Kiffin and Owls headed to Orlando for interesting Sunshine State contest.

Written by Winning NCAA Football Expert Analyst Al Presto. produces it for Football Betting. Top College Football ATS Picks are the best in the industry and will continue through the BCS-title game in 2019. As with every NCAA football season, the team of handicappers at Charliessports continue to bury bookmakers online, local and in Nevada. Second-year Florida Atlantic head coach Lane Kiffin knows what it’s like to be the hunted after their 2017 performances. With a new starting quarterback and four new offensive linemen, the Owls got buried in front of a national audience 63-14 by mighty Oklahoma in the 2018 season opener as a 20-point road underdog. The Owls are 0-3 ATS through three weeks this season going over the total twice while staying under once a 33-27 home win against Air Force. The Scott Frost era is over, and now it’s on Josh Heupel to keep it rolling in Orlando, so far he’s 2-0 with wins over Connecticut and South Carolina State. However, he understands Florida Atlantic will provide a stiffer challenge. After last weeks game at North Carolina was canceled due to hurricane Florence, it’ll be interesting if the Knights come out sluggish. UCF is 1-3 Against the point spread their previous four at their home venue. Friday’s kickoff will be 7:00 PM EST at the renovated Spectrum Stadium on campus in sunny Orlando, Florida. The ESPN Television Network will be broadcasting. The Opening Betting Line has Central Florida as a thirteen and a half point home favorite against the point spread. The betting odds total is seventy-five points for Friday’s contest.

Florida Atlantic has played Central Florida one time since fielding a football team, a 33-29 loss in the 2003 season. The Owls are coming off of a 49-28 home victory over Bethune-Cookman, and a will only have five days of rest. Redshirt freshman signal Chris Robison caller has thrown for 799 yards this season while running back Devon Singletary has seven rushing touchdowns. Florida Atlantic is 0-4 ATS on Friday Night’s, and Kiffin is aware of there will be some obstacles they must overcome to pull off the upset. The Owls defense looks suspect early in the 2018 season allowing 39.0 points per game which is inexcusable, Kiffin also know two of his three opponents this season are offensively oriented; now make it three with the playmakers on Central Florida. The FAU defense is giving up 451.7 yards of offense per contest along with 7.2 yards per play. Coordinator Tony Pecoraro must do a better job with the big guy’s upfront; they’re getting beat at the point of attack allowing over five yards per rushing attempt. North Texas looks very good in the Conference USA West division, and Kiffin must find way’s to produce offense if they want to help bettors and make it 6-1 ATS their last seven on the road. Bovada.Lv, list the Florida Atlantic Owls at 4/5 to win the 2018 Conference USA Championship.

The Central Florida Knights were the only College football team to finish last season with a perfect record. Following a bye week, the under has cashed in 10 out of 11 times, but with a defense as bad a Florida Atlantic it’ll be tough. Las Vegas has watched the line over go from 68 to 75 where it stands today. UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton along with running back Adrian Killins are the main reason the point spread is 13′-points, and it could go to 15. The duo makes up nearly sixty-five percent of the offensive yards through two games. Milton has completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 589 yards and Killin’s averages 7.5 yards per carrying. Four UCF players including Killin’s averages over ten yards per reception which seems unrealistic. The under is 4-1 Central Florida last five at Spectrum Stadium. The key to a UCF victory is to win the battle at the line of scrimmage on offense and defense. Bovada.Lv, list the Central Florida Knights at +125 to win the 2018 American Athletic Conference Title.

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Seahawks visit Windy City for an NFC showdown.

Written by National Football League Betting Analyst Al Presto. produces it for Football News. Top NFL ATS Picks are the best in the industry and will continue through the Super Bowl in February of 2019. After crushing the board Sunday in the NFL winning all three of our point spread highly rated plays, it’s time to prove ourselves all over again. The (0-1) Seattle Seahawks got a push against the spread in their opening week 27-24 loss in Denver as an underdog. Seattle hasn’t played at home this season but head coach Pete Carroll is as confident as ever his Seahawks are the team to beat in the NFC West. The Los Angeles Rams have something to say about it after beginning the season with two victories. Fans in Chicago watched their Bears lose opening week in Green Bay a game which they led 17-0 at the break, only to allow Green Bay 21 fourth-quarter points in a 24-23 loss. The Bears did cover the point spread, and both teams went over the total in their respective openers. Monday Night’s kickoff will be 8:15 PM EST at historic Soldier Field near Navy Pier in Chicago, Illinois. The ESPN Television Network will be broadcasting. The Betting Line has Seattle as a four-point road underdog against the point spread. The betting odds total is forty-two points for Monday’s contest.

