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Behind the lines

Chargers are favored but no lock

September 30, 2007|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

San Diego Chargers first-year Coach Norv Turner has taken some heat for his team's disappointing start, but he should get some relief against the Kansas City Chiefs today at Qualcomm Stadium.

Although both teams have 1-2 records, Kansas City will take the field as a hefty 11.5-point underdog. Why? Because the Chiefs have a bad track record against the spread.

In their last six games as underdogs, the Chiefs are 1-5 against the spread, and the last time they covered the spread against the Chargers in San Diego was 2002.

It should be noted, however, that San Diego has been anything but a lock lately. Dating back to last season when Marty Schottenheimer was still the coach, the Chargers are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games overall, including a 1-2 mark this season.

Maybe that's why the line on the game dropped after opening with the Chargers favored by 14 points.

After three weeks of NFL play, seven teams remain undefeated against the spread -- including Arizona, which doesn't even have a winning record.

The main reason behind the 1-2 Cardinals' success against the spread has been their ability to score points late when they trail by large margins. That's been the case over the last two seasons, thanks to wide receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald.

Arizona is a six-point underdog at home today against Pittsburgh, which is also 3-0 against the spread.

However, the Steelers are also 3-0 on the field, and that's probably why big money has flowed their way -- registering 66.69% (2,160-1,079) of the action as of Saturday afternoon, according to Wagerline.com.

Injuries always play an important role with oddsmakers, especially when quarterbacks are sidelined.

Today, three teams are expected to sub backup signal-callers for banged-up starters -- Oakland (Daunte Culpepper for Josh McCown), Carolina (David Carr for Jake Delhomme) and Buffalo (Trent Edwards for J.P. Losman).

The lines on each game? They barely moved. The Raiders have been four-point underdogs against Miami all week and the Panthers have been three-point favorites over Tampa Bay since Monday. The only movement came with the Bills going from three-point to 3.5-point underdogs against the New York Jets.

Pro Hockey

Bettors who like underdogs had to be pleased with the results of Saturday's season opener with the Kings defeating the Ducks, 4-1, in London. The Ducks were favored at -135 and 1.5 goals.

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lonnie.white@latimes.com

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