Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Chargers Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 12

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Chargers Betting Odds, Picks, and Predictions for Week 12

This article is part of our NFL Picks series.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Chargers Betting Preview

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The Cardinals (4-7) welcome in the Chargers (5-5) into State Farm Stadium for a Week 12 interconference matchup critical to both clubs.

Both teams are coming off Week 11 losses. The Chargers lost yet another heartbreaker to the Kansas City Chiefs at home by a 30-27 score Sunday night, falling on a late Patrick Mahomes touchdown toss to Travis Kelce. Meanwhile, the Cardinals took a 38-10 walloping from the San Francisco 49ers in Mexico City on Monday night, their second straight game without Kyler Murray at the helm.

Arizona Cardinals  vs. Los Angeles Chargers  for Week 12

*Best lines at time of writing listed

Moneyline: Chargers -143 (BetMGM Sportsbook)/ Cardinals +130 (PointsBet Sportsbook)

Point spread: Chargers -2.5 (BetMGM Sportsbook)/ Cardinals +3 (FanDuel Sportsbook)

Total: Over 48.5 points (DraftKings Sportsbook)/ Under 49 points (PointsBet Sportsbook)

The Chargers opened as 2.5-point favorites when the line was first released in the middle of last week, but it predictably shot up shortly after Arizona's Monday night embarrassment, getting as high as 4.5 on a couple of occasions early in the week. However, the news Mike Williams would be missing this game for the Chargers and the positive buzz surrounding the expected returns of Murray and Marquise Brown helped pull it all the way back to 2.5. It's toggled between 2.5 and 3 since that point.

The total has also had its share of movement, although it's mostly been upward. It opened at 47.5 and progressively climbed throughout the week until it hit 49, and it's subsequently toggled between that figure and 48.5 points leading up to kickoff. The increase is likely tied into the same reasons that caused the narrowing of the spread, namely, the improved offensive expectations for Arizona.

Arizona Cardinals  vs. Los Angeles Chargers Betting Picks This Week

The Cardinals have been an interesting and unpredictable team to prognosticate all season but we may finally have the benefit of some stability on offense this week, at least in terms of front-line players. Arizona still has pass-catcher injuries to contend with, but they're to complementary options Rondale Moore (groin) and Greg Dortch (thumb). Veteran tight end Zach Ertz (knee) is also on injured reserve, but the Cards will finally have DeAndre Hopkins and Marquise Brown on the field together. Brown is off injured reserve and the injury report altogether, having completed his recovery from a fractured foot that cost him five games.

Both talented wideouts will be catching passes from Murray, who practiced in full all week. The air attack doesn't draw the most appealing matchup on paper, however, as the Chargers are allowing just 203 passing yards per game on the road. Los Angeles has also done a good job limiting quarterback rushing yards – signal-callers have just 117 yards on 31 attempts – but the Bolts have applied pressure at just an average rate (20 sacks in 10 games). That should give Murray some relief, as the Cards have yielded 30 sacks in their own right.

The Cardinals should be able to achieve some balance as well, as the Chargers are giving up an NFL-high 5.8 RB yards per carry. Los Angeles has also surrendered an average of 4.5 receptions per game to running backs and Conner logs the lion's share of snaps in Arizona's backfield with Eno Benjamin off the roster, which gives him a chance to contribute through that route as well.

On the other side, Justin Herbert won't have Williams, but Joshua Palmer has proven himself a viable No. 2 option when necessary, while Keenan Allen encouragingly got through his Week 11 return without setbacks while logging a solid 44 snaps. Then, Gerald Everett is back healthy after missing the loss to the Chiefs with a groin injury, and he'll face a Cardinals defense that's surrendered an NFL-high 79 receptions, 862 receiving yards and nine touchdowns to tight ends.

Naturally, Austin Ekeler should also play a significant role and will face a reasonably appealing matchup. The Cardinals are giving up 4.6 RB yards per carry and rank No. 30 in second-level yards allowed. Arizona is also conceding an NFL-high 297.8 passing yards per home game at an elevated 11.3 yards per completion, so Ekeler, not to mention Allen, Palmer, Everett and even DeAndre Carter, could have plenty of opportunities to make big plays through the air.

Both teams should have enough to exploit each other's defensive weaknesses, but I see the Chargers having just a bit more in the tank and pulling off the close victory.

Cardinals vs. Chargers Best Bet: Cardinals Alternate Spread +4 (-137 at DraftKings Sportsbook)

Arizona Cardinals  vs. Los Angeles Chargers  Prediction

Chargers 27, Cardinals 24

This shapes up as one of the closest games of the week for good reason, as there is plenty of offensive firepower on either side. However, with Brown still likely limited to a certain number of plays and Palmer having proven capable of filling Williams' shoes to significant degree, I envision Los Angeles having a little bit more at the end of the game to pull out the close win.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Juan Carlos Blanco
Winner of the FSWA 2016 Newcomer of the Year Award, Juan Carlos Blanco has been playing fantasy sports for over 20 years and covers NBA, MLB, NFL, CFL and Arena Football for Rotowire.com, including serving as the beat writer for teams in multiple sports. He has previously written for KFFL.com and remains an avid season-long and daily fantasy player in multiple sports as well.
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