Los Angeles Chargers Over/Under Wins Odds 2021: Herbert to take them over
Justin Herbert's rookie season will give Chargers' fans hope going forward
09:51 Thursday 1st July 2021 - 5 minute read
Justin Herbert came in as a rookie and excelled against expectations in 2020 and Zach Rainey thinks he can help take the Chargers over the nine win mark this season...
While the Los Angeles Chargers weren’t in playoff contention last season, Justin Herbert was must-see TV throughout the year.
Everyone thought it would be Joe Burrow driving that much excitement in his rookie campaign, but instead it was Herbert. I’ll be honest. Coming out of Oregon, I didn’t like Herbert at all. But I’ve accepted I was wrong and thoroughly enjoy watching him on Sundays.
What amazed me was that he had that type of year without any of the usual preseason stuff in place. He basically came right out of Oregon and onto the field for Los Angeles after the trainer seemingly tried to kill Tyrod Taylor.
I’m exaggerating. But watching Herbert in his first start against the then defending champion Chiefs, I thought the kid was going to get his doors kicked in. Kansas City won on a walk-off field goal but Herbert had made his announcement to the league. He was for real.
Now, I’m not infatuated with him to the point where I’m blinded and think his team will win the division, but I think the team at least competes for a playoff spot this season.
The Chargers had a good split with Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley a year ago, but Austin Ekeler back in as the lead guy in that backfield is definitely a boost for that offense.
Keenan Allen will continue to be a reliable possession receiver and could end up winning you a fantasy football title if you can snag him as your second wide-out.
Opposite from Allen, Mike Williams lines up looking to finally have that breakout campaign. I’m not going to put it all on him. He’s a big-play guy, and Philip Rivers didn’t have a big-play arm by the time the two were on the field.
Some will look at Jared Cook as a downgrade to Hunter Henry, but the best ability you can have is availability, and Henry just wasn’t on the field enough to warrant the Chargers extending his contract.
If you ask me, the Chargers were in one of the best positions in the draft this past year at No. 12. They were able to wait and see if any of the top receivers would fall to them. I also think they would’ve pulled the trigger on a guy like Micah Parsons, as he’s as close to a guy like Devin White you’re going to get in the draft.
But instead, the Chargers get an offensive tackle in Rashawn Slater that will be a 10-year starter in the league. We didn’t get to see him in the pandemic-shortened year, so the last time we saw him was 2019. But go put on his game film of when Northwestern played Ohio State. He had Chase Young lining up across from him and made it look almost easy.
The biggest question for the Chargers for the past handful of seasons has been “Can Derwin James stay healthy?”
In fact, with as much as people bring him up when talking about the ceiling of the Chargers, his full legal name at this point should be “Derwin James If-Healthy.”
But with the information I have now, which is James being healthy, I analyzed the team as such.
The Chargers could have a brutal first half of the year. I have them defeating Washington in Week 1, although I’m anxious to watch the Slater-Young rematch.
They’ll fall to Dallas and Kansas City in Week 2 and Week 3, but rebound nicely with a win over Las Vegas in Week 4. The last two weeks before their Week 7 Bye will be tough, and I have them dropping games to both the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens before the Bye and a game to New England after the Bye.
After that, their schedule gets easier, with games against Philly, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. Their game with Denver in Week 9 is a toss-up to me. I think they’ll split, as Denver’s pass-rush will be able to get after Herbert. But I could also see him figuring some things out in year two that he didn’t see in year one to sweep the Broncos.
They’ll follow with wins at Cincinnati and at home against the Giants and I think they take their Week 15 match-up and hand the Chiefs a rare loss right before the playoffs. From there, they’ll win out with wins at Houston, at home against Denver and at Las Vegas.
With that, the Chargers finish at 11-6 and likely make the playoffs as at least a wild card team, as it will be difficult to edge the Chiefs.
The Chargers win total is currently set at 9. Even with a sweep by Kansas City, you’re still at 10 wins, enough to cash the over on this. I’ll take the over.