SNF Preview: L.A. Chargers at San Francisco

San Francisco RB Christian McCaffrey will lead his team up against the Chargers on Sunday Night Football.

San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Line: San Francisco -7

Total: 45.5

Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, California

When: Sunday, 11/13 at 8:20 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

The Los Angeles Chargers will try to win their sixth straight games against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday night, but they will have to do so as underdogs.

San Francisco opened as a 3.5-point favorite before the early betting action caused the line to skyrocket up to -7. The total has been trending down, sitting at 45.5 on Friday afternoon after opening at 47.5. These teams have gone ‘over’ the total in eight of their last 11 head-to-head meetings.

Los Angeles is dealing with multiple key injuries, which is part of the reason this line has been moving so much. The Chargers are without Joey Bosa defensively, and they were also missing their top two wide receivers in a 20-17 win over Atlanta last week.

Keenan Allen (hamstring) did not practice on Thursday and is officially listed as ‘questionable,’ while Mike Williams is going to remain ‘out’ with an ankle injury. Wide receiver Josh Palmer stepped up against the Falcons, catching eight passes for 106 yards from quarterback Justin Herbert. Running back Austin Ekeler added 71 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.

Ekeler has been a key to the team’s current 4-1 (3-2 ATS) run, scoring 10 touchdowns and averaging 117.8 all-purpose yards during that stretch. Herbert has gone four straight games without 300 passing yards and has not thrown a pass longer than 20 yards through the air in his last three contests.

The Chargers still have good metrics offensively though, ranked ninth in the NFL in yards per game (364.3). They are going to be tested by a San Francisco defense that leads the league, allowing just 285.9 yards per game.

More concerning for Los Angeles fans is the Chargers’ defense, which has allowed the third-most points in the NFL and a league-worst six runs of at least 40 yards. Those issues do not bode well against a San Francisco offense that recently got even better by acquiring star running back Christian McCaffrey from Carolina.

The former All-Pro running back has caught more passes than all but 12 wide receivers since being drafted five years ago. He teams up with explosive wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who has more touchdown runs of at least 10 yards than all but one running back over the past two seasons.

“It’s just like so crazy how much firepower we have in this offense now, adding him (McCaffrey) to the team along with all the other guys that we have on our team,” Samuel said. “It’s going to be crazy. It’s going to be hard to cover everybody out there. It will be real fun.”

McCaffrey had 149 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown run in a win over the Rams, which was a game Samuel missed due to a hamstring issue. Samuel will be back on the field for this game, giving quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a wealth of options.

Los Angeles has not only won five straight meetings between these teams, but it has covered the spread in four of those wins. The Chargers have also covered the spread at a 4-1 clip in their last five road games—they have gone ‘over’ the total in 10 of their last 14 games.

San Francisco has been very profitable since last season, going 14-6 ATS in its last 20 games. The 49ers have been trending in the opposite direction as far as the total is concerned, cashing the ‘under’ in 12 of their last 16 contests.

The pick: San Francisco -7

This is an ugly number to lay after the spread opened at -3.5, but I think there is still some value to be had at -7. The 49ers suddenly have one of the top offenses in the NFL after acquiring McCaffrey, and they will be ready to show it off with Samuel back in the lineup. They are also coming off their bye week and are playing in front of a national audience, making this an excellent scheduling spot. Los Angeles is banged up on both sides of the ball and its struggling defense is going to be too much to overcome. The Chargers have dominated this series in recent seasons, but the 49ers will get revenge on Sunday night.

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