Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 11:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Chicago +8½ over L.A. Chargers
8:20 PM EST. The L.A. Chargers are in full-desperado mode already, and at 2-4 their chances of winning the AFC West are extremely low. Quite frankly, we're not sure how Brandon Staley, who's had next to no-effect on their hyper-talented defense, is still their head coach. Regardless, the same cyclic failures have remained with the Chargers, despite how much they've upgraded their roster and despite their highly-paid, rifle-armed QB. It's all just a mess.
The talent of the Chargers is what the marketplace loves. Even with how consistent their game management failures and in-game mistakes are, they're highly touted and their potential to blow out teams like the Bears is always there. To their credit, LAC was an ATS darling last season (11-6-1), and they mostly beat bad teams by a margin. Not this campaign. So far, the Bolts only two wins were by 7 and 4 points, both contests that ended by a one-score margin.
The Bears have an inherent advantage, too. Tyson Bagent, the undrafted rookie QB who led the Bears to an impressive 30-12 win last week against the Raiders, will start again in place of Justin Fields this Sunday. While a backup typically isn't preferable, it is for Chicago. Fields has been okay as their thrower, but the performances have been inconsistent and mistake-ridden. In big game situations, Fields has struggled to find his targets. Not Bagent. It's a small sample size, but in his first start the 23-year old showed confidence and moxie as the Bears' thrower, leading their offense to three touchdowns and throwing 21 of 29 passes for 162 yards with one touchdown for himself. Even better, he committed no turnovers.
Bagent will have a tough challenge on the road against a Chargers' defense that's capable of pummeling and confusing enemy QBs, but a new leader, especially one with the swagger and capability of Bagent, can spark a team that's been downtrodden. The Bears don't have much to fight for except pride and progress, and their chances at winning the division is extremely thin but that also means that they don't have much to lose. Trusting the Chargers spotting this many points many points is a sure way to kill part of your bankroll. The Bolts go from a 7½-point underdog to a 8½-point fav this week, a swing of 16 points and in this league, that's too much.
Chicago +8½ -105 (Risking 2.1 units - To Win: 2.00)