Pick and pull San Diego
The San Diego Chargers will try to defeat the Detroit Lions for the seventh time in eight meetings, and cover the spread for the fifth time in six games between the teams, when they square off in the season opener at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday.
The Chargers will be kicking off what could be their last season in San Diego if they decide to move next year, giving them plenty of motivation to get a home victory here.
Point spread: Chargers opened as two-point favorites; the total was 46.5 early in the week, according to sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark (line updates and matchup report).
Why the Lions can cover the spread
While the Chargers may indeed be hyped to play what could be their final home opener at Qualcomm, the fact of the matter is that they have not had much of an advantage there recently. Season ticket holders will tell you how frustrated they are to go to games and see a solid number of opposing fans in the stands for just about every matchup.
San Diego failed to cover its last five home games last year and lost the final two against the New England Patriots and Denver Broncos, which ultimately kept the team out of the playoffs along with a road loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the regular-season finale.
The Lions have also gotten off to good starts early on in their seasons lately with a 5-1 mark straight up and against the number in their past six during September.
Why the Chargers can cover the spread
The Chargers did finish last year poorly outside of a pair of thrilling road wins against the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers by a combined four points. But they also did get off to a great start at 5-0 SU and 4-1 against the spread, with three of those wins coming at home. So the question becomes, which team will show up in Week 1?
Regardless of whether San Diego ends up moving, there is a lot of talent present, and the franchise has committed to having quarterback Philip Rivers finish his career as a Charger with a contract extension through 2019.
The addition of rookie running back Melvin Gordon should also help Rivers maximize the rest of his years there.
San Diego has dropped three in a row both SU and ATS against NFC North opponents, and Detroit is a dangerous team to play right out of the gates.
Defensively, it will be interesting to see how the Lions perform without All-Pro defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who signed with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent in the offseason. But they have superior offensive talent compared to the Chargers and should be able to put themselves into position to pull off the upset. Look for Detroit to roar past San Diego.
The Lions are 5-1 SU and ATS in their last six games in September.
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Who was the San Diego Chargers first round pick for the 2004 season
In 2004, the San Diego Chargers first round draft pick was Eli Manning.
On draft day, the Chargers traded Manning to the New York Giants for their first round pick, Philip Rivers.