The Los Angeles Chargers host the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday in Week 2 of the NFL preseason, with kickoff at 10 p.m. ET at SoFi Stadium.
In Week 1 NFL preseason action, the Chargers fell to the defending Super Bowl-champion Los Angeles Rams 29-22 in the crosstown ‘SoFi Bowl.’
The Cowboys, meanwhile, wilted in a 17-7 loss at the Denver Broncos.
As is typically the case in an NFL team’s second preseason game, many starters likely will play at least two drives in order to tune up for the regular season. However, given recent NFL preseason trends, expect the Bolts to buck this trend.
For more on this and other NFL preseason tips, read on for Dallas vs LA betting picks during this crucial matchup — well, as “crucial" as preseason games can be — Week 2 NFL exhibition slate.
Tim Heaney’s 2022 NFL Preseason betting record: 1-0, +0.91 units
Cowboys vs Chargers Odds
Not that the Chargers are known to have a home-field advantage in regular-season games, but the books are handing them one for this NFL preseason affair in these NFL odds.
I’ll detail later in this Cowboys-Chargers betting pick report why the Chargers’ deep offense is likely swaying these lines in their favor.
Cowboys vs Chargers Implied Score
Chargers 20.25, Cowboys 17.25
The Cowboys vs Chargers Over/Under was set at 37.5 as of Wednesday, Aug. 17, at noon ET.
This Cowboys total lends more confidence in the offense; not sure I buy that with their preseason QB situation.
Cowboys vs Chargers Pick of the Day
Read more on this Cowboys vs Chargers bet near the end of these wagering tips.
Cowboys vs Chargers Matchup
While most NFL teams toss their starters into a more extended stretch of action during their second preseason game, don’t expect the Chargers to follow suit. Head coach Brandon Staley refuses to play his biggest stars in these settings.
Breathers will likely be due for key names like QB Justin Herbert, RB Austin Ekeler, WR Keenan Allen, DE Joey Bosa, and S Derwin James, who just signed a contract extension.
With Herbert kicking his feet up, the Chargers will likely be directed by longtime NFL understudy Chase Daniel, who, for all the jokes about his clipboard-holding cash, remains more experienced than any backup slinger from the opposing sideline.
The Mizzou alum also carries a solid 66% completion rate in the preseason as a Charger, including an 11-for-17 outing in preseason Week 1.
Contrasting from the relative uncertainty among Dallas reserves, the Chargers’ second-string skill players run deep.
Promising rookie RB Isaiah Spiller could wind up eating into Joshua Kelley‘s time as Ekeler’s main backup/complement. TE Donald Parham and WRs Josh Palmer and Jalen Guyton are seasoned players who’ve shown many useful NFL stretches in the past few years.
Dallas, on the other hand, still must determine the winner in major positional battles, including No. 2 wide receiver and linebacker alongside Micah Parsons.
Dak Prescott‘s warmup reps would most pertinently involve figuring out which secondary receivers (rookie Jalen Tolbert and veteran Noah Brown, mainly) will earn reps filling in for injured No. 2 WR Michael Gallup (knee).
Alpha WR CeeDee Lamb and TE Dalton Schultz might suit up for a drive, but don’t expect Dak’s top targets to get much exposure. RB Ezekiel Elliott‘s “backup" Tony Pollard might not even play much, considering his huge role in the offense.
Of course, can we trust any offense led by the likes of Will Grier, Cooper Rush, or Ben DiNucci?
Plus, Dallas was penalized a whopping 14 times against the Broncos last weekend, perpetuating one of Mike McCarthy‘s biggest problems as Cowboys HC.
Cowboys vs Chargers Prediction
Chargers 24, Cowboys 14
The Cowboys’ defensive backups likely won’t be able to contain the Bolts’ offensive reserves, and Dallas’ QB backup battle probably will have another erratic chapter.
Cowboys vs Chargers Bet Tips
Overs went 13-3 in NFL preseason Week 1, and while my prediction merely ekes out the Over, the Chargers are in the right setting to hold their own.
For the minutiae it’s worth, McCarthy is 0-5 in the preseason since taking over as Cowboys head coach before the 2020 season. (Note: The 2020 NFL preseason schedule was canceled due to COVID-19).
Cowboys vs Chargers Best Bets
Chargers -3 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1.1 Units
My NFL bet of the day for Chargers vs Cowboys backs the Chargers’ deeper group of skills players who should help Daniel move the ball downfield smoothly and expose Dallas’ weaker defensive backups.
Over 37.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
I luckily nailed one of those three Unders last week in my Cowboys vs Broncos prediction, but this tips a hat to the Over trend — barely. (Admittedly, betting to topple an NFL preseason total of 37.5 is a tad lofty.)
Maybe one of Grier, Rush, or DiNucci will look smoother and direct more competent drives in that second half.
Regardless of which Cowboys signal caller takes the reins, I’m more confident in the Chargers’ backups holding up their end of the scoring bargain.