

At receiver, they have the previously mentioned Adams and Hunter Renfrow, who had a career year last season with 1,038 receiving yards on 103 receptions and 9 touchdowns. At tight end, they have talented pass-catcher Darren Waller. In terms of top three options, no team can offer what the Raiders can.

The concern with the Raiders, of course, comes in the form of head coach and quarterback. In the offseason the Raiders hired Josh McDaniels. This will be McDaniels’ second time as a head coach, previously coaching the Broncos 2009-2010 in what was two train-wreck seasons.

That was obviously a long time ago, but McDaniels’ time in Denver was not pretty, so he certainly comes with risks.

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At quarterback, the risk with Derek Carr isn’t necessarily a low-floor, but instead a limited ceiling. Carr has been the Raiders quarterback since 2014, but his best season came in 2015 when he threw for 32 touchdowns (a career-high stat).

Defensively, the Raiders have the talent, especially along the defensive line with newly traded for Chandler Jones and Maxx Crosby at the end positions. The Raiders defense was average last year, finishing 17th in defensive DVOA, but they have a chance to improve upon that number with the talent they have.

As good as the Raiders offense can be, the Chargers have a chance to be even better — mostly because of the improvement at quarterback.

In only two years in the NFL, Chargers QB Justin Herbert has quickly become one of the best quarterbacks in the league. He threw for over 5,000 yards and 35 touchdowns last year, earning himself a Pro Bowl visit. He was also named NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2020.

What surrounds Herbert on the offensive side of the ball is an elite set of weapons and a solid offensive line. PFF gives them the 12th-best offensive line in the NFL, and the ninth-best collection of receivers.

At running back they have Austin Ekeler, who finished the 2021 season with 20 total touchdowns and over 1,500 scrimmage yards.

Defense is what held the Chargers back last year, which is something that could happen again in 2022. They finished last year with the seventh-worst defense in the NFL, according to DVOA. Granted, they did make roster improvements in the offseason, trading for pass-rushing Khalil Mack and signing cornerback J.C. Jackson.

Jackson, though, recently underwent minor surgery on his ankle, and is currently questionable to suit up in Week 1.

The Chargers could very well end the 2022 season with the best offense in the NFL, but, for Week 1, I am leaning toward the Raiders covering the spread. With the additions the Raiders made in the offseason, and with the injury to Jackson, I project this game to be within a field goal either way.

Given that we can get the Raiders at +4 thanks to line shopping on the OddsJam NFL odds page, that is what we are going to go with in this matchup. Be sure to check out the lines yourself before locking in your bet to get the most value possible!

Raiders vs. Chargers Betting Pick: Raiders +4 | -110 at FanDuel

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