The month of September hasn’t been good for Seattle bettors, they’re just 0-3-1 ATS their last four, but they’ve covered three straight vs. Chicago dating back to 2011. Quarterback Russell Wilson passed for 298 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions last week in the Mile High City. As usual, it wasn’t a good day rushing the football for Seattle, producing just sixty-four yards on twelve attempts. It’s been the same story; the offensive line gave up six sack to the Broncos. Making matter worse wideout Doug Baldwin will miss tonight’s game with a knee injury suffered in the opener which means Tyler Lockett must prove his worth. The Seahawks defense intercepted Broncos quarterback three times, but they allowed 146 yards on the ground. Defensive lineman Frank Clark can become a star. Seattle will probably be without linebacker K.J. Wright and their vocal leader Bobby Wagner didn’t practice all week is a cause for concern. The Seahawks 0-4 ATS their last four in week two of the season, and the over has cashed in the last six between the teams at Soldier Field. Bovada.Lv, list the Seattle Seahawks at 12/1 to win the 2018-19 NFC West Division Championship.

After signing Khalil Mack head coach, Mike Nagy watched for the former defensive player of the year pay immediate dividends with a strip sack for a touchdown at Green Bay. However, Nagy’s inexperience as a head coach showed it’s ugly head as he played not to lose which you can’t do with Aaron Rodgers on the other side; lesson learned. Chicago has been just as bad for ATS bettors in the second week of the season with a 1-7 record to the Las Vegas number their last eight with the under coming in their last four following a point spread win. Second-year signal caller Chicago Bears Mitchell Trubisky threw for 171 yards without a turnover which was a plus in the gut check defeat. Running Back, Jordan Howard ran for eight two yards on fifteen carries and should be able to have another stellar performance tonight. Rookie linebacker Roquan Smith got his first taste of NFL action after a lengthy holdout and should feel more comfortable against Seattle. The Bears coaching staff must play fearless football. Bovada.Lv, list the Chicago Bears at 5/1 to win the 2018-19 NFC North Division Title.

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Raiders, Broncos, What’s old is new again

Raiders, Broncos, What’s old is new again

Last week in this space, I looked at the Chargers/Chiefs tilt. The smart money was on Phillip Rivers and co but Andy Reid’s group dumbed it down.

This week, a few good rivalries pop up on the calendar. The Cincinnati Bengals sent the Baltimore Ravens to the Rue Morgue on Thursday night. In the early Sunday games, divisional matchups include the Dolphins and Jets.

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Whenever this one rolls around, I always remember the Dan Marino Clock Play in 1994, when he faked spiking the ball then threw a perfect ball underneath to Mark Ingram with the final seconds draining in the fourth quarter for a comeback win.

The Vikings and Packers, Panthers and Falcons also hook up, not to mention a Texans/Titans meeting between new and old Houston franchises. In the late games, the Cardinals and Rams conduct some West Coast business before the Giants’ Sunday Night visit to a Cowboys side who shot themselves in the foot last week.

Since childhood, I’ve favoured AFC West tilts, however. That’s because I was always sent outside to play on Sundays with instructions to

  1. Have fun
  2. Be back before dark
  3. But not until just before dark.
  4. Never you mind why.

Rules three and four relaxed a little when my mother became pregnant with my sister but as dusk fell around 5pm during southern Ontario winters, West Coast games were the ones I saw most often. Except for the Rams, the NFC West was a lost cause in the 70s, but the AFC West was filled with great teams, even when the Seahawks joined the mix.

I used to root for the Raiders. They had a cool Snake at quarterback long before Kurt Russell hit the theatres in Escape from New York. Mark van Eeghen was a great rushing fullback who paved the way until Marcus Allen arrived. That was before the 49ers began teaching their blocking backs to catch passes. Dave Casper was a brilliant tight end who could do no wrong, even when he fumbled on the goal line. Fred Biletnikoff could catch anything Ken Stabler threw in his direction. So could Lester the Molester Hayes with respect to opposing QBs. I wore his jersey and kept asking the local Canadian Tire to stock Stickum in the sports department even after the league banned it.

To Lester Hayes' delight, the Raiders' clubhouse had no signs stating employees must wash their hands before returning to work.

To Lester Hayes’ delight, the Raiders’ clubhouse had no signs stating employees must wash their hands before returning to work.

