NFL Preview: Las Vegas Raiders @ LA Chargers

THE Raiders return to LA as they head to SoFi Stadium to face Justin Herbert and the Chargers.

Jon Gruden’s side head to Southern California boasting their first 3-0 start to a season since 2002 after surviving an OT comeback against the Miami Dolphins last week.

Almost everything is clicking for Las Vegas on both ends of the football right now, but the play of QB Derek Carr is the undeniable standout so far.

Carr leads the league in passing yards this season and while the Chargers defence has certainly shown some much needed improvement there’s no reason to think the Raiders’ front man won’t continue to lead the way in this one.

Rush the passer

The clear defensive analysis on both these teams so far this season has been the incredible job that both defence’s do in pressuring the QB.

Neither operate a blitz-heavy defensive scheme yet both are able to generate constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Yannick Ngakoue and Maxx Crosby have become a scary proposition for defensive lines to try to contain, with the Raiders recording a 44% QB pressure rate so far this season – the best such stat in the NFL.

A lot of success in this game will come down to which of the two teams is able to break the rhythm of the opposing QB and the slight edge in that regard may just go to the Raiders.

Welcome back to Cali

It’s fair to say that most home games for the Chargers lack the same environment for the home team that other venues in the NFL boast.

This game, however, goes to the complete opposite extreme. The Raiders return ‘home’ here and the expected crowd numbers indicate the Las Vegas Raiders are likely to have almost 80% of support here.

If that’s the case it not only completely nullifies the Home Ground Advantage for LA, but potentially gives the Raiders a slight boost as a result.

Bearing in mind that most home teams are given roughly a 1.5-2.0 point advantage that would indicate that this game is closer to even money on a neutral field.

I’m in complete agreement with that stance since I give zero home field edge to LA meaning we’re essentially getting “free points” on the Raiders if you believe this number is incorporating any sort of home adjustment for the Chargers.

Market watch

This game has bounced around a 3.0 – 3.5 point lead for the Chargers all week. Unfortunately, I don’t see it hitting 3.5 again before kick-off so Raiders backers might just have to swallow the bullet and surrender that hook here.

Meanwhile, if you like the Chargers laying a flat 3.0 here is the best number you’ll get on the game.

The total currently sits at 51.5 points and it’s interesting to see some strong support to the Under. Both teams boast offences capable of explosive plays and the expectation is that both are able to move the chains with regularity throughout – remember, it was only a fortnight ago that the Chargers were involved in a game that featured just a single punt over the full 60 minutes.

True value on the line sits in favour of the Raiders in this spot given they’re the ones with the “Home Field Avantage” here.

This game should come down to the final drive to decide the winner, which could make having points in your pocket a valuable advantage.

Our best bet: Las Vegas Raiders +3.0


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