Los Angeles Chargers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When: 10/4 @ 1:00 pm ET
Point Spread: Chargers +7
Moneyline: Buccaneers -320 | Chargers +260
Chargers Key Injuries: Joey Bosa, DE, Triceps (Q), Trai Turner, G, Groin (Q) Tyrod Taylor, QB, Chest (O), Nick Vigil, OLB, Groin (Q), Bryan Bulaga, T, Knee (Q), Rayshawn Jenkins, SS, Groin (Q), Justin Jackson, RB, Quadriceps (Q), Mike Pouncy, C, Hip (IR), Drue Tranquill, LB, Ankle (IR), Derwin James, SS, MCL (IR), Mike Williams, WR, Hamstring (Q), Chris Harris Jr., CB, Foot (IR)
Buccaneers Key Injuries: Leonard Fournette, RB, Ankle (O), Chris Godwin, WR, Hamstring (O), Scotty Miller, WR, Hip (O), Sean Murphy-Bunting, CB, Groin (Q), Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, Knee (Q), Justin Watson, WR, Shoulder (Q)
NOTES: The Chargers have been in multiple close games this year, a theme for their franchise over the last few seasons, and again they are on the wrong side of those close finishes. Justin Herbert appeared in his second NFL game and look rattled compared to his debut in week two as an NFL defense had an entire week to prepare for the rookie. Don’t expect an other-worldly output from Herbert in week three either, as he is still getting to know the offense and the pieces around him, and the Buccaneers’ defense might be the toughest he has faced thus far. With a low over/under spotting the Chargers around 18 points, it could be tough to find offense from targets who have been consistent options through three weeks like Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler. This looks to be a grind it out type of game, as both teams sport talented and versatile defense. The Chargers are again injury-riddled on the defensive side with secondary-studs Harris Jr. and James Jr. out for the foreseeable future; both Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are hurting, as well. The Chargers have some depth on defense, which could keep them in the game, so this battle could come down to whether Justin Herbert is making rookie mistakes or looking magical.
The Buccaneers usually utilize a heavy passing-attack to win games, but this week will be much different as WRs Chris Godwin and Scotty Miller are set to miss the game, and Tampa’s defense has been more than serviceable through three weeks. The defense will look to force the Chargers’ rookie into mistakes and win the game by getting consistent pressure and playing lock down defense with their secondary. CB Carlton Davis has looked like the next best thing at the position and will be a nightmare for whichever Chargers’ target lines up against him. Unfortunately for the Bucs, RB Leonard Fournette doesn’t look like he will be able to play in this matchup, so the offense will flow through RB Ronald Jones II, unless head coach Bruce Arians implements another option into the game plan. Due to their stout defense, the Buccaneers will rely on that run game with Jones II and their star-studded defense to win them this game.
Who’s covering? Taking the over? Is the money line a smart play? Don’t place a bet until you’ve checked out all the nerdy probabilities and recommendations. See what the Nerds forecast for this match-up!