The Broncos were a tough side even before John Elway arrived. An ageing Craig Morton took them to their first Super Bowl humiliation against the Cowboys but the Raiders always won theirs when they made it to the big dance.

Things change over the course of a lifetime. Al Davis’ defiance turned into bitterness. The Raiders lost a Super Bowl to former coach Jon Gruden. People point to Marcus Allen’s defection but drafting Todd Marinovich was the beginning of the end. JaMarcus Russell merely confirmed the team’s mediocrity. Even a second turn from Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken in Escape from LA couldn’t help.

Recent seasons brought hope. Derek Carr has an arm when healthy. Management doesn’t inspire, though. Bringing back Gruden to coach after a decade in the booth and Marshawn Lynch following a year in retirement isn’t long-term thinking.

Week 1 proved woeful for the Silver and Black. Carr threw three interceptions. Lynch was limited to just 11 carries for 41 yards when the team began chasing the game. Jared Goff and the Rams picked the defense apart. Chucky needs to turn things around before Mark Davis decides to replace him with Jennifer Tilly.

All’s fair in love and football.

Denver’s management is another story. John Elway knows what he’s doing. After rotating through Trevor Siemian, Brock Osweiler and Paxton Lynch following Peyton Manning’s retirement, the team president settled on career backup Case Keenum, this season. The move paid dividends against the Seahawks in Week 1. Keenum threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns to eke out a 27-24 victory. Emmanuel Thomas was the main target with 10 catches for 135 yards and a score. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman split the rushing duties down the middle. Each had 15 carries for 71 yards.

The game was close in part because Keenum also matched Derek Carr with three interceptions. Denver coach Vance Joseph expects that to change in Week 2 but expect Gruden’s front seven to pressure Keenum, testing his resilience. Von Miller and the Broncos defense will be hunting Carr, as well.

Running backs pounding the ball. Quarterbacks airing it out. Defensive ends sacking them or forcing bad passes. Cornerbacks picking them off. This game should be an AFC West renaissance fair. I plan to dress the part. With a few alterations, I can still squeeze into that Lester Hayes jersey. I bet I can even find some Stickum on eBay.

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Ohio State rolls into Big D to face TCU in a battle of young coaching minds

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SEC fans might argue LSU v Auburn is the weekend’s marquee college football matchup. For me, it’s Ohio State’s trip down to AT&T Stadium in Dallas to take on Texas Christian. The territorial clash between the 12th and 7th-ranked Tigers is enticing but the evening game promises all out war even though it’s an interconference battle.

Before I delve into that, I just want to say my thoughts are with the folks in the Carolinas dealing with Hurricane Florence’s impact. I live in South Florida, been there, done that, don’t wish it on anyone. If you live elsewhere and can, please help.

American Red Cross Hurricane Florence relief effort


We’re three weeks into the NCAA season. Both schools have been beating up opponents thus far. TCU handled Southern University 55-14 then put it to SMU 42-12. The 15th-ranked Horned Frogs scored 97 points while surrendering just 26. The #4 Buckeyes are even more devastating. They buried Oregon State’s Beavers 77-31. Eleven touchdowns effectively communicated how they felt about another school daring to refer to itself as OSU. Then they explained to Rutgers that New Jersey hasn’t yet earned the right to be known as Big Ten country, leaving the Scarlet Knights red-faced after a comprehensive 52-3 rout.

Gary Patterson, TCU's defensive guru

With a combined 226 points scored, all the pressure’s on the two defenses in this clash. That probably suits TCU coach Gary Patterson to a tee. He can put his reputation as one of college football’s best defensive minds to the test against Buckeye interim boss Ryan Day.

The 39-year-old has a tiny window to impress. Urban Meyer’s suspension is nearing its end. Failing to understand it’s one thing to figuratively beat up an opponent on the field, another to ignore that an assistant is taking his work home in a literal way doesn’t play well. Meyer’s a great coach. Hopefully, he used the forced hiatus to work on being a better human being.

In the meantime, Day’s done things a little differently. The young coach ignored Meyer’s respect for seniority, electing to go with sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins.

Ryan Day and Dwayne Haskins, Ohio State

It’s strange to discuss a youth movement in the college game, but the 21-year-old repaid the faith placed in him. After two games, he’s completed 42 of 53 passes (79%) for 546 yards, nine touchdowns and an interception.

Back-up Tate Martell completed 13 of 14 in mop-up duty, with another TD thrown. The Buckeye’s 82% completion rate leads the NCAA.

