The Los Angeles Chargers (2-3) host the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) this weekend for an all-AFC clash on Sunday Night Football. Kickoff is set for 8:30 PM EST on October 13th at Dignity Health Sports Park and the game will be broadcast on NBC.
Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Chargers listed as 7-point road favorites. That spread has shifted by a full point after early betting, as Los Angeles is currently available at -6. The total for this matchup is 41.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 6 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.
Chargers vs Steelers Game Odds & Betting Preview
The Steelers have now lost four out of their first five games this season, falling 26-23 in overtime last weekend at home against Baltimore. Pittsburgh was up 20-17 heading into the fourth quarter but couldn’t hold on down the stretch, getting outscored 6-3 over the final 15 minutes before giving up a game-winning field goal during extra time. QB Mason Rudolph threw for 131 yards and a touchdown before being forced to leave the game due to a scary head injury. Devlin Hodges performed admirably after coming into the game off the bench, going 6/8 for 68 yards through the air. James Conner found the end zone on the ground, rushing for 55 yards on 14 carries. WR JuJu Smith-Schuster had a decent outing, hauling in seven catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. As a whole, the Steelers offense generated almost 300 total yards and scored two touchdowns despite coming up just short on the scoreboard.
Pittsburgh was average at best on the other side of the ball in Week 5, surrendering 299 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. The Steelers did record three interceptions but still allowed Lamar Jackson to rack up 229 total yards – including 70 on the ground.
Los Angeles Chargers
The Chargers couldn’t find a way to get back above .500 on the season last weekend, losing 20-13 at home in a divisional showdown against Denver. Los Angeles gave up 14 unanswered points in the first quarter and never recovered despite holding the Broncos to just six points over the final 45 minutes of the game. QB Phillip Rivers was 32/48 for 211 passing yards but failed to throw a touchdown and got picked off twice. RB Melvin Gordon III didn’t do much in his first game back in the lineup, rushing for just 31 yards on 12 carries. Austin Ekeler led the way for the receiving corps, recording a team high 15 catches for 86 yards out of the backfield. Overall, the Chargers offense gained under 250 total yards and failed to find the end zone at all against their AFC West rivals.
Los Angeles was pretty solid on defense against Denver, holding the Broncos offense to under 400 total yards and allowing only two touchdowns. However, the Chargers did have a tough time defending against the run, as Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman combined for 175 rushing yards and one touchdown.
Free NFL Betting Predictions and Pick: Chargers -6
It will be very interesting to see how Devlin Hodges handles the pressure of his first ever NFL start this weekend, especially since this game is being televised nationwide on Sunday Night Football. Hodges actually played quite well in his brief appearance against Baltimore, almost leading the Steelers to victory in overtime. However, there’s no way to feel overly confident in his abilities without a bigger sample size. Throw in the fact that the Chargers are at home here in Week 6 and I think that taking Los Angeles at -6 offers fairly decent value against an unproven entity at quarterback.
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Pittsburgh has also really struggled against the spread when playing AFC West opponents as of late, going just 1-4 ATS over their last five games. The Steelers are also a brutal 0-5 outright in their last five road games. On the other side, Los Angeles is a rock-solid 5-1 straight up over their last six meetings with AFC North opponents. However, the only factor that really matters to me in this matchup is that Pittsburgh is being forced to start a third-string quarterback on Sunday Night Football. While there is always the chance that Hodges lives up to the moment and puts on a show during primetime, I think that the most likely outcome is a convincing Chargers victory. I’ll lay the six points and roll with the home favorite – give me Los Angeles to cover!