The New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers will each seek to avoid a winless preseason when they square off in their exhibition finale at the Caesars Superdome Friday.
The Chargers are 0-2 after falling 32-18 to the Dallas Cowboys in a game where Dallas return specialist KaVontae Turpin took over with a pair of return touchdowns. Los Angeles did not play any of its impact players on either side of the ball and mostly let its starters go all out in joint practices against the Cowboys in Costa Mesa, Calif.
New Orleans is 0-2 but also has not dressed its starting offensive regulars, mostly due to the fact quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Michael Thomas are trying to rebound from injuries. Winston’s torn ACL in Week 8 doomed the Saints’ season.
After a promising 5-2 start, New Orleans lost six of its final 10 games, and its offense averaged just 18 points per game. Thomas missed the whole season with an ankle injury and is not likely to play due to a hamstring issue that’s flared up.
Here’s a look at what to expect in New Orleans vs Los Angeles.
Chargers vs Saints Odds
With two struggling teams and neither likely to deviate from its plan of resting starters, the Saints are a fitting three-point favorite given the fact the game will be played in New Orleans.
Keep track of the latest preseason Week 3 line movements with our NFL odds.
Chargers vs Saints Implied Score
Saints 19.75, Chargers 16.75
The Saints are averaging 11.5 points per game in the preseason, though that could get a bump playing at home and where or not some of their starters are able to suit up. The Chargers are scoring 20 points per game in the preseason, but likely will not suit up their best players in the road finale.
Chargers vs Saints Pick of the Day
Read more on this Los Angeles vs New Orleans bet below.
Chargers vs Saints Matchup
Winston returned to practice Monday after missing two weeks with a foot injury that kept him out and is on pace to get some game reps against the Chargers. Fortunately, New Orleans has Andy Dalton as a serviceable backup for Winston this season after trusting Taysom Hill and Ian Book a year ago.
Receiver Marquez Callaway had a breakout season in 2021, finishing his sophomore season with 698 yards and six touchdowns, and he should be expected to see more action Friday along with Dalton and Book seeing the bulk of the quarterback reps.
Justin Herbert has not played a single snap in a preseason game, unsurprisingly, nor have Mike Williams, Keenan Allen, or Austin Ekeler. Edge rush extraordinaires Khalil Mack and Joey Bosa have also been among the notables who haven’t suited up, as well as elite safety Derwin James, who signed the richest safety contract in NFL history just last week.
The Chargers, a chic pick to challenge the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West, aren’t likely to change course and dress them Friday.
Chargers vs Saints Prediction
Saints 20, Chargers 13
Both sides are undoubtedly rooting for an unspectacular preseason game where both sides dodge the injury bug and then transition their focus to finalizing their rosters and prepping for their Week 1 opponents.
But the Saints should get the edge due to Winston’s likelihood of playing since he has missed valuable preseason reps that come on the heels of his catastrophic injury a year ago.
It’s not that Saints coach Dennis Allen is going to load up his roster with the likes of Callaway, Alvin Kamara, and the rest of the New Orleans starters. But given the fact Los Angeles coach Brandon Staley has not dressed any of his regulars in the preseason over his two years guiding the Chargers and understandably seems disinterested in giving his marquee players game-action reps.
That should give New Orleans a slight advantage Friday.
Chargers vs Saints Bet Tips
The Chargers have lost four straight preseason games and are 1-4 in two exhibition slates under Staley. This will be just the second Saints preseason game at the Superdome since Aug. 30, 2019. The 2020 preseason slate was canceled, and New Orleans’ second home preseason game was canceled a year ago due to Hurricane Ida. The Saints won their lone home exhibition game a year ago, 23-21, against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Chargers vs Saints Best Bets
Saints -3 (-110) Caesars Sportsbook
As stated above, Staley seems to have no interest in winning exhibition games since the preseason is all about evaluation and getting work accomplished.
Los Angeles will undoubtedly fall backward into a preseason victory at some point in the future, but given the fact New Orleans is showing a penchant for playing some regulars, that should be enough of an edge for the Saints to both win and cover a field goal as our NFL pick of the day.