Saints vs. Chargers Betting Guide: Odds, Picks & Predictions On Monday Night Football
Getty Images. Pictured: Justin Herbert, Drew Brees
Saints vs. Chargers Odds
Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and the Chargers gave Tom Brady’s Buccaneers a run for their money last week but fell just short. Now can the Chargers pull off the upset against Drew Brees and the Saints on Monday night?
The Monday Night Football Matchup
The Chargers are a competitive 1-3, but each of their three losses have been by one possession and were by a combined 15 points. Herbert took over prior to the Week 2 game against the Chiefs and has looked impressive, enough so to be named the Chargers’ starting quarterback for the rest of the season by head coach Anthony Lynn.
Averaging 8.7 yards per attempt and keeping the Chargers in games with his big arm, Herbert looks to have a bright future.
With that said, there are reasons to be concerned about the Chargers’ offense. Tackle Bryan Bulaga (back) will miss his second game, and guard Trai Turner (groin) will miss his fourth. The Chargers haven’t been able to provide Herbert with much of a run game, ranking 27th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA.
That inability to run the ball will only be exacerbated with the loss of Austin Ekeler, who is averaging 5.1 yards per carry this season but was placed on injured reserve this week due to a hamstring injury. Joshua Kelley and Justin Jackson have a combined 60 carries for 187 yards (3.1 yards per carry) and are likely to struggle against a Saints defense that entered Week 5 ranked No. 4 in DVOA against the run.
The lack of a consistent rushing attack will put the onus on Herbert to keep up with the Saints’ offense, which could also be more of a struggle than his efficiency numbers would indicate. Herbert has lived off big plays but has been inconsistent on a down-to-down basis, ranking 18th in passing success rate and 20th in early-down passing success rate, according to Sharp Football Stats.
In the lone game that the Chargers topped 20 points — last week against Tampa Bay — all four of L.A.’s touchdowns came via unsustainable means: Three were 53-yard passes or longer, and the fourth was a 19-yard pass to No. 4 tight end Donald Parham on his only target of the season.
The Saints have put up 30 points in three of their last four games, and if they can build a lead, we may see Herbert make more mistakes than big plays. He’s already thrown three interceptions and fumbled twice in three starts.
The Saints defense will get a boost with the expected return of top cornerback Marshon Lattimore (hamstring) and defensive end Marcus Davenport (toe), though No. 2 corner Janoris Jenkins (shoulder) remains out.
The Saints will be without star wide receiver Michael Thomas again in Week 5, but that hasn’t stopped New Orleans from scoring points. Their No. 8-ranked offense in DVOA has the edge over the Chargers’ 20th-rated defensive unit.
Los Angeles’ defense is getting substandard play from cornerback Casey Hayward, who has a reputation as one of the league’s top corners but could be slowing down at age 31. Hayward’s Pro Football Focus grade stands at just 51.7, which ranks him 85th of 117 qualified cornerbacks.
On top of that, stud defensive lineman Joey Bosa is dealing with two injuries (triceps, knee) that are clearly limiting where he can line-up and how effective he can be. Bosa is questionable for Monday’s game.
With Bosa healthy and Hayward playing well, this is one of the league’s top defenses. In its current form, it may be closer to the one that got gashed for 484 yards last week against the Buccaneers.
The Chargers have kept it close in all of their games, but I’m not sure how sustainable that is. Their rushing attack took a big hit with Ekeler’s injury, while their explosive plays are likely to dry up. And defensively, Los Angeles is trending in the wrong direction and entering a matchup with an elite offense led by one of the league’s top coaching staffs.
I make this number New Orleans -8.5, so I would recommend playing the Saints if you can get a -7 (-120) or better. If not, I would look to the Chargers team total under 21.5, as they’ve topped 20 points only once this season and needed three touchdowns of 50 or more yards.
PICKS: Saints -7; Chargers Under 21.5 Points