The New Orleans Saints will travel to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA, to take on the Los Angeles Chargers in the lone Sunday game of NFL Preseason Week 2.
The Saints squeaked out a 26-24 win against the Chiefs in Week 1, taking an early lead despite most Kansas City starters playing in the first quarter. Derek Carr and Jameis Winston looked impressive, throwing a touchdown each in the first half before third-string quarterback Jake Haener capped off the comeback with a touchdown pass of his own in the fourth quarter.
The Chargers also collected a Week 1 win at home against their LA rivals, doubling up the Rams by a score of 34-17. Easton Stick threw a touchdown to preseason standout Quentin Johnson in the first half before undrafted rookie running back Elijah Dotson ran in two scores to extend the lead late.
The Saints successfully used plenty of starters in the first half, while the Chargers sat almost all of their regular starters. We’ll see how the two teams approach this stand-alone, primetime matchup on NFL Network with the start of the regular season inching closer by the day.
Saints vs Chargers Odds
NFL odds used for this New Orleans vs Los Angeles preview were found at DraftKings Sportsbook and are current as of August 17 at 4:30 pm ET.
- Moneyline: Saints (-170) • Chargers (+145)
- Spread: Saints -3 (-118) • Chargers +3 (-102)
- Total Points: Over 37.5 (-110) • Under 37.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: Saints 20.25, Chargers 17.25
Saints vs Chargers Predictions
Score Pick: Chargers 23, Saints 20
The first quarter (and perhaps the first half) should have most of the fireworks that NFL viewers are tuning in for on Sunday night, so at least one of my wagers below will be focused solely on the first 30 minutes of the game. When we look at the contest as a whole, there may be a couple of different ways to find unique betting value in this contest.
Because of a few different factors, including reps with a new offensive coordinator and this game’s nationally televised, primetime nature, I expect Justin Herbert to take limited snaps early, even though I can’t find any official word yet. While it would be helpful if Keenan Allen and Mike Williams took the field with him, I’m not 100 percent sure about either one due to their injury histories.
Carr will lead at least one drive for the Saints, and Winston will come in behind him for some first-half reps. It makes sense for Chris Olave and Michael Thomas to keep getting reps with their new QB, and Alvin Kamara has a three-game suspension once the regular season begins. That leads me to believe he’ll also play a drive or two.
I expect the Chargers to continue being cautious with their veteran defenders, who have all had their fair share of injuries the last few seasons. The Saints showed that they are fine with running their first unit out for a drive or two, so there’s a slight New Orleans advantage on the defensive side of the ball.
That being said, if Herbert does take the field and Austin Ekeler joins him for a handful of snaps, there should be plenty of points on both sides early at SoFi Stadium. Then, because rookie QBs will be flanked by deep running games in the second half, I expect the scoring to slow down and the clock to run down much quicker than in the first half.
Saints vs Chargers Best Bets & Props
Chargers +3.5 (-110)
Caesars Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit
While the Saints may have a marginal advantage in the first half based on their stronger depth at quarterback and likelihood of playing more defensive regulars, getting three points and the hook with a Chargers team who performed very well in the second half last week and may use some offensive starters this week is a no-brainer.
Points matter greatly in the preseason, as sloppy backup play can lead to missed extra points and field goals, holding penalties in own end zones, and strange coaching decisions. To get 3.5 points with a strong Chargers team at home is a gift, and we’ll gladly take it for -110 odds over at Caesars.
Over 37.5 (-110)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1.5 units
The NFL bet of the day comes in the form of a traditional over at a key number of 37.5 in SoFi Stadium. We saw the Chargers nearly eclipse this number on their own last week, albeit with the help of a special teams score, but I’m confident these two teams can surpass this mark with ease on the LA turf in the Sunday night primetime, stand-alone spot.
We can expect plenty of skill position starters to touch the ball in the first quarter here, including Herbert, Ekeler, Williams, Carr, Kamara, Olave, and Thomas. Even if they only get one drive, we have capable skill position backups on both sides to pick up the slack, so moving the chains won’t be an issue, even when starters call it a night.
We already saw both backup run games have great success in the second half of the Week 1 games, and we have two offensive coordinators that will want to keep trying things out, even when their first-stringers are hanging with them on the sidelines. It also helps that when home teams are underdogs this NFL preseason, the over is cashing around 60% of the time.
In the end, while I expect scoring to slow down a bit in the second half, and a First Half Over at 19.5 or better would be my favorite play when we get closer to kickoff, this number is too low when we consider everything and everyone involved. The NFL gave us two fun offenses to watch on Sunday night while we anxiously await the NFL Regular Season opener in a few weeks, so let’s thank them by betting the over.
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 1 unit
With so many question marks about playing time and game plan heading into these preseason games, I’m rarely going to lay a large moneyline with a favorite to win. However, I’m fine with playing a +145 underdog with a new offensive coordinator still working on things and an offense that showed second-half success last week.
I will admit that I see the Saints as the better team in the first half of this game, especially with how little I expect the Chargers’ regulars to see the field, if at all. However, even if the Chargers are down a handful of points at the half, I like their chances of battling back to make this a game.
Remember, even though they are not names we all know and love, the players in the second half are playing for their jobs. The Chargers have had the luxury of staying home in their own beds for the preseason so far, and they played well in the second half a week ago.
I like this plus-money play for a unit now, and I might like a Chargers ML live play even better come halftime on Sunday night.
Saints vs Chargers Same Game Parlay
Saints vs Chargers SGP (+278)
DraftKings Sportsbook • WAGER: 0.5 unit
- Leg 1: Chargers +3 (-102)
- Leg 2: Over 37.5 (-110)
This is far from my favorite same game parlay that I could potentially build for this game, but unfortunately, it’s the only one that DraftKings will allow at the time of writing this. I still think there’s value in getting points with the team I expect to win and getting an Over that I project to hit, but there will be more value before kickoff.
When the time comes, watch for an SGP that might include Chargers +3.5 (I like the hook in case of a late field goal winner), first half Over 19.5 or better, and maybe something like Saints 1H/Chargers 2H. It would be crazy odds if stacked, but certainly worth a quarter-unit to see if this game plays out exactly as I predict.
Look for Herbert, Ekeler, Allen, and Williams’s news for the Chargers, and look for some juicy props before kickoff. Most importantly, though, enjoy the lone game of the night, knowing that we are just 18 days away from the Thursday night regular season kickoff.