After last week, we are officially in the “who on Earth knows” portion of the Chargers schedule. They have looked awful; they have looked masterful. The season is basically for pride at this point, and you’d better believe that people who have jobs on the line care more about that than draft positioning.
Each week, our humble friend the Degenerate Gambler puts his notions to the test with a variety of bets that, if he lucks out, ends his season on a high note. With $100 on the line each week, his mix of standard and far-flung bets leaves a week of partying or mourning in their wake.
You might remember how our friend was feeling pretty good about his odds. After all, he opened up the record book and found that the Chargers hadn’t scored a TD over 38 yards since October 7th. The Jaguars still haven’t seen that mark since a lucky play back in October. Sounds like taking the under on TD length is a good bet, right?
Two words: ‘Due’ factor.
Week 14 Chargers @ Jaguars
- Wager 1 - Total TDs - Under 4.5 : $ 25.00 [ -115 ] L
- Wager 2 - Longest TD - Under 38.5 : $60.00 [ -115 ] L
- Wager 3 - First score - Jags FG : $15.00 [+300 ] W $ 45.00
TOTAL: $40.00 loss
Well, nuts. Sure, he’s lucky to have one of his longest-shot bets of the season hit, but it still feels pretty rough to have been so wrong on how the Chargers would rebound after several bad offensive outings.
That said, if the Chargers are going to lose our anti-hero’s bets, it’s nice to see them doing so in ruthless fashion. Not only did they score 5 TDs themselves, two scores crushed the 38.5 yard mark. Yow!
For this next contest, we have the Chargers attempting to play the spoiler role for a Vikings team that has postseason goals. Their significant investment in Kirk Cousins has yet to elevate the team (they haven’t again reached the heights that Keenum delivered them to in 2017), and if Green Bay doesn’t falter, the Vikings might lose their wildcard spot to the Rams (or even the Bears!).
But there’s a few weird quirks to consider in this match-up:
- The Chargers and Vikings have played a dozen times, and have alternated wins EACH time they play. This is the longest streak of that nature in NFL history...and the Vikings won the last game.
- The Vikings are just 1-10 in games played in the Pacific or Mountain time zones in the last decade. The Jaguars have one more loss than them for the record in that time period, but still. The norsemen don’t travel west well, it seems.
- The Chargers are December warriors again. They are 9-3 in December during the Lynn administration. Oh, and did you see Austin Ekeler last week? Philip Rivers? That was the highest passer rating ever recorded (154.4) on a QB’s own birthday.
Bad news: This week is not Philip Rivers’ birthday.
Week 15 Vikings @ Chargers
Wager 1 - Total Points - Over 50.5 (Alt line) : $ 30.00 [ +165 ] Possible win: $49.50
Wager 2 - Chargers Total - Over 21.5 : $ 25.00 [ -105 ] Possible win: $23.81
Wager 3 - Longest TD - Chargers : $ 25.00 [ +110 ] Possible win: $27.50
Wager 4 - No team scores 3 consecutive : $ 20.00 [ +165 ] Possible win: $33.00
TOTAL POSSIBLE WIN: +$133.81
Well, if that isn’t gambling at it’s finest, I don’t know what is. After losing a good chunk of change last week, our dear friend appears to be all for long-shot bets to try and recoup his losses. 3⁄4 of his bets this week are for positive value, which is a nice way of saying that he might have to keep hiding his face by this point next week.
But let’s give the Degenerate Gambler the benefit of the doubt here and dive in, shall we? It looks like he would not be surprised by another offensive week (in a good way!). The Vikings haven’t kept a team under 21.5 points in the last 5 games (except last week against Detroit. So, I guess 4/5 still ain’t bad), and the Chargers seem to be equally bad at keeping the score low.
With each team eyeing a score in the mid-20s, the alternate line on the ‘Over’ bet seems relatively safe for a long bet. Make no mistake—the Vikings need this game a whole lot more than the Chargers do. While all of the historical stats say that the Bolts should win the day, the Chargers could be one unlucky special teams play away from phoning it in this week.
For now, the Degenerate Gambler will strap in and has full expectation of fireworks this week. Please join me in hoping that the fire and spectacle isn’t his remaining credit burning to a fiery abyss.
-Jason “Money can be a Thor thubject” Michaels