Sunday, October 4, 2020, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, 1 p.m. ET
Chargers at Buccaneers Betting Preview: Chargers (+7.5/-130), Buccaneers (-7.5/+110)
Los Angeles Chargers
Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert is in line to make his third straight game but topping 300 yards in each of his first two didn’t result in a victory.
Tyrod Taylor (cracked ribs, punctured lungs) is expected to again sit out and that would place Herbert back behind center after passing for 311 yards against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago and 330 in last Sunday’s 21-16 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
The 22-year-old Herbert has shown big-time poise in his first two starts for the Chargers (1-2), especially in his first against the Chiefs when he found out just before the coin toss that he would be starting.
The Chargers are averaging just 17.3 points despite receiving stellar efforts from running back Austin Ekeler (236 rushing, 142 receiving) and wideout Keenan (Allen 24 receptions 265 yards). Allen caught 13 passes for 132 yards against the Panthers to raise his career receptions total to 548, third most in franchise history after passing Hall of Famer Kellen Winslow (541 from 1979-87). The defense is allowing 19.0 points per game and star defensive end Joey Bosa is tied for fifth in the NFL with three sacks.
The Chargers are hurting on the defensive side of the ball after cornerback Chris Harris (foot) was injured against the Panthers and placed on injured reserve, meaning he will miss at least three games. Standout defensive end Melvin Ingram (knee) was placed on injured reserve late last week and the team will again try to soften his loss.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tom Brady era is just in the beginning stages and the 43-year-old is looking to help the Buccaneers attain their first 3-1 start since 2011. Of course, that team from nine years ago ended up losing 11 of its final 12 games so any comparison would end with the 3-1 factoid should Tampa Bay win this Sunday.
Brady has passed for 753 yards and six touchdowns against three interceptions so far and the Buccaneers are averaging 27.3 points after last Sunday’s 28-10 victory over the Denver Broncos.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski, Brady’s former teammate with New England, came out of hibernation with six receptions for 48 yards against the Broncos after having just two catches for 11 yards over the first two games.
Wideout Mike Evans caught two 1-yard scoring passes against Denver and has an NFL-leading four touchdown passes despite being slowed down by hamstring issues. Receiver Chris Godwin (hamstring) will miss the game after being sidelined earlier this season with a concussion.
The defense is allowing 20.3 points per game and standout defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul has three of the unit’s 12 sacks. Second-year linebacker Devin White has racked up a team-best 33 tackles in a solid start to follow his impressive rookie campaign in which he made 91 stops.
Chargers at Buccaneers Betting Pick for October 4, 2020
Brady vs. Herbert sounds like a major mismatch and the experience factor is definitely in play since Brady was drafted 25 months after Herbert was born. The Buccaneers are still getting acquainted due to preseason games being canceled and the nametags are close to being put away.
The Chargers’ only win came on the road at Cincinnati but there isn’t another one waiting for them on the west coast of Florida.
Chargers at Buccaneers Betting Pick:
Buccaneers 30, Chargers 17
Chargers at Buccaneers Best Bet for October 4, 2020
Tampa Bay defeated the Panthers and Broncos by an average of 16 points and another possible double-digit win lies on the horizon.
Not having Ingram and Harris on the field against a veteran like Brady is a bad deal for the Chargers. Expect Brady to lead the Bucs to enough points to make the over a good play.
Chargers at Buccaneers Best Bet: UNDER 43.5 total points (-110)