Following an awful start to the 2017 NFL season, the Los Angeles Chargers are making a run, winning six of their last eight games both straight up and against the spread.
The Washington Redskins, on the other hand, are playing themselves out of playoff contention, losing five of their last seven contests. Two teams heading in different directions meet when Washington visits Los Angeles on Sunday afternoon.
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 34.3-9.6 Chargers (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Redskins can cover the spread
The Redskins are hoping to bounce back this week after taking a bad 38-14 loss to Dallas last Thursday. Washington fell down to the Cowboys 17-0 in the second quarter, pulled to within 24-14 early in the fourth but could get no closer.
The Redskins actually outgained Dallas 280-275, but lost the turnover battle 4-0 and gave up an 83-yard punt return for a score.
Two weeks ago, Washington beat the Giants 20-10; just before that, the Redskins had NFC South-leading New Orleans down by two scores in the fourth quarter before giving that one away; the week prior, they lost by one score at NFC North-leading Minnesota; and just before that, they won at Seattle.
At 5-7, the Redskins need to win to have any chance of making the playoffs.
Why the Chargers can cover the spread
The Chargers ride a three-game winning streak into Sunday after beating Cleveland last week 19-10. Los Angeles trailed the Browns 7-6 late in the second quarter but kicked a field goal to take a lead into halftime. They then scored the first 10 points out of the locker room and held on from there.
Los Angeles outgained Cleveland 429-291, held a 35-25 advantage in time of possession, won the turnover battle 2-0 and got a four-for-five performance on field goals from new kicker Travis Coons.
Two weeks ago, the Chargers won at Dallas 28-6, and just before that they bombed Buffalo 54-24.
At 6-6 overall, Los Angeles is tied with Kansas City and Oakland for the lead in the AFC West. However, the Chargers do not own the tiebreaker against the Chiefs, and they're one game back of 7-5 Baltimore in the battle for the second AFC wild-card spot.
Washington played some decent ball through November and stands as a candidate to rebound this week. Los Angeles, meanwhile, may own three straight victories, but those came against iffy Buffalo and Dallas outfits and the hapless Browns. The Chargers might still win this game, but smart money takes the Redskins and the points.
NFL betting trends
The total has gone over in five of the Redskins' last seven games against the Chargers.
The Chargers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight games.
The Redskins are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 games in Week 14.
All NFL odds and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.