Ross Williams previews the big Monday Night Football game in the NFL with three best bets as the Saints host the Chargers.
Los Angeles Chargers @ New Orleans Saints
It’s a case of rookie versus legend on Monday night as 22-year-old Justin Herbert gets his first taste of primetime action in a battle with Drew Brees and the 2-2 Saints.
Herbert has been thrown into the fire in his rookie season. Due to Tyrod Taylor’s bizarre injury, minutes before play got underway in Week Two, the first-round draft pick has faced Patrick Mahomes, Teddy Bridgewater and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks – and things don’t get any less daunting in this one.
Another shootout beckons for the quarterback, as he is now tasked with keeping pace with Drew Brees and the Saints offence in a game that New Orleans will be desperate to win.
In fairness, Herbert has performed with distinction in his first three NFL starts. The youngster has thrown for five touchdowns and run for one more during a tricky portion of the season, whilst consistently throwing for around 300 yards in what many expected to be a run-first offence. This has led to him being named the Chargers’ starter going forward.
However, rookies make rookie mistakes, and a few loose throws have cost his team in key moments already this campaign. Herbert is yet to win a game as a starter, and it’s doubtful that the Superdome will be the place for him to break his duck.
The Saints have been up-and-down this year, but their win over the Lions last week was much more like it. New Orleans put up 35 points in the victory, and the game only proved to be further evidence that no defence in the league knows how to contain the dual threat of running back Alvin Kamara.
The Saints playmaker had yet another 100-yard all-purpose yardage game, and once again got himself into the end zone, scoring his seventh of the young season. With Michael Thomas now out for disciplinary reasons, Kamara will likely take much of the load again on Monday night. The idea of Kamara bagging over 119.5 rushing & receiving yards (5/6) is tempting, but I’d sooner take the value of Sky Bet’s Double Up Boost – Kamara 50+ rushing yards & 2+ touchdowns (4/1).
It’s hard to see beyond a Saints victory in this one, as the primetime experience of Brees and co. will surely pay dividends down the stretch. However, there is certainly a case to be made for the Chargers keeping things close.
Los Angeles haven’t lost a game by more than a single score so far this season, and the Saints’ defensive stats make for interesting reading.
The defensive unit is ranked sixth in the NFL in terms of yardage given up, so there are no obvious problems at first glance. However, upon further inspection they remarkably rank much lower in terms of points conceded. The Saints have shipped a massive 123 points already in 2020, which equates to over 30 points per game.
The Kamara-led Saints offence will undoubtedly put points on the board on Monday night, but the Chargers may not be far behind. If the first four weeks of the season tell us anything, it’s that this one is heading for a fourth-quarter shootout. New Orleans will likely win that eventual duel, but I like Herbert’s Chargers with a seven-point start, especially at even money.
Verdict: Los Angeles Chargers (+7.0) at EVS
Touchdowns: Kamara 50+ Rushing Yards & 2+ Touchdowns at 4/1
Odds correct as of 1931 BST on 19/10/20
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