The Texans/Broncos game last night is a perfect example of why not to put regular size units on these games. Actually, most of the games last nights were absolute coin flips with minutes remaining. Money is in the hands of third and fourth stringers, many of which will be washing your car in a week. From that standpoint it can be difficult to handicap completely effectively. However, for the reason of scrubs being in late, I like this particular game for that reason. I will get to that later. Remember if you want my regular season picks, where I look to build off a 2013 campaign where I hit 67%, please visit http://www.nflbettingpicks.org. Today I finish my brief stint in the preseason, which has been unsuccessful for me thus far, with a look at a west coast matchup between the Chargers and 49ers.
Chargers vs. 49ers Spread and Betting Odds:
San Diego Chargers +6(-105)
@San Francisco 49ers -6(-115)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Chargers vs. 49ers Pick:
Luckily for the 49ers the preseason doesn’t always translate into the regular season. After all the Detroit Lions went 4-0 in the 2008 preseason, but failed to win a single game in the regular season. Nevertheless, the 49ers have looked down right bad. In fact, they haven’t even gotten the ball in the end zone yet. I expect them to this week with Colin Kaepernick starting, but after him they may not score any points. As we have seen already, most of these spreads are covered in mop up time between the backups. And what the 49ers have after Kaepernick is garbage, which is a good indication to why they haven’t scored a touchdown in the preseason. I don’t like to throw the word horrible out often, but Blaine Gabbert is a horrible quarterback. His decision making is horrendous and his accuracy is even worse. Gabbert finished last week with 40 yards on 8/14 passing with an interception. There could have been more than one interception, and most of those completions were short dump offs. Anything where he had to stretch the field he simply overthrew the ball. He finished with a QB rating of 32.4. He was even worse in the previous week, tossing for 20 yards on 3/11 passing with another interception. His QB rating? 1.7.
The 49ers coaching staff is going to want to get a close look at the backup quarterback battle between Gabbert and Josh Johnson. Johnson has jumped around in the league, playing with a few teams primarily as a backup. Gabbert nor Johnson instill any sense of confidence in me. I have nothing against the 49ers starters in this game and I’d set this game at -7 if it was starters vs. starters the whole way through. Consequently, I don’t see a line of 6 being justified because I like the Chargers’ backups to edge out the Niners. Quarterback Kellen Clemens isn’t going to be making it to the hall of fame, but he’s had a solid enough career to make a living as a solid backup. If you recall, Clemens was called on to start in a few games for the Jets several years ago. He was also a starter in St. Louis last season when Sam Bradford was down sitting on the sidelines.
I don’t feel like the 49ers’ starters are that much further ahead than the Chargers are. Certainly there is a gap there, San Francisco is better, but in a preseason game without any strategizing I don’t know if it is a big one. Then we head to the backups. The backups haven’t even mustered up 3 points for the 49ers! The Chargers get a big boost with Clemens against Gabbert. This has all the makings of an ugly matchup with no real rhythm. I also like the possibility of a backdoor cover by the Chargers. I believe the 49ers’ starting unit will need to blow the Chargers out early for a cover, which I don’t see happening. I would take the points in this one.
PICK = CHARGERS +6 (-105)