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In the spirit of “any given Sunday” and with two large upsets last week, NFL double-digit underdogs are 3-1 both straight up and against the spread this season. The San Francisco 49ers, now down to their backup quarterback, take a turn as a double-digit dog for their road meeting with the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon.
NFL point spread: The Chargers opened as 9.5-point favorites; the total was 47 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 28.0-18.0 Chargers (NFL picks on every game)
Why the 49ers can cover the spread
The 49ers are trying to bounce back this week from a 38-27 loss at hot Kansas City last week. San Francisco, as a six-point dog, fell down to the explosive Chiefs 14-0 in the first quarter and 35-7 late in the second then battled back to within one score of a cover at 35-24 in the third quarter and 38-27 with five minutes to go. But the 49ers lost quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a knee injury and could get no closer.
On the day, San Francisco produced 406 yards of total offense, including 178 on the ground. But an offensive pass interference call in the end zone in the fourth quarter cost the 49ers four points, and a defensive pass interference call a few moments later on a Kansas City 3rd-and-11 kept them from getting the ball back one more time.
Also, after a terrible first half, the San Francisco defense held the Chiefs to 84 yards of offense and three points in the second half. The 49ers now turn back to backup quarterback CJ Beathard, who started five games as a rookie last year.
Why the Chargers can cover the spread
The Chargers are riding the NFL roller-coaster at the moment. They opened this season with a 38-28 loss to Kansas City then won at Buffalo 31-20 but lost last week to the Rams at the Coliseum 35-23. So if recent form holds, the Chargers should win this week, right?
Los Angeles spotted their in-city rivals an early 7-0 lead last week and trailed 21-6 in the second quarter. The Chargers then pulled to within 21-13 and later 28-20 but could get no closer and came up one score short of covering as seven-point dogs.
That game might have been a little closer, but a blocked punt in the end zone and a lost fumble led directly to two Rams touchdowns, and two Chargers fourth-quarter incursions inside the Rams’ red zone produced a total of just three points.
So while Los Angeles is 1-2 this season, its two losses have come against the top two teams favored to make the Super Bowl.
Smart betting pick
San Francisco went 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS last year with Garoppolo, 1-10 SU and 5-6 ATS without him. There’s not much reason to believe that trend will change direction with Garoppolo out this season. Despite the troubles of double-digit favorites this season, smart money here gives those points with the Chargers.
NFL betting trends
The 49ers are 0-4 SU and ATS in their last four games vs. the Chargers.
The total has gone over in seven of the 49ers’ last 10 games vs. the Chargers.
The total has gone over in five of the 49ers’ last six games.
All NFL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.