New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Chargers Pick ATS
New Orleans Saints (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS), 8/18/19
Time: 4 pm ET Sunday, Aug. 18
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, CA
Point spread: Chargers -2.5
Moneyline: Los Angeles -145/Saints +125
NFL playoff contenders clash when the Saints meet the Chargers for a Week 2 exhibition season bout out in SoCal Sunday afternoon. Both teams lost their pre-season openers last week, but both sides are also probably just biding their time, trying to get through this exhibition season without losing any starters to injury. How are we playing this game for our free NFL pick?
NFL Betting Odds
Week 2’s NFL exhibition betting odds opened Los Angeles at -3 over New Orleans, with an over/under of 44.5. Early betting action then dipped the Chargers to -2.5 and the total to 43.5.
Saints vs. Chargers Set-Up
New Orleans opened its 2019 exhibition season with a 34-25 loss at home to Minnesota last Friday. The Saints trailed the Vikings early 7-0 and 27-15 through three quarters, pulled to within 27-25 midway through the fourth but could get no closer, falling outright as three-point favorites.
On the night New Orleans got out-gained by the Vikings 460-337 and gave up a touchdown on a pick-six off a bobbled pass in the third quarter.
With starting quarterback Drew Brees watching from the sidelines back-ups Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill combined to hit on 22/33 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns, with that one unfortunate pick.
Brees might get in for a couple of series Sunday, but we expect Bridgewater and Hill to again man that position for most of the game.
Los Angeles, meanwhile, opened its exhibition season with a 17-13 loss at Arizona last Thursday. The Chargers scored to take a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter, then let the Cardinals score the next 17 points of the game, pulled to within 17-13 midway through the fourth but could get no closer and missed the cover as three-point underdogs.
On the night Los Angeles actually out-gained Arizona 357-289, out-rushed the Cardinals 179-83 and held a 31/29 edge in time of possession. But two turnovers cost the Chargers 10 points.
With starting QB Philip Rivers watching from the sidelines back-ups Tyrod Taylor, Cardale Jones, and Easton Stick combined to go 17/23 passing for 197 yards, with one interception.
As with Brees, we expect Rivers to play a series or two Sunday, then give way to the back-ups.
These teams met last pre-season, a 36-7 Saints victory. Brees and Rivers both got their teams on the board with early touchdowns, then sat and watched as New Orleans pulled away from there.
NFL Betting Trends
New Orleans is 26-29 SU, 30-25 ATS in 13-plus exhibition seasons under Coach Payton.
Los Angeles is 3-6 both SU and ATS in two exhibition seasons under Coach Lynn, which gives us the feeling he plays these games like a playoff contender should, with the long run in mind.
- The Saints loss to Minnesota last week played over a total of 37.5.
- The Chargers loss to Arizona last week played under a total of 37.5.
- Through Thursday’s action overs are 11-10-1 so far during this 2019 NFL exhibition season.
Free NFL Pick
From our view, it seems Coach Payton takes these exhibition games a bit more seriously than Coach Lynn, as far as actually winning goes. Also, we give New Orleans the edge in the back-up quarterbacks comparison. Also, after running the ball 28 times last week, Los Angeles will probably continue to give its running backs chances to prove themselves, with starter Melvin Gordon still holding out. We like the Saints here, and we’ll play them on the money line for the outright win.