NFL playoffs betting: We like the Chargers +2½ at Baltimore, but “like” is a relative term

Sunday, 06 January 2019 10:12 EST

Well, that Saturday didn’t exactly go as planned for NFLbets…

Thanks to Sebastian Janikowski’s exit due to injury, Pete Carroll was forced to have his Seahawks attempt the 2-point conversion on their final touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys. This eked out the push for those who covered Seattle +2 and provided too-slight solace to those (ahem) who’d just lost money on an under-43 points prop bet. Worst thing was, this push was the only “win” we got in the primetime game yesterday.

As for the first AFC wild card game, let’s just say we *can* go to sleep on the Houston Texans now.

And we’d be more confident about overcoming a bad start to our 2018-19 NFL playoffs betting if this early game were a tad easier. For your consideration:

Los Angeles Chargers +2½ at Baltimore Ravens, under 42 points

With the winner advancing to face a verrrrrrrrrrry vulnerable-looking New England Patriots team.

NFLbets has been staring at this line all week, hoping that some obvious fact would tip the scale toward one team or the other. Extremely difficult to deal with is one insane stat which takes the 2018 “Los Angeles” Chargers beyond the realm of outlier and into freakish with each subsequent win. Those numbers look like this:

• The Chargers are just 4-3 SU (3-4 ATS) in true home games;

• in week 7, they beat the Tennessee Titans in London, but did not cover the spread;

• the Chargers are 7-1 SU/ATS in away games, with the sole loss at the Rams in week 3;

• therefore, in games outside of Los Angeles, the Chargers are an incredible 8-0 SU (7-1 ATS);

• finally, in these 8 games, the Chargers averaged 27.375 points – exactly 1¼ *more* per game than in L.A.-based games.

NFLbets has no idea why more isn’t being made of this, but it’s doing our head in. The key question here of course is how long can this team ride this wave and thus screw NFL bettors overthinking things? The Chargers have been a vogue pick to win the AFC since the preseason, but to do so could require three more SU/ATS wins on the road, as said road goes first through New England and possibly Kansas City thereafter. Could the Chargers really run up an 11-0 SU (10-1 ATS) record as the listed away team in 2018-19? It’s stunning how believable the Chargers-in-the-Super Bowl scenario is. This fearlessness, we suppose, is the adaptation to never playing before a true home crowd.

On the other side are the Baltimore Ravens whose 6-1 SU AFC North-stealing run to the playoffs was pretty impressive – at first glance. The truth is that the Ravens were graced with one of 2018’s easiest schedules: In just three games against playoff teams, Baltimore went 1-2 SU (2-1 ATS), with the sole win coming against the Chargers at (naturally) Los Angeles in week 16.

The earlier Chargers-Ravens game saw the Baltimore D handle Philip Rivers and his team’s offensive attack nicely – but Dame Fortuna was most assuredly smiling on the Ravens in that one. The Chargers defense (still rounding into shape, by the way) held Baltimore’s offense just as much in check until the third quarter when the visitors racked up 16 points based on one long connection to TE Mark Andrews, a 56-yeard field goal and a 68-yard fumble recovery return. O, and Rivers had essentially his worst game of 2018, with just 181 passing yards, two picks thrown and four sacks taken.

So … basically results as freakish as the Chargers’ season – particularly at “home” – has been.

NFLbets may regret going against the numbers (although the numbers didn’t help us much in yesterday’s Seahawks-Cowboys game) on this one, but we’re saying take the Los Angeles Chargers +2½ at Baltimore.

NFLbets Best Bets record in 2018-19: 42-33-3.