Los Angeles Chargers vs. Washington Football Team Betting Odds and Preview: Line Hovers Around Pick ‘Em For Week 1 Tilt

The opening week of the 2021 NFL season provides a number of noteworthy and intriguing matchups. One that isn’t getting much mainstream attention is the Washington Football Team hosting the Los Angeles Chargers.

But both the Football Team (+225 to win NFC East at Caesars Sportsbook) and the Chargers (+600 to win AFC West at Caesars) head into this Week 1 matchup with their sights set on playing into January.

The Chargers opened as 2-point road favorites, and while most shops have moved the line to LAC -1, some are dealing the game a pick ’em, and market-making book Circa in Las Vegas is at Washington -1 as of Tuesday.

At PointsBet 68% of the bets and 59% of money wagered has been on the Chargers -1 in this matchup.

PointsBet opened the total 45, but with 56% of the cash on the UNDER, the number moved to 44.5, where it sits market-wide. About 64% of tickets are on the OVER at PointsBet.

Washington Football Team Overview

The Football Team made steps to build on last season, but their identity remains centered on a ferocious defensive line. Montez Sweat and Chase Young get the sacks, 9.0 and 7.5 in 2020, respectively, and thus the headlines. This unit is deep, though. Interior linemen Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, Matthew Ioannidis, and Tim Settle add to the line’s dominance.

The addition of cornerback William Jackson III is expected to fortify the secondary. Rookie linebacker Jamin Davis provides much-needed speed to the team — and linebacker corps — as well. Improvement at the defense’s secondary levels will help the entire unit.

Given what the Football Team accomplished last season, it’s scary to consider what a step forward will look like. 2020 stats and NFL rankings include:

  • 47 sacks – 6th
  • 156 pressures – 11th
  • 25.9% pressure rate – T-8th
  • 23 takeaways – T-7th

While the defense looks stellar, plenty of optimism stems from the presumptive offensive upgrades, beginning with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick may not be everyone’s idea of an obvious upgrade, but the standard to surpass is low.

The Football Team ranked 25th in scoring (21.1 PPG) and 29th in total offense (320.6 YPG) in 2020. Even a modest step toward mediocrity would constitute a significant boost. There are a number of pieces Fitzpatrick and second-year offensive coordinator Scott Turner will call upon.

Second-year running back Antonio Gibson could be ticketed for a “Christian McCaffrey-esque role” in the offense. Meanwhile, wide receivers Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel along with tight end Logan Thomas form an exciting trio of pass-catchers.

Also read: Sharp bettor has futures tickets on Washington Football Team

Los Angeles Chargers Overview

Sharing a division with the Kansas City Chiefs — +450 to win the Super Bowl — hasn’t dampened optimism surrounding the Chargers.

Reigning offensive rookie of the year Justin Herbert is expected to take a step forward in his sophomore campaign. Rookie head coach Brandon Staley and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi will accept the responsibility of making sure that happens.

Lombardi didn’t have an impressive showing in his first stint as offensive coordinator in Detroit. However, after five more years as quarterbacks coach in New Orleans, he’s better prepared for his second opportunity. The mission will be putting Herbert in the best positions to lean on the Chargers’ collection of offensive weapons.

Running back Austin Ekeler is one of the best pass-catching backs in the game and a dangerous weapon overall. Wide receiver Keenan Allen is productive out of the slot, while Mike Williams presents a major downfield threat. Most important perhaps — especially ahead of a matchup against the Football Team — is a bolstered offensive line. The Chargers added Pro Bowl center Corey Linsley in free agency. They also drafted tackle Rashawn Slater No. 13 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. With protection up front and dynamic weapons, Herbert is in a good place to build on last season.

The Chargers will not be one-dimensional in 2021. Staley coordinated the Los Angeles Rams to a No. 1 and 2 finish in total and scoring defense, respectively, in 2020. He’ll have studs to build around, too. Defensive end Joey Bosa, safety Derwin James Jr., and linebacker Kenneth Murray, Jr. serve as foundational pieces for the unit.

Betting Analysis

The Chargers finished 5-3 ATS on the road in 2020. Of those eight away games, the Chargers drew the 1:00 p.m. EST kickoff in two, finishing 1-1 ATS. Backers of the Chargers will find them laying 1 point at most shops.

It’s worth noting, however, that Circa has moved WFT to 1-point favorites and is offering -104 odds on the money line for Los Angeles as of Tuesday afternoon. Circa is an influential book others tend to follow.

It’s worth monitoring the status of Chargers right tackle Bryan Bulaga. The only holdover from last season’s offensive line remains uncertain for Sunday as he deals with a hip flexor issue. WFT finished 5-3 ATS at home in 2020, and their front four rotation doesn’t need any extra help to deliver game-altering plays.

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About the Author

Craig Williams

Craig Williams is a Charlotte-based sportswriter who has worked professionally in the gaming, fantasy, and sports business industries. He’s an avid fantasy football player, managing over 100 leagues across multiple formats. When he’s not pouring over Vegas odds and statistics, he’s indulging in soccer and enjoys anything from LigaMX to Champions League.