Opponents are accustomed to losing sleep over Ohio State’s running game. This week, Patterson probably lied awake staring at deep balls stretching the defence on his bedroom ceiling. The TCU headman will need to spare a few nightmares for the Buckeyes’ defence.

Defensive lineman Nick Bosa [yes, Joey’s little bro] is battling Haskins for honours as the team’s most valuable player. Bosa the younger already boasts nine tackles, five for a loss, three on the quarterback and a touchdown following a fumble recovery. Hello.

Nick Bosa zeroes in on Rutgers QB Art Sitkowski

Then there are linebacker Pete Werner’s seven tackles, including a sack, two passes defended and a forced fumble. Nice to meet you.

If Patterson can make the secondary put in a shift, he won’t enjoy the results. Safety Jahsen Wint has eight tackles. Cornerbacks Shaun Wade and Kendall Sheffield each made an interception. Come back to see us soon.

Patterson’s defense is on the small but quick side. The two most dangerous players are Alec Dunham, who can match Bosa’s fumble recovery for a touchdown, Arico Evans and Innis Gaines. Ridwhan Issaku, Garret Wallow and Niko Small made significant contributions, too.

Offensively, TCU is also yardage by committee, with three backs each just over 100 yards. One is starting quarterback Shawn Robinson. The sophomore also posts a 61% completion rate with 328 yards, four touchdowns and an interception thrown. The critical question, however, is whether the Horned Frogs’ defensive line can stand up to the Buckeyes’ front five? It should be fun to find out.

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Seminoles face another tough test Saturday in Central New York.

Written by Winning NCAA Football Expert ATS Analyst Charlie Red McDougall. produces it for Football Betting. College Football Point Spread Picks are the best in the industry and will continue through the BCS-title game in January of 2019. When talking about the tradition of Florida State Seminoles football current head coach Willie Taggart understands what’s expected in Tallahassee. After all the Bradenton, Florida native starred at Manatee High school and played the same position nearly a decade after Heisman trophy finalist Tommy Frazier. Taggart came highly recommended after the Jimbo Fisher experiment came to an end, but there will be a price to be paid as he found out first hand the competitive nature of ACC football. On the other side of the field will be another African American head coach, (not that it matters) who has his team off to a 2-0 start in his third season which by all indications could be special. Syracuse hasn’t beaten Florida State since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference but came close in 2017 before losing 27-24. Loyal fans will begin tailgating Friday Night for this highly anticipated matchup between the two Atlantic division foes. Saturday’s contest is at 12:00 PM EST at the famous Carrier Dome in Syracuse, New York. The ESPN Television Network will be broadcasting. The Opening Betting Line has Florida State as a three points home underdog against the point spread. The betting odds total is sixty-eight and a half points for Saturday’s contest.

After the season-opening disaster in Taggart’s debut in front of a national audience head coach Willie Taggart is convinced he must do things his way. Although they took care of Samford last Saturday, it wasn’t the performance fans expected which caused some concerns in Tallahassee. Fans became irritable after the visitors got off to a 13-0 lead in the opening quarter. Quarterback Deondre Francois put the team on his shoulders with a 320 yards passing and three touchdown performance. Florida State is 0-2 against the spread this season, and the offensive line is still an area of concern; it’s been that way since Francois freshman campaign. Florida State ranks 106th rushing the football, but it’s just two games. Taggart is known as an offensive innovator; they’ve scored only thirty-nine points in two games, 105th in the FBS. Making matter worse they look soft on defense which is out of character for any Florida State football team. Coordinator Brian Ward will have his hands full Saturday against an explosive Syracuse offense. Penalties and special teams have also been suspect with Florida State; it’ll be a make or break game for the Seminoles, they can’t lose two games with Clemson, Boston College, along with the rest of the ACC Atlantic. Bovada.Lv, list the Florida State Seminoles at +750 to win the 2018 Atlantic Coast Conference Crown.

Syracuse has scored One hundred and seventeen points in two games, although they were against Western Michigan and Wagner it’s still impressive. Quarterback Eric Dungey looks comfortable in Babers system, you can bet it’ll be put to the test Saturday against the athletes that Florida State has on defense. The Orange averages six-yards per play on offense and they play with tempo. Dungey has thrown for 402 yards with a 166.4. QB rating in 2018. What sets everything up for the Syracuse offense is the short to intermediate pass, he’ll also fake a run to a back and take off around the end if Florida State play’s the middle. The Orange are 2-0 ATS this season with both games going well over the total. Syracuse ranks 108th in total defense allowing opponents nearly seven yards per play, and that can’t happen if they want to pull off the upset Saturday. Linebacker Kielan Whitner is their best player; his name must be called often. Syracuse upset then number-two ranked Clemson in the Dome last season, and this could be another signature victory in the Dino Babers era. Syracuse has also been kind to the betting public, 4-0 to the point spread in September, also the home team is 5-2 ATS the last seven. Bovada.Lv, list the Syracuse Orange at +10,000 to win the 2018 ACC Championship.

