Monday Night Football Preview & Player Props: Chargers at Saints

Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers (photo credit: USA TODAY Sports)

Week 5 of the NFL rolls on with Monday Night Football between the Los Angeles Chargers and New Orleans Saints on Monday, October 12. Despite not having Michael Thomas in the lineup once again, we can see from the Chargers vs. Saints betting odds that the Saints are heavy favorites. In this article, we’ll break down the Chargers vs. Saints matchup from an NFL betting perspective and provide a few free picks for the game.

Los Angeles Chargers at New Orleans Saints (-7)

Monday, October 12, 2020, at 8:15 p.m. ET
Mercedes Benz Superdome
New Orleans, LA

For the second time in four weeks, the Saints are taking on an AFC West team on Monday Night Football. The last time didn’t go so well for New Orleans, as they lost to the Las Vegas Raiders. This time, though, the Saints are at home and facing a rookie QB in Justin Herbert, who has looked OK but is 0-3 so far in the NFL. Let’s break it down a bit more.

Will the Michael Thomas News Be a Distraction?

When it was announced yesterday that Thomas would miss this game, no one was really surprised. The Saints have a bye next week, so it made sense that the Saints would want to rest the sprained ankle of their All-Pro wide receiver for two more full weeks. However, it was then announced that Thomas was missing the game for disciplinary reasons after getting into a fight with a teammate in practice. It’s no secret that Thomas has not been happy about how his ankle injury has been handled, but to take it out on a teammate is something completely different, if that’s what happened.

Now, this could go one of two ways. It could divide the team or make it stronger. The Saints are a locker room full of seasoned veterans, who, for the most part, have all been playing together for the last three or four years, so it shouldn’t be much of a distraction. But, if the Saints go out and lay another Monday Night Football egg, it could be the start of the downfall for this perennial playoff team.

Chargers Struggles Continue

Los Angeles started the season out with a victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, then surprisingly pushed the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs to the brink in Week 2. Since then, the Chargers have suffered two opposite, but equally troubling losses. First, they struggled mightily against a poor Carolina Panthers defense, losing 21-16. Then last week, they shot out to a 24-7 lead, but the Chargers defense, which has usually been their strength in recent years, collapsed, allowing 24 second-half points to a 43-year-old Tom Brady.

Joey Bosa has been a man by himself in the pass rush. He has as many sacks this year (3) as the rest of his team combined. Only two teams, the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans, have forced fewer turnovers than the Chargers. The defense simply hasn’t been making many plays, which needs to happen if you want to get wins with a rookie quarterback leading the offense.

Drew Brees has also been struggling this year, so it will be interesting to see which side can get right tonight.

To make free player prop picks, check out the SharpSide sports betting app, available now for iOS and Android.

Point Spread Pick: Chargers (+7)

This point spread opened at Chargers (+8.5) but that has slowly been going down all week. It is finally resting on the key number of 7. Quite frankly, this isn’t the same Saints team of the past couple of years that warrants an automatic touchdown against average teams, at least against the spread. Brees can’t get the ball down the field, Thomas is still out, and while the defense is expecting to get Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Davenport back, still has looked like a shell of the stout unit they have been in recent seasons. The Saints should get the win here, but a touchdown seems like just a bit too much.

Justin Herbert Player Prop: Over 0.5 INTs

Despite picking the Chargers to cover, we still expect the young QB to make a mistake or two, especially against a defense that is known for its aggressive pass rush and play-making secondary. Herbert has thrown an interception in every game so far this season, and while we don’t expect a meltdown on Monday night, he seems prime to throw a few interception-worthy passes. There is a decent amount of juice on this (-184), but it seems worth it.

Tre’quan Smith Player Prop: Under 4.5 catches

While the former second-round pick has shown flashes of brilliance, Tre’Quan Smith has simply lacked the consistency the Saints were likely expecting from a fairly high draft pick. Smith is a big-play threat, but the problem is that Brees doesn’t have the arm strength to push the ball down the field. As a result, Smith has hit the under on this total in three of four games so far. Jared Cook’s return will also take a few targets away, so go with the under here.

To make free player prop picks, check out the SharpSide sports betting app, available now for iOS and Android.

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