Chargers-Saints Sunday Night Odds, Expert Picks, Score Prediction
Well, the New Orleans Saints gave it their all vs. the Packers in Green Bay last week, but in the end, they fell to 0-4 with the 28-27 defeat. The San Diego Chargers, meanwhile, bounced back from a dismal home loss to Atlanta by trouncing Kansas City 37-20 on the road to improve to 3-1.
Despite all of that, it is the Saints that are -3½ favorites in this Sunday Night Football contest with the total set at 54.
1. Why San Diego will cover the spread: The Chargers will cover this spread if they can run the ball effectively. It took San Diego 34 rushing attempts as a team to gain 104 yards vs. the Chiefs, but Ryan Mathews did look much better in his second game back since returning from a broken collarbone as he rushed for 61 yards on 14 carries. We feel he could show further improvement here vs. the worst rushing defense in the NFL, as the Saints are allowing a hideous 186.7 rushing yards per game on 4.8 yards per carry. A second key for a San Diego cover in not turning the ball over. Philip Rivers threw another interception in an otherwise fine performance in Kansas City where he completed 18-of-23 passes for 209 yards. He should have a fairly easy time of it here as New Orleans ranks 24th in passing defense and is allowing a poor 8.5 yards per attempt.
2. Why New Orleans will cover the spread: The entire key to the Saints covering this spread falls on Drew Brees. The Saints have not run the ball well at all this year and they do not figure to improve vs. San Diego’s sixth-ranked run defense either, while the Saints’ defense has not been able to stop a thing. Thus, not to state the obvious but New Orleans needs to outscore San Diego here, and to accomplish that, Brees needs to attack the Chargers’ secondary. He almost single-handedly beat the Packers last week by passing for 446 yards and San Diego ranks in the middle of the pack in pass defense (17th), so Brees’s task is not impossible.
3. Total Talk: We really see no reason to stop playing the ‘over’ in Saints games in the foreseeable future, unless the oddsmakers really start to jack up their totals. As you can see by our projected score below, we predict this game to exceed the current total by eight points, so we still do not feel the books have adjusted quite enough yet for just how atrocious the New Orleans defense is this season, not to mention the fact that we are talking about a one-dimensional passing offense with a great quarterback playing in a dome. We do like the underdog Chargers to win outright though, as we simply refuse to back a winless team with no defense as a favorite under any circumstances.
4. Betting Trends for the game: There is a clash here as winless teams that are 0-4 or worse are 11-6 ATS since 2002. However, the Chargers are on a 6-0 ATS run vs. teams with losing records, and Philip Rivers is 16-9 ATS as an underdog.
San Diego 34 – New Orleans 28