An argument could be made that the two most talented rosters in the NFL belong to the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Chargers. They meet on Sunday afternoon in Week 2 of the preseason, with a 4 p.m. ET start from Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. The Saints were the NFC's top seed last year with a 13-3 record and could have played in the Super Bowl if not for a missed pass interference call that led to an NFC championship game loss to the Rams. As a result of the play, the NFL changed a rule involving challenges on pass interference this season. The Chargers tied for the AFC's best record last year at 12-4, but lost an AFC West Division tiebreaker with Kansas City and thus were relegated to Wild-Card status. There's no question that the Saints and Chargers are talented enough to reach the 2020 Super Bowl in February. New Orleans is a 1.5-point favorite on Sunday and the over-under for total points scored is 42.5 in the latest Saints vs. Chargers odds. Before you make any Saints vs. Chargers picks or any NFL predictions of your own, you need to hear what Vegas legend Micah Roberts has to say.
Roberts has worked in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry for more than 20 years, including a 13-year run as Station Casinos' book director. Armed with an unmatched network of sources, the former bookmaker became a SportsLine expert in 2016. During last year's NFL regular season, Roberts went an impressive 47-36 against the spread.
Roberts also knows when to back or fade the Chargers better than anyone, as he is 18-9 in his last 27 picks involving L.A., a stunning 67 percent cash rate.
Now, Roberts has analyzed both rosters and made his picks for Saints vs. Chargers. We can tell you he's leaning over, but his most confident pick is against the spread. He's only sharing that one at SportsLine.
Roberts knows the Chargers remain without one of the best all-around tailbacks in the NFL in Pro Bowler Melvin Gordon as he continues his contract holdout, but they went 4-0 during the regular season last year without him and have two talented backups in Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Last week in a 17-13 loss at Arizona, the Chargers rushed for 179 yards, with Ekeler putting up 40 yards on five carries and Jackson rushing for 22 yards and a score on five totes. Ekeler is also a strong receiver out of the backfield.
It's likely that starting quarterback Philip Rivers will play at least a series on Sunday after sitting out Week 1 of the preseason, at least if 2018 is any indication under head coach Anthony Lynn. Los Angeles also has a quality veteran backup in Tyrod Taylor, who was sharp in the loss to the Cardinals. Including Week 1 of this year's exhibition schedule, the Saints have failed to cover five straight games.
But just because Los Angeles has home-field advantage and a potent offense doesn't mean it will cover the Saints vs. Chargers spread.
One could easily argue the Chargers have the smallest home-field edge in the NFL playing in a 30,000-seat soccer stadium outside Los Angeles. Many times last season, there would be more opposing fans in the stadium than those rooting for the Bolts.
The Saints aren't likely to play all-time NFL passing leader Drew Brees much, if at all in this game, but they have arguably the best backup quarterback in the NFL in Teddy Bridgewater. In last week's 34-25 home loss to the Minnesota Vikings, Bridgewater was a sharp 14-for-19 for 134 yards and a touchdown. Do-everything weapon Taysom Hill also will see time under center. He was 8-for-14 for 80 yards and a score against the Vikings while leading New Orleans with 45 yards rushing.
Roberts, who knows each team's depth chart better than almost anyone, has isolated a critical X-factor that made him jump on one side of the Saints vs. Chargers spread. You can only see what it is, and which team to back, at SportsLine.
Who wins Chargers vs. Saints? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Chargers vs. Saints spread you should jump on Sunday, all from the former Vegas bookmaker who's nailed 67 percent of his picks involving the Chargers.