New England Patriots (-3.5) at San Diego Chargers
The San Diego Chargers enter Week 14 with a one-game lead on virtually everyone in the AFC for the fifth seed in the conference. Their slim edge over the other teams is a necessity at this point, as San Diego has an army of top competition to face in its final four games. It starts Sunday night against the Patriots.
New England hardly ever loses back-to-back games — the last time it happened was September 2012 — and after a thrilling showdown in Lambeau Field on Sunday, the Patriots look to rebound like they seemingly always do. With a small spread, and the expectation that New England will walk into San Diego and obviously win, a trap may be brewing. Acknowledging this, we proceed with hesitation.
The Patriots just had their seven-game winning streak snapped, but now their reputation as a ‘bounce-back machine’ is in jeopardy. All streaks come to an end, and all trends eventually reset. Considering this is a primetime matchup, everything that happens on Sunday Night will be on full display. But that’s exactly why the Patriots will cover.
This season, New England is 2-2 against the spread on night games. Both wins came as the underdog, and both losses — against the spread only — came as the favorites. The interpretation of these numbers suggest that the public tends to overvalue the Patriots or write them off too quickly. Perhaps the three-and-a-half point spread is more to ‘trap’ those backing the Chargers, trying to capture the underdog where a field goal loss would be enough. Because New England has shown a history of following losses with wins, and fighting an 0-2 record against the spread as favorites in night games, the Patriots will again come out on top.
New England wins by four and narrowly covers.