Week 1 of the 2018 NFL preseason wraps things up on Saturday night with the Los Angeles Chargers going on the road to face the Arizona Cardinals in a slated 10 p.m. kickoff at U of Phoenix Stadium.
Following last season’s jump to 9-7 after winning a combined nine games straight-up in their previous two seasons, the bar has been raised even higher for the Chargers this season as +135 favorites at BetAnySports to win the AFC West. In their first season in Los Angeles, they got things started with a 1-3 record in the preseason both SU as well as against the spread. However, the excitement over a SU 6-1 mark (5-2 ATS) in their final seven regular-season games is driving these lofty betting odds.
Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers is still at the helm leading the offense in his 15th season in the league. His top target in the passing game, Keenan Allen is one of the favorites to lead the NFL in receiving yards this season. Neither player will have much of an impact on the outcome of Saturday night’s contest, but the four defensive players drafted with the Chargers’ first four picks should boost a defense that was third in the NFL last season in points allowed.
Arizona has been on a steady decline since going 13-3 in 2015 to pave the way for Steve Wilks as the team’s new head coach. The Cardinals went as even 8-8 SU last season with a 6-9-1 record ATS. The total stayed UNDER in 10 of the 16 games. As far as the 2017 preseason, the Cardinals split the four games SU with a 2-1-1 record ATS.
It will be a season of change in Arizona with the arrival of Josh Rosen as the team’s future franchise quarterback. The 10th overall pick in the 2018 draft will be competing with veteran quarterback Sam Bradford for the starting role. Each player is expected to get some playing time against the Chargers’ shutdown defense. Former Texas A&M wide receiver Christian Kirk was selected by the Cardinals early in the second round to help revamp an offense that averaged just 18.4 points per game.
I have a tendency to lean towards the home team and the UNDER line at BetAnySports in these early preseason games, but I will take the Chargers and the points on Saturday night as clearly the better overall team.