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Are you ready for some MNF? Better make it a double

Are you ready for some MNF? Better make it a double

Week 1 of the NFL season offers something weeks 2-18 rarely do: two Monday night games. I’m all for this. In fact, I think the league should consider doing it every week, on one condition. As is the case tonight, the games should not be broadcast simultaneously. In my experience, the game in the small screen [when you’re using picture-in-picture] is the one where everything happens. While you’re watching Ezekiel Elliot run for three yards and a cloud of those little black artificial turf pellets on the large view, a tiny Jalen Ramsey intercepts Andrew Luck’s pass into the flat, then runs it back for a pick-six. Is it just me or is everyone playing from behind while using PIP?

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The league has it right, this week. The New York Jets land at Ford Field for a 7:10pm EDT kickoff against the Detroit Lions. Then the Raiders begin their first, perhaps only lame-duck season in Oakland against the Los Angeles Rams at 10:20pm. Given the Jets and Lions play their game indoors, there won’t be a Dolphins/Titans-esque marathon. Both games can be viewed in fullscreen with almost no overlap.

There are matchups to consider, as well. West Coast viewers have all the fun this time. With the game not kicking off around 6pm Pacific, they needn’t sneak away from work early to avoid being stuck in freeway traffic for the entire first quarter. It’s a nice change, considering the late game is far and away the more enticing affair. Let’s preview both games, anyway.

Jets at Lions

Both teams’ defences rank in the league’s bottom third. If you’re the glass-half-full type, that means scoring. Looking at Detroit’s offense, there’s every reason to be optimistic. Matthew Stafford can bring it at quarterback. Even if he can’t, Matt Cassel’s arguably the best second option in the NFL. Either one can hand the ball off to LeGarrette Blount or throw to a receiving corps led by Marvin Jones and Golden Tate.

Matthew Stafford knows where he wants to take the NFL's Detroit Lions in 2018.

Matthew Stafford knows where he wants to take the NFL’s Detroit Lions in 2018.

Unfortunately, the Jets attack leaves your glass half-empty. Sam Darnold and Josh McCown are the QB choices. They can’t target a thousand-yard receiver in Robby Anderson or Jermaine Kearse. Todd Bowles’ new starting running back, Isaiah Crowell, just spent four sub-thousand-yard seasons in the ultimate losing culture with the Cleveland Browns. I mean, come on. To make an omelette, you not only need to break some eggs, you must have some.

This game promises to be onesided. Hopefully, the Lions can provide enough excitement to keep East Coast fans awake for the second game.

Rams at Raiders

Okay, here we go. An interesting matchup between teams who both have weapons they can bring to bear, these two clubs also offer interesting histories.

They’re easily the most nomadic franchises in the modern NFL. The Rams first arrived in Los Angeles from Cleveland just after WWII. They hung around for nearly half a century before Georgia Frontiere moved them to her hometown, St Louis. Walmart inlaw Stan Kroenke brought them back to the West Coast where he’s built them into a contender. Meanwhile, Al Davis shuffled the Raiders between Oakland and LA. Now his heir Mark is taking them to [viva] Las Vegas.

Both the Raiders and Rams have solid arms in Derek Carr and Jared Goff

Both the Raiders and Rams field solid arms in Derek Carr and Jared Goff

Each blazed a trail encouraging diversity. Marlin Briscoe became the first black starting quarterback with the Denver Broncos in the AFL. He started just one game, though. James Harris was the first to play an entire season, for the Buffalo Bills. Later traded to the Rams, Harris started two full seasons, proving along the way a black quarterback could win a playoff game. The Raiders made a poor choice with JaMarcus Russell as their first black starting quarterback but are rumoured to have made an even poorer choice by converting first-round draft pick Eldridge Dickey to receiver even though he outperformed second-rounder Ken Stabler in pre-season. To be fair, the club broke ground previously with Latino quarterbacks Tom Flores and Jim Plunkett.

