2012 San Diego Chargers Betting Preview
The San Diego Chargers continue to be maybe the most under-achieving team in the league of the last several seasons. San Diego has missed the playoffs two straight seasons, despite a wealth of talent, because it can’t put two halves of one season together. After last year we thought for sure the Chargers would get rid of Coach Turner, but instead they’ve decided to give him one more shot. San Diego could win the AFC West and contend for the conference championship; then again, they could implode.
Last Season in Review
The Chargers have been known in recent years for their terrible starts, but last year they actually won four of their first five games. So considering the way they had been finishing seasons recently it looked like they were going to run away with the AFC West and make a bid at the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Instead, San Diego lost six straight games to fall by the wayside. The Chargers’ season was summed up by two plays; leading the Jets in Week 7 and driving for another score QB Philip Rivers was intercepted on a tipped pass. New York stole momentum right there and went on to come from behind to beat the Bolts. A week later, as San Diego readied to kick a game-winning field goal at Kansas City, Rivers fumbled the snap, and the Chargers went on to lose in overtime. A late-season three-game winning streak helped get San Diego to 8-8, but that came as no solace after that great start.
The Chargers ranked sixth in the league in offense last year at 393 YPG, 16th in rushing at 117 YPG. On the other side of the line of scrimmage SD, a season after leading the league in defense, ranked just 16th overall, allowing 347 YPG, and 20th vs. the run at 122 YPG. So overall the Bolts ranked sixth in total yardage at +46 YPG, but 18th in total rushing at -5 YPG.
San Diego also ranked sixth in average time-of-possession at +3:18 per game, which is usually a good sign as far as bettors are concerned, considering that last year around the league teams that won the TOP battle covered the spread 66 percent of the time. But the Chargers, being who they are, went just 6-10 ATS last year.
Finally, the Bolts went 8-8 on the totals, even though San Diego games averaged 49 points, ninth-most in the league, because Chargers ‘over/unders’ were often among the highest on the weekly betting boards.
Individually, Rivers committed 25 turnovers last year, forcing way too many passes downfield. But in the good news department RB Ryan Mathews produced 1,500 yards from scrimmage as a rookie.
Over the off-season San Diego lost, among others, RB Mike Tolbert, leading receiver Vincent Jackson, two former Pro Bowlers from the offensive line and two starters on defense. In response, they added FB LeRon McClain, RB Ronnie Brown, WRs Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem and former Ravens LB Jarret Johnson.
The Chargers then went defense with their top three picks in the draft, taking South Carolina LB Melvin Ingram at No. 18 overall, UConn DE Kendall Reyes at No. 49 and LSU safety Brandon Taylor at No. 73. All three have a good chance to contribute immediately.
2012 Chargers Schedule
Based on last year’s W/L records San Diego will play the sixth-toughest schedule in the league this season. They’ve got seven games with teams that made the nfl playoffs last year, plus a late-season Sunday nighter at the Jets. The Chargers open with a winnable game at Oakland, host the Titans and Falcons, and visit KC. Then following games with the Saints and Broncos San Diego goes Browns-Chiefs-Bucs. So the Bolts have a chance at a very good start. After that, though, they play four straight games vs. 2011 playoff qualifiers, then finish with the Panthers, Jets and Raiders. Looking from afar San Diego could be favored in up to a dozen of its games this season.
2012 San Diego Chargers Betting Odds and Prediction
Bovada is listing San Diego at +180 to win the AFC West this season, 10/1 to win the AFC and 25/1 to win Super Bowl 47, while Bookmaker has tagged the Chargers with a regular-season wins ‘over/under’ of nine (O -120/U -110).
This remains a very talented team. They can move the ball in big ways on offense and they’ve bolstered the defense. San Diego just seems to lack that little something, that spark or fire or whatever, that gets good teams over the top. You’d think one of these years the Chargers would break through to a conference championship, but something always happens. We’re not sure if this is that year, but we’re leaning toward the ‘over’ nine wins on San Diego anyway.