Sunday Night NFL Betting — Steelers-Chargers: Introducing…..Devlin Hodges!

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For the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s been kind of a nightmare at the quarterback position. But there is no team in the AFC North that has taken ownership of the playoff race, so the idea of packing it in isn’t even a though in their minds.

Part of the strategy is to create nightmares for the opposition’s quarterback, naturally, and they have done that the last couple of weeks. Can they do that to the usually unflappable Philip Rivers of the Los Angeles Chargers, and at the same time get something good enough from a small college QB in his first NFL start?

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There’s quite a story line indeed, as these teams meet at tiny Dignity Health Sports Park on Sunday at 8:20 PM ET on NBC. Remember that while BetAnySports patrons are watching the game, they can place wagers in real time with Live Betting Ultra.

The Steelers had been able to put together an offensive package to make things as easy as possible on Mason Rudolph, who had come in for Ben Roethlisberger, out with an elbow injury and not coming back (this year anyway). This included mixing up wildcat plays and short passes, although Rudolph started to open things up down the field a little against the Baltimore Ravens last week. They did well for themselves coming back in that game, losing in OT only after a Juju Smith-Schuster fumble.

But in the process of all that happening, Rudolph went out of the game when he got hit by Earl Thomas (and which drew a fine from the NFL), which left things with Devlin Hodges, a quarterback who went undrafted but kept hanging around during training camp.

Hodges was the fourth man in a three-man QB situation, but he moved to the practice squad after the trade of Josh Dobbs, and then stepped into the fire last week, looking cool and confident, completing seven of nine passes. Rudolph’s being held out, so it’s Hodges here, with Paxton Lynch – who ironically lost his chance to make Seattle’s roster after being knocked into a concussion in a pre-season game – elevated from practice squad status as the backup.

In the NFL betting odds posted on this Sunday night game, the Chargers are favored:

Los Angeles Chargers -6 (-108)
Pittsburgh Steelers +6 (-102)

Over 42 points (-107)
Under 42 points (-103)

See those numbers? They come with reduced juice, which is the best deal you’re going to get at a sportsbook. Avoid having to lay the customary -110, at BetAnySports!

Hodges didn’t necessarily come from nowhere; he had set a record for career passing yards at the FCS level while at Samford University. We don’t exactly expect him to wilt. And as has become the custom at the Chargers’ home field (the smallest stadium in the NFL), there should be a healthy contingent of fans for the visiting team.

But there will be some infrastructure he’ll be missing. For one thing, those wildcat plays highly unlikely, because the guy who was taking the snaps, Jaylen Samuels, is out for up to a month with a knee injury. So Trey Edmunds was brought in from the practice squad, and we imagine Benny Snell will get some snaps. James Washington is out, and that thins out the wide receiver position a little. In other words, it’s not a full contingent.

But the Chargers know what that’s all about. They’ve got Russell Okung out already, and Mike Pouncey is not going to be available, so they’re again playing “patch-up” on the offensive line. Justin Jackson probably won’t play. They may have to go with Chase McLaughlin again with kicker Michael Badgley (who hit the game-winner last year to beat the Steelers) and his groin injury possibly keeping him out of things. But Rivers may have tight end Hunter Henry back from his leg injury.

The best shot for the Steelers is to be disruptive. And we’re certain they CAN be. They’ve gotten to opposing quarterbacks 19 times and they can create a lot of “hurries.” You can’t get all that excited for a Charger team that has looked very lackluster and doesn’t get support at home, and keep in mind that Mike Tomlin’s team is a dangerous dog (covering seven of last eight in that role). We’d probably look in Pittsburgh’s direction here, and then look “under” on the total.

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