NFL Picks for Monday Night Football: Saints to Cover vs. Chargers, Total To Go Under, More
Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images. Pictured: Alvin Kamara
- A spread pick. An over/under angle. Two prop bets. Our staff details how they're betting Monday Night Football.
- Find out why they like the Saints to cover as 7-point favorites against the Chargers, the total to go under and more.
The New Orleans Saints host the Los Angeles Chargers as 7-point favorites on Monday Night Football. But with the Chargers playing Tampa Bay close before losing by a touchdown on the road just a week ago, are they being undervalued?
Our staff doesn’t think so. Find how they’re betting this spread below, as well as a total angle and a couple props to bet.
Chargers vs. Saints Picks
Chris Raybon: Saints -7
I break down the matchup in further detail here, but the summary of that analysis is that the Chargers have kept it close in all of their games so far this season, and I’m not sure how sustainable that is. Their rushing attack took a big hit with Austin Ekeler’s injury, while their explosive plays are likely to dry up. And defensively, they’re trending in the wrong direction and are 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.
Brandon Anderson: Saints -7
The Chargers are pretty good and maybe even a little underrated.
Justin Herbert has been way better than expected, enough to actually win the job this time. He’s making simple reads and getting the ball to his playmakers to let them do the rest. Unfortunately, he’s missing his best playmaker now with Ekeler out.
That’s just one of many injuries that have talked me out of riding with the Chargers. Their offensive line is decimated against one of the better pass rushes in the league. Their vaunted pass rush is muted with Melvin Ingram out and Joey Bosa questionable. And their two best players in the secondary, Derwin James and Chris Harris, are also out.
The Herbert formula works by having him keep things easy and letting the playmakers and defense do the rest — but only if the playmakers and defense are up to the task.
The Saints certainly haven’t lived up to the hype, and now there’s some possible locker room dissent with Michael Thomas suspended. But this is still Drew Brees at home on a Monday night, and even without the usual Superdome crowd, Brees is like a Super Mario invincible star in this spot historically: On Monday nights for his career, he averages more than eight yards per attempt, completing better than 70% of his passes for over two touchdowns per game.
And now he faces a defense with a muted pass rush and a banged-up secondary.
Early in the week, this line was stuck around -8.5 and I was ready to try to talk myself into a backdoor cover from a pesky Chargers team. Then the injury news worsened for L.A.
Grab the Saints at -6.5 if you can, or play them at -7 or in a tease if you must.
PJ Walsh: Under 49.5
This matchup offers a prime example of one with significant sharp vs. square disagreement.
When it comes to the total, 63% of bets have been placed on the over while 85% of the money wagered has come in on the under. (Go to our real-time public betting data.)
Unsurprisingly, the total has moved with the money and now sits at 49.5 — its lowest point since odds opened.
Our NFL PRO Report also reveals that sharps are among those dropping big bucks on the under:
Recreational bettors still think of the Saints as a team with a high-octane offense, even without Thomas, while also being bullish on Herbert and the new-look Chargers’ ability to put up points. But as the data reveals, sharps are taking advantage of this public perception by buying back the inflated over/under.
Be sure to also check out our full PRO Report to learn how the pros are playing the Monday Night Football spread as well.
Mike Randle: Keenan Allen Under 82.5 Receiving Yards
Herbert travels back East for a second consecutive road trip, and New Orleans will provide his stiffest test yet in a primetime matchup.
Herbert’s go-to receiver has been All-Pro wideout Keenan Allen, who has accumulated 30 targets over the past three weeks. But we can expect Saints star cornerback Marshon Lattimore to shadow Allen on most routes, making this receiving yardage prop difficult to reach.
New Orleans will also have an advantage in the trenches.
Per Brandon Thorn at EstablishTheRun, the Saints defensive line vs. the Chargers offensive line is the third-biggest mismatch on the Week 5 slate. Turner and Bulaga are both missing this game with injuries, and New Orleans defensive end Marcus Davenport is likely to return to provide even more pressure.
Allen was well-below this number last week at Tampa Bay, despite being targeted 11 times. This prop is a 9-rated prop in our FantasyLabs Prop Tool, and props with a rating of 9 or higher have hit at a 57.8% (307-215-9) rate so far this season.
I’m backing the under on this receiving yardage total with a wideout who rarely has explosive downfield plays. I would back this line down to 76.5 yards.
Michael Arinze: Justin Herbert Over 260.5 Passing Yards
It’s safe to say that Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn had no idea what he had in-house with Herbert. Why else would Lynn say that Tyrod Taylor would regain the starting quarterback job when healthy, only to quickly backtrack and state that Herbert would be his quarterback the rest of the season?
Hopefully now Lynn can just stay out of Herbert’s way and the young rookie can continue his development without interruption.
Despite their 1-3 record, the Chargers have been competitive in every game they’ve played. They haven’t lost by more than seven points and have a point differential of -12 through their four games. Their past three opponents all have a winning record and are a combined 10-5 on the season, and two of them — the Chiefs and Buccaneers — are ranked inside the top-five of defensive DVOA and pass defense per Football Outsiders.
The Chargers placed Ekeler on injured reserve after he sustained a hamstring injury last week. Los Angeles had only 23 rushing attempts in the game, and five of them were by Herbert. The Chargers could manage only 46 yards on the ground in the game and some of that is related to Ekeler’s early exit.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the Chargers throw the ball more against the Saints, especially with Ekeler out for the foreseeable future. You have to pick your poison in the NFL and this New Orleans defense is not exactly a team you want to run the ball against: Football Outsiders ranks the Saints fourth in rushing defense and opponents are averaging fewer than 100 yards per game against them.
If the Chargers want to have a chance to beat the Saints, they’ll need to put up points to do so. New Orleans is 4-0 to the over with an average total of 51.75. If the Chargers are wise, they’ll adopt a vertical passing attack as they have a strong-armed quarterback in Herbert who can make all the throws. In three games this season, Herbert has already thrown for 311, 330, and 290 yards.
DraftKings is offering his passing total at 260.5 and that number seems short to me. I’ll gladly back Herbert to go over the number in his Monday night debut, and would bet it up to 265.