We’ve survived another Sunday slate without Chargers football, and are mere hours away from a Monday Night matchup against the New York Jets. The Chargers desperately need to secure this win against the Jets, who are 3.5-point underdogs to the Bolts according to DraftKings Sportsbook. Below are my favorite prop bets on the week, showcasing players that I believe will step up and be key contributors to tomorrow.
Weekly Special: Garrett Wilson and Austin Ekeler to Combine for 150+ Receiving Yards, +200
I haven’t featured one of the DraftKings Sportsbook “Weekly Specials” before, but both offerings on the table are intriguing.
The special pairs a starting running back with the opposing teams’ primary wide receiver. Although a Breece Hall and Keenan Allen partnership could look tempting, the injuries to the Chargers’ receiving room will enable New York to focus on limiting Allen’s impact on the game. Although Breece Hall is a talent, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kenneth Murray and Eric Kendricks limit his receiving yardage with Murray’s inspired play as of late. I still think the path of least resistance through this defense is the run.
The pairing of Garrett Wilson and Austin Ekeler seems destined to outperform the previous grouping. According to PFF, Wilson had the 6th highest receiving grade against man coverage in his rookie season. The Chargers defense has suffered from missed assignments when playing zone or pattern match coverages, and players have expressed favoring man coverage against tougher opponents. With the Chargers giving up the most passing yards per game, and Garrett Wilson thriving against the scheme the players have the most confidence in, I expect Wilson to have a good day. With Austin Ekeler finally appearing healthy in last week’s game against Chicago, I definitely like the +200 payout for a bet that seems pretty likely to hit.
Quentin Johnston Same Game Parlay: Anytime TD Scorer, OVER 31.5 receiving yards, +490
You can throw this in the “emotional betting” category, but if there was ever a time for Johnston to showcase why the Chargers spent a first round pick on him, this primetime game with two starting receivers on the IR is a perfect opportunity. Johnston had some extra opportunities against the Bears last week, and did a great job displaying his ability to make defenders miss and get some extra yards after the catch. This week, he needs to show the league - and Justin Herbert - that he can also get separation before the ball is in his hands.
We saw Brandon Staley and Kellen Moore prioritize getting Johnston a touchdown in the preseason to help him forget about some earlier drops, and build confidence. With Palmer out for at least four games, expect to see Moore give Johnston many opportunities to build confidence through production, because he’ll have to lean on him even more throughout the season.
Joey Bosa - OVER .25 Sacks, -115
When Brandon Staley emphasized the team leaning into their identity last week, Derrick Ansley and his defense took the message to heart. Ansley played clips of their veterans celebrating big plays on former teams, and reminded his men how contagious that energy is. Multiple reports from practice indicated the team had renewed focus, which sounded like lip service until the defense took the field against Chicago. It’s hard to determine how much their play improved, as Chicago is in full-blown rebuild mode and started an undrafted free agent rookie at quarterback, but it’s undeniable the defense played with more energy and moxie than in weeks past.
#Chargers DC Derrick Ansley challenged his players in a meeting last week: "We ain't having enough fun."— Daniel Popper (@danielrpopper) October 30, 2023
They responded by forming a celebration committee. For the first time, they celebrated as a team after turnovers. The message resonated. More here:https://t.co/RaUA6ehTr3 https://t.co/W7eS8wBNBZ
I’m taking the bet for Joey Bosa to have “over” .25 sacks, because I believe the EDGEs will get to Wilson multiple times, and Bosa is certain to be a part of it. Like Ekeler, Joey looked like the healthiest version of himself we’ve seen all season, surpassing his pressure total last week with one sack, one hit, and three hurries. If I could bet on a three-sack team performance, I would... but the next best thing would be taking this Bosa bet, and perhaps pairing it with Khalil Mack to have “over” .75 sacks at a -115 payout.
What bets are you placing, Bolts From the Blue?