When lines on week 3 games opened up, the Los Angeles Chargers were favored by seven points at home over the Jacksonville Jaguars. As Friday afternoon rolled around, the betting line had moved to favor the Chargers by just 3.5 points. NBC Sports fantasy analyst Matthew Berry tweeted about the shift of the spread on Friday.
On Friday afternoon, the Chargers listed that Justin Herbert would be questionable for Sunday. While the official designation for Herbert is that he is questionable, the shift in the spread from sportsbooks likely means that they don’t think Herbert is going to play on Sunday. He suffered fractured rib cartilage in the Chargers’ Thursday Night Game against the Chiefs in week 2. During the game, Herbert was seen holding his arm close to his side and even throwing the ball away late in the game on a key third and short. On the next play though, an important 4th and short, he was able to throw a hard, deep pass over the middle, proving that he is still capable while injured.
There has been over a week for Herbert to heal from the injury and he was originally listed as day-to-day. Because he looked good even when injured against the Chiefs, if the Chargers do hold him out it will most likely be for precautionary reasons, as they will want him healthy for later in the season.
If Herbert is not able to play, backup Chase Daniel will get the start. He went in for one play while Herbert came out of the game for the rib cartilage injury in week 2. Daniel is a career backup who has played for six different teams and passed for 1,694 yards in his career. On Friday’s practice, he took the first-team reps and is familiar with the offense.
This situation presents a unique gambling opportunity for online betting for football. If the sportsbooks are to be believed that Herbert isn’t playing, then a smart bet would be on the Jaguars, even after they are now only getting 3.5 points against the spread. If there is any hope that Herbert still plays, or if a bettor has faith in Daniel, the money should be placed on the Chargers.
Overall, the Chargers do still have the more talented team even if Herbert does miss the game. They were a game away from the playoffs last season, while the Jaguars were the worst team in the league. In the offseason, the Chargers acquired edge rusher Kahlil Mack and cornerback J.C. Jackson to help out their defense. Daniel is fully capable of leading the team to a victory and they could even cover, as he has looked good in relief before and he has a good team around him. On top of that, the Jaguars will be traveling across the country for this game, as the Chargers are hosting them.
The injury status of Herbert and the betting line on this game are both worth watching closely this weekend. If Herbert is cleared to play the line will likely move again in favor of the Chargers.