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Cowboys vs. Chargers NFL Preseason Odds, Picks, Predictions (August 20)

Cowboys vs. Chargers NFL Preseason Odds, Picks, Predictions (August 20) article feature image

Cooper Neill/Getty Images. Pictured: Tony Pollard.

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There is preseason football on all day — from coast to coast — on Saturday.

Games kick off as early as 1 p.m. ET today, although bettors will have to wait a bit for the first game our experts are on tonight kicks off.

First, we turn our attention to Jacksonville, where the Steelers will visit with hopes of seeing more reasons for optimism from rookie Kenny Pickett. Then it's out to Los Angeles for a late-night cap, with the Cowboys taking on the Chargers at SoFi Stadium.

Check out how Simon Hunter and Brandon Anderson are betting those games below.

NFL Odds & Picks

Click on a pick to skip ahead
Steelers 1H ML
7 p.m. ET
Cowboys ML +175
10 p.m. ET
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Steelers 1H ML
Best Book
7 p.m. ET
Steelers Odds+1.5
Jaguars Odds-1.5
Moneyline+110 / -130

Simon Hunter: I love what I’ve seen from Kenny Pickett, who is supposed to play the majority of the first half tonight. Some of Pittsburgh’s defensive starters will be playing in the first two quarters, as well.

Really, I like the combination of Pickett and Mason Rudolph against the Jaguars’ second and third stringers. I have this game at a pick’em, but my focus is on backing Pittsburgh in the first half.

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Cowboys ML (+195)
Best Book
10 p.m. ET
Cowboys Odds+5.5
Chargers Odds-5.5
Moneyline+195 / -230

Brandon Anderson: How much is home-field advantage worth in the NFL in 2022?

Many experts would say home field is fading in the modern era. The old three-point value is almost certainly withering away, and some metrics suggest there's little advantage at all. But the data tells us the books haven't caught up with that trend, at least not in the preseason.

Per BetLabs, visiting preseason underdogs of three points or less are 260-281 straight up since 2004. That may not seem all that special, but that means betting the moneyline blindly on any visiting dog of three or less would have netted a 10.2% ROI with a $5536 profit for $100 bettors. Not bad!

And lest you think the trend is going away, it's actually getting stronger. Since the start of 2018, short preseason dogs on the road are 52-30 straight up, hitting a ridiculous 42.5% ROI!

The data says that when a home team is favored by just a little in the preseason, they probably shouldn't be favored at all. After all, it's not like the home fans really make any difference in a meaningless preseason game.

This then is simply a numbers play. Are the Cowboys better than the Chargers? Who knows, especially in a preseason game … but with a line this tight, history says the math is on our side with the Cowboys an implied 41.7% to win here and the numbers far more in our favor. Trust the math and give the underdog a shot.

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