Oddsmakers expecting bounce-back season from Chargers in opening win total odds

Jim Harbaugh is back in the NFL. Can he lead the Chargers back to relevancy? Oddsmakers believe so. 

Apr 2, 2024; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at press conference.
Apr 2, 2024; Costa Mesa, CA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers coach Jim Harbaugh speaks at press conference. / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It’s no secret that the Los Angeles Chargers have been one of the most disappointing franchises in the NFL over the last half-decade in relation to its preseason expectations. 

The Chargers have had one of the league’s best quarterbacks over the last four seasons and has just one catastrophic playoff loss to show for it. Would you believe the Chargers haven’t hit the over on their preseason win total since 2018, when Phillip Rivers led the team to a playoff victory. 

Over the last five seasons, the Chargers have gone under their preseason win total each year, by an average of 2.5 games. The franchise’s shortcomings hit a new low last season, when the Chargers were projected to win 9.5 games and finished 5-12. It cost head coach Brandon Staley his job. 

Now, hope springs eternal for Los Angeles given the track record of new head coach Jim Harbaugh, who returned to the NFL just a few months after leading Michigan to a national title.

Oddsmakers are predicting a quick turnaround for the Chargers under Harbaugh. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? 

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Oddsmakers expecting bounce-back season for Chargers

The Chargers have a preseason win total of 8.5 games, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, which would be a 3.5-game jump from last season’s 5-12 campaign. 

The Chargers lost aging wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams in free agency last month, but still have the key to a high win total at quarterback in Justin Herbert, who signed a five-year, $262.5 million contract extension before last season.

The other ingredient to preseason hype is Harbaugh, who brings a winning resume as a head coach in the NFL. Before leaving for the Michigan job, Harbaugh led the San Francisco 49ers to a 44-19-1 record in four seasons.

Harbaugh led San Francisco to the NFC Championship game three times and went to one Super Bowl. He won over 8.5 games in each of his first three seasons before an 8-8 run in 2014. 

According to FanDuel, Harbaugh is the co-favorite to be named the NFL's Coach of the Year with Atlanta Falcons first-year coach Raheem Morris at +1000.

Can Chargers jump the Chiefs in the AFC West? 

Not long ago, the AFC West was projected to be one of the best divisions in football. The defending Super Bowl-champion Chiefs are obviously still there, but there are two teams going through a rebuild with low expectations heading into 2024. 

Adding to the Chargers’ preseason hype could be four games against the Denver Broncos (5.5 win total) and Las Vegas Raiders (6.5 win total). 

The Chargers are still a distant underdog to pass the Chiefs for the division title. Kansas City, which has won the AFC West in eight consecutive seasons, is -220 to make it nine in a row, per FanDuel. Los Angeles is the runner-up to win the AFC West for the first time since 2009 at +350, which is an implied probability of 22.22%. 

Game odds update periodically and are subject to change.