Saints vs. Chargers Betting Guide: Back L.A. as Small Home Favorite?

Saints vs. Chargers Betting Guide: Back L.A. as Small Home Favorite? article feature image

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Austin Ekeler

New Orleans Saints at Los Angeles Chargers Betting Odds

  • Spread: Chargers -2.5
  • Over/Under: 43.5
  • Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
  • TV: CBS

The Chargers host the Saints in one of two NFL Preseason Week 2 matchups on Sunday. Let’s take a look at key storylines for both teams, complete with betting analysis.

New Orleans Saints

All the hype out of Saints’ training camp has been about the ability of 32-year-old Jared Cook.

It’d make sense if Cook emerges as Drew Brees’ No. 3 target behind Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, but we should potentially pump the brakes a bit on the ceiling of any Saints tight end not named Jimmy Graham.

Last 10 years of tight ends with Drew Brees …

2009: Jeremy Shockey PPR TE17
2010: Shockey TE25
2011: Jimmy Graham TE2
2012: Graham TE1
2013: Graham TE1
2014: Graham TE2
2015: Ben Watson TE7
2016: Coby Fleener TE15
2017: Fleener TE34
2018: Watson TE21
2019: Jared Cook TE?

— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) April 7, 2019

Also not helping matters is the Saints’ reluctance to ride Brees’ arm in recent years. Overall, 2018 (32.6 pass attempts per game) and 2017 (33.5) marked the first two seasons that Brees averaged fewer than 40 throws per game since 2009.

Cook, Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre’Quan Smith seem like more than capable No. 3 or No. 4 options in an otherwise explosive Saints offense, but don’t underrate the potential for this unit to function as a more above-average offense than an elite unit if they catch the injury bug to an even minor extent.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Melvin Gordon holdout has placed most of the Chargers’ training camp attention on backup running backs Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. This has overshadowed the return of Hunter Henry, who has functioned as anybody’s idea of an elite tight end talent whenever healthy enough to suit up.

Before a torn ACL ended his 2018 regular season, Henry found himself alongside Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and Rob Gronkowski as the only tight ends to average over two yards per route run since 2006.

Philip Rivers figures to feed Keenan Allen plenty of targets, while Mike Williams and whoever lines up at running back will also be involved. Still, Henry is certainly a good enough talent to warrant additional usage, particularly in the red zone where the Chargers will feel Antonio Gate’s absence the most.

I’m riding with the squad I believe is the most talented in the AFC from top to bottom.

LEAN: Chargers -2.5

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