Sunday Night Football Picks And Predictions: Steelers at Chargers

Written By Esten McLaren on October 9, 2019

The Week 6 Sunday Night Football betting breakdown looks at the matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) and Los Angeles Chargers (2-3) and offers up the best sports betting picks for the moneyline, spread and Over/Under at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.

Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, CA is the host venue for this week’s SNF matchup between two AFC teams off to disappointing starts. Injuries have had a significant impact on both sides. This will continue into Week 6 for the Steelers, as their 2019 hopes may ride on the availability of backup QB Mason Rudolph. The replacement to Ben Roethlisberger left Week 5 due to a concussion, possibly putting third-stringer Devlin Hodges in line for his first NFL start.

The odds for this week’s game hinge on Rudolph’s game-day status. The mid-week numbers for each of the aforementioned bet types seem to be stuck in limbo based on the Steelers’ QB situation. “Leans” are for bets still subject to variance. Injuries, roster movement or weather can have large impacts on odds. A “lean” can be subject to player availability, or the odds reaching a certain number. “Picks” are bets to make at any point through the week within a broader range of desirable odds. These are betting plays made with a high degree of certainty in the projected outcome unlikely to be swayed by outside factors.

Be sure to check out TheLines and the Sunday Night Football Preview as part of your research before placing bets on the Steelers and Chargers’ Week 6 matchup. There, we take a deeper look at the two teams, as well as the betting trends around both sides. Below, you’ll find actionable advice on the three main bets at FanDuel and DraftKings, as well as the best game or player prop.

Steelers at Chargers picks: Moneyline

Hodges, an undrafted free-agent rookie out of Samford, completed seven of nine passes for 68 yards against the Baltimore Ravens last week. He didn’t throw a touchdown or interception in the overtime loss, meaning the emergency appearance went about as well as could’ve been hoped. Rudolph had gone 13-for-20 for 131 yards and a touchdown prior to his departure. He’s completing 67% of his passes on the season with seven scores and two picks. A missed start for Rudolph would put even more pressure on struggling RB James Conner. The 2018 breakout star is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry this season with two touchdowns. Backup Jaylen Samuels will be sidelined at least a month after undergoing a knee scope this week. Rookie fourth-rounder Benny Snell Jr. is next in line behind Conner.

An injury-riddled opponent while on home field may be just what the Chargers need to kick-start their season. QB Philip Rivers is completing 68.6% of his passes but has just seven touchdowns against four INTs through five games. No. 2 receiver Mike Williams has caught 14 passes for 231 yards through four games. He’s yet to find the end zone. TE Hunter Henry hasn’t played since Week 1, leaving RB Austin Ekeler second on the team in passing yards behind Keenan Allen. Ekeler leads the team with 227 rushing yards and six total scores. Starter Melvin Gordon will likely see more work after rushing 12 times for 31 yards last week.

There’s a fair amount of chalk on the Chargers’ moneyline, but it will be best to get it now with a larger bet before the number drops if Rudolph is ruled out. I like L.A. regardless of the Steelers’ starter. Avoid this pick if the number drops below -300.

The Pick: Chargers -268 (DraftKings Sportsbook)

Steelers at Chargers picks: Against the spread

Pittsburgh is 3-2 against the spread this season while Los Angeles is just 1-3-1. The Steelers have lost outright by an average of three points, but they’ve failed to cover the spread by an average of just 1.5 points per game. The Chargers have an average margin of victory of 1.8 points, but they fail to cover by four points on average. The Chargers are even 0-2-1 ATS at home, where they don’t receive much of a boost from the “home” fans. The Steelers are 1-1 ATS as visitors, but they’ve lost by an average of 17 points in those two games.

The Chargers rank ninth in the NFL by allowing 18.8 points per game. The Steelers’ 22.8 PPG allowed ranks 15th. L.A. has a better rush and pass defense than Pittsburgh, allowing 119.8 yards per game on the ground and 215.0 through the air. Pittsburgh gives up 125.8 and 229.8 yards per game, respectively. The Steelers share the league lead with the New England Patriots with 12 takeaways on the season against seven giveaways. The Chargers have just six takeaways against eight giveaways.

The Steelers’ defense should be able to keep this one fairly close, but again, Hodges will be the X-factor. He was effective in his limited action last week, but on the road and against an elite pass-rusher such as Joey Bosa, he may get a rude welcome to a starting role. I like the Chargers to cover any number up to 13, presuming Hodges gets the nod. Pivot to the Steelers at any number above 5 if Rudolph is declared active.

The Lean: Chargers -7 (+110 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

Steelers at Chargers picks: Over/Under

The Steelers are 2-3 against the Over/Under this year, failing to hit the projected total by an average of 3.4 points. The Chargers are 1-4, falling an average of 6.6 points below the projection. With Henry back at practice and Williams likely to be closer to full health this week after returning to the field against the Denver Broncos, the Chargers’ offense should see a boost, but they’re unlikely to do enough scoring in a potential rout.

L.A.’s offensive line has been weak to start the year, giving up 11 sacks of Rivers through five games and limiting Ekeler to 3.8 yards per carry. Gordon, who has averaged 4.0 YPC for his career, is gaining just 2.6 yards per tote in his limited 2019 action. The Chargers will struggle to hit their implied team total of 24 points. Some short-field situations off of Steelers’ turnover would help but expect to see plenty of Gordon and Ekeler running out the clock against the overmatched rookie QB of the Steelers.

The Pick: UNDER 41.5 (-105 at FanDuel Sportsbook)

Steelers at Chargers best bet

Spread/Total Points Parlay: Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5) & Under (41.5) points (+270 FanDuel Sportsbook)

Combine our spread and Under bets and nearly triple your investment on a parlay. It pays out at the same price as the spread and the Over. The Chargers haven’t beaten anyone other than the Miami Dolphins by more than six points, but they’re coming off an ugly 20-13 home loss to the Denver Broncos last week and will be plenty motivated.

The Steelers’ rushing attack hasn’t stepped up in support of the backup Rudolph, and there’s no reason to expect it now for Hodges, especially with Samuels newly sidelined. Even against the Dolphins, the Chargers still only put up 30 points, suggesting they won’t entirely blow the Steelers out of the water, either.

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Esten McLaren

Esten grew up on a golf course and made the switch from real-life trunk slammer to the daily fantasy realm as soon as the game was launched. He's been betting golf regularly for the better part of the last 10 years, most memorably winning big on Rory McIlroy's 2014 Open title, but a trip to Carnoustie for the 2018 Open and a walk around St. Andrews share the honor for best golf highlight. He has written about all major sports at FNTSY Sports Network, theScore, and SportsBookWire.

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