The two teams enter this season with more traditional quarterbacks Jared Goff and Derek Carr behind center. While Carr has Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, Amari Cooper and Jordy Nelson as wideouts, Goff makes up for his lesser experience with Todd Gurley backing his play. The all-purpose back rushed for 1,305 yards and caught 64 passes for another 788. Leading the team with 19 touchdowns, Gurley was Goff’s favorite target even though Cooper Kupp edged him in receiving yards. Kupp’s now third on Sean McVay’s depth chart behind Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.

The Rams also hold the edge on defence with Ndamukong Suh anchoring the line while Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters patrol the corners. Across the way, Raiders DB Daryl Worley begins serving a four-game substance-abuse suspension.

Expect the Rams to win this one, even on the road, but the Raiders should offer a better fight as the underdog than the woeful Jets.

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Chargers and Chiefs catch the eye in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season

Chargers and Chiefs catch the eye in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season

The NFL waits for no one. That’s why, to my thinking, the Kansas City Chiefs’ visit to the cozy StubHub Centre to take on division rival San Diego [still doing it] Los Angeles Chargers is the must-see game in the 2018 season’s opening week.

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The Chiefs won the AFC West and went to the playoffs in 2017. They lost a nailbiter to the Tennessee Titans in the wildcard. Fair or not, the defeat was the final nail in quarterback Alex Smith’s Arrowhead career coffin. The ex-49er completed 29/33 passes for 264 yards and two touchdowns against the Titans, but his immobility hurt the team. He was sacked four times. His strength is the short-passing game, too. Kansas City couldn’t stretch the field in the second half.

On the other side of the ball, Marcus Mariota’s agility paid dividends. Rolling to his left, the Titan’s third-year signal-caller caught his own deflected pass then ran it in for a morale-crushing score. It’s little wonder the Chiefs traded Smith to the Washington Redskins and shoved all their chips in on sophomore QB Pat Mahomes’ bionic arm.

The Chargers finished second in the division but their 9-7 record didn’t rate a playoff berth. It’s a new season, however. Observers are lavishing crazy love on the Bolts in the early doors. CBS Sports rates Anthony Lynn’s squad far better than the Chiefs on both sides of the ball. Charlie Red, the man whose name graces the masthead at the top of this page, expects the Chargers “to do big things.

Phillip Rivers and the LA Chargers are trending up ahead of the 2018 NFL season.

Phillip Rivers and the LA Chargers are trending up ahead of the 2018 NFL season.

Phillip Rivers remains the man behind center. After missing out by three measly yards in 2016, Mel Gordon’s now officially a thousand-yard rusher after racking up 1,105 and eight TDs in 2017. He also contributed 476 receiving yards with another four scores for good measure. Gordon’s presence relieves pressure for the veteran QB who’s thrown for at least 4,000 yards in every season [excepting 2012] since 2008. His 26 touchdowns in the off-year were his worst over the same stretch, as well. When the Chargers’ ground game lags, though, the NC State alum’s interception rate goes through the roof.

Rivers must be licking his chops at the news that Chiefs strong safety Eric Berry’s doubtful with a heel injury for this game. Brandon Mebane and Isaac Rochel on the left side of the Chargers D-line have to be looking forward to testing Chiefs right guard Laurent Duvarney-Tardif, fresh from concussion protocol. Meanwhile, the Chiefs can exploit defensive end Joey Bosa’s absence.

Andy Reid’s a far more experienced coach than Anthony Lynn, which must count for something. Still, the younger man can rely on veteran coordinators Ken Whisenhunt and Gus Bradley, both former head coaches in the league. Reid has a seasoned defensive coordinator in Bob Sutton but is taking a gamble on Eric Bieniemy. The former University of Colorado star brings extensive experience as a running backs coach both with the Chiefs and Buffaloes, but just two seasons directing the entire offense in Boulder. A new quarterback and an untested coordinator don’t bode well for KC to start the campaign. Bieniemy at least has a 1,300-yd Pro Bowl rusher to take some pressure off the passing game.

Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy may ask who needs to throw the ball if the Chargers can't stop your Pro Bowl running back?

Chiefs OC Eric Bieniemy may ask who needs to throw the ball if the Chargers can’t stop your Pro Bowl running back?

In 2017, the new Angelinos weren’t able to exploit their compact surroundings. After a season to acclimate and an off-season to improve, maybe they can surprise opponents with an outsized game. They’ll be getting after the Chiefs today, that much is certain. But Kansas City’s out to prove they don’t deserve to be written off so easily.


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Martin Palazzotto is a freelance writer and author of strange bOUnce, a collection of sport fiction.