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Chargers-Broncos odds movement suggests LA may be in position to rest starters

We might see Justin Herbert get a week off before the AFC playoffs get started.

Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers warms up prior to the game against the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on January 01, 2023 in Inglewood, California. Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Chargers face the Denver Broncos on Sunday to close out the regular season, and significant odds movement is offering some insight into the matchup. The Chargers opened on Sunday as a three-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook, but on Wednesday that line moved to Broncos -2.5.

Lines regularly move, but anything more than a point or two stands out. A move of 5.5 points usually suggests a quarterback absence. In this case, it would suggest Justin Herbert is not expected to play in the game.

The Chargers are currently the No. 5 seed in the AFC and are tied with the Baltimore Ravens. LA has the tiebreaker based on conference record, sitting at 7-4 against the AFC while Baltimore is 6-5. While the Chargers game is scheduled for 4:25 p.m. ET, the Ravens are scheduled to face the Bengals on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

The Chargers will know if the Ravens have won by the time they play. The Ravens are currently 1.5 games back of the Bengals in the AFC North title. If the Bengals-Bills game is not restarted, the Bengals would clinch the division title. If the game restarted, the Ravens could still have a shot at the title if Cincinnati lost to Buffalo once the game restarted.

Ravens starting QB Lamar Jackson once again was sidelined at practice on Wednesday, which is not a good sign for his availability this weekend. While the Bengals still have a shot at the No. 2 seed and thus something to play for this weekend, a Ravens squad led by Tyler Huntley is at a distinct disadvantage.

All of this is to say, oddsmakers likely think the Chargers will be in a position to rest Justin Herbert and other key veterans when their game kicks off on Sunday afternoon.