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Sharp money moves line on Raiders-Chargers with Garoppolo uncertain

Updated September 29, 2023 - 7:31 pm

Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remained in concussion protocol Friday, and it’s unclear if he will play in Sunday’s AFC West matchup against the Chargers in Los Angeles.

But the uncertainty didn’t stop a sharp sports betting group at the Westgate SuperBook from wagering on the Raiders (+5½) over the Chargers.

Los Angeles opened as a 4½-point favorite, and the consensus line climbed to 5½ before settling at 5. The line was still at 5½ on Friday at Boyd Gaming and BetMGM sportsbooks.

“The uncertainty of Garoppolo is what caused it to go up a full point. If he’s out, I expect this number to go up,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “But the number just dropped at a few places from 5½ to 5, which leads you to believe he is playing.”

Garoppolo missed practice Wednesday but was a limited participant Thursday and Friday.

If he isn’t cleared to play, the Raiders would start veteran Brian Hoyer or rookie Aidan O’Connell.

“If he was going to play, the line would be around 4, and we will probably bump it up to 6 or 6½ if he doesn’t play,” SuperBook oddsmaker Ed Salmons said earlier this week.

Sharp bettors have backed the Silver and Black all four weeks to start the season. The Raiders rewarded bettors with a 17-16 win and cover at Denver in Week 1 before losing and failing to cover their next two games: 38-10 at Buffalo in Week 2 and 23-18 to the Steelers in Sunday’s home opener at Allegiant Stadium.

The Chargers also are 1-2 straight-up and against the spread after outlasting the Vikings 28-24 last week. Los Angeles lost its opener at home to the Dolphins in a 36-34 shootout before dropping a 27-24 decision at Tennessee.

The Raiders have won two of the last three meetings, which have been decided by an average of five points.

The consensus total is 48½. The last six meetings have averaged 52.2 points.

“These teams always play close games,” Salmons said. “History says it’s usually a high-scoring game that’s close. Laying the Chargers in Los Angeles is generally not a recipe for making money.”

The Chargers are banged up, too, after losing wide receiver Mike Williams to a season-ending torn ACL in their win at Minnesota. Running back Austin Ekeler and safety Derwin James are listed as doubtful for the game.

The Raiders are 2-1 underdogs on the money line at BetMGM and +195 at Station Casinos.

Esposito said the game has not been heavily bet, and that the ticket count is 2-1 in favor of the Chargers.

“Which has been uncharacteristic for Raiders games. But that could change by the time the game kicks off,” he said. “The public is still going to continue to back the Raiders. It wouldn’t surprise me if we need the Chargers when the game kicks off.”

The total opened at 49 and dipped to 47½ at Station before creeping back up.

“When the Raiders are a a visitor against the Chargers, 18 of the last 23 went under,” Esposito said.

Pro sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw isn’t placing a bet on the game. But if he had to, he said he would take the Raiders.

“The Chargers are pretty good, but they play a lot of very close games. Almost every one of them is decided by a touchdown or less,” he said. “The Chargers never seem to blow out anybody. If I were going to play the game, I’d have to take the Raiders.”

Fifteen of the Chargers’ last 20 games have been decided by seven points or fewer and 11 of 20 have been decided by four or fewer.

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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Las Vegas handicapper Bruce Marshall is an analyst at VegasInsider.com. Each week, he provides the Review-Journal with NFL tech notes and trends.