With their unceremonious departure from San Diego this spring now in the rear-view mirror, the Chargers era in L.A. officially begins on Sunday night with their first home preseason game. It will be the second straight night that football fans in L.A. will get to see NFL action (the Rams host Dallas on Saturday), as the battle for football supremacy in the City of Angels can officially begin.
After all, we’ve already heard about the fights that have happened this week with the two L.A. teams sharing a training camp, so it will be interesting to see what type of loyalties the L.A. football fans have to their two new squads this year.
But for our purposes, it’s all about the Chargers and Seahawks here, with both teams opening up their preseason slate and having strong expectations for what 2017 may bring. On paper, Seattle is the much better team and are heavy favorites to win the NFC West, but the Seahawks aren’t nearly as deep as they once were a few years ago at nearly every position on the field, and that can be a little problematic for Week 1 of the preseason.
Seattle has always put a big more priority on preseason results during the Pete Carroll era then most other teams do. Pete Carroll has a 30-14-1 ATS record over his last 45 preseason games and Seattle has gone 28-16 SU in those contests. While at first glance that might not support a bet on the Chargers this week, but much of that damage has been done by Seattle teams that were so much deeper across the board than the 2017 edition of the Seahawks.
Seattle’s window of dominance in the NFC West is definitely getting closer and closer to being shut, and with depth being more of an issue these days (thanks to salary cap concerns as well), it means that Seattle’s starters are likely going to see less and less time on the field in the preseason to avoid needlessly getting hurt.
Enter a Chargers team who is hoping to make a drastic improvement from their 5-11 SU season a year ago. The Chargers also know that even with it just being the preseason, making a strong, positive statement in their new home will go a long way. It’s no secret that L.A. sports fans love a “winner” and with the Chargers coming over to L.A. from a rival city (in other sports) like San Diego, it’s likely going to take some time for the Chargers to establish a die-hard fanbase.
L.A. fans already got a taste of NFL football a year ago with the Rams in town, and that year head start doesn’t do the Chargers any favors either. But coming out in Week 1 of the preseason and establishing some credibility on the field will go a long way towards fans (and bettors) believing in them when the season starts.
The Chargers are also a hungrier team in terms of their depth chart with many starting positions still open to competition. That may not be a plus in the regular season, but preseason NFL bettors know that it’s a good thing in August because you’ve got guys doing everything they can to get some good tape out there. A 5-11 SU season creates plenty of change on the field, and the Chargers will be out to put their best foot forward here.
Finally, it would be sloppy of me to not consider the current betting percentages on this game, and as of this writing it’s about a 75/25 split in favor of the Seahawks. To me that reeks of NFL fans getting overly anxious for the season to start and projecting regular season potential onto early preseason games. That’s typically not going to get your bankroll very far in August, especially when you consider that regarding this game specifically, there are other sportsbooks who have moved up to -2 for L.A. despite Seattle getting the bulk of the support.