Cowboys (3-2) at Chargers (2-2)
Spread: Chargers +2
Weather: Hybrid stadium, no concerns
The spread for this matchup opened as Chargers +1.5; it moved to Chargers +2 midweek. The total opened at 48 points and has been gradually driven up to its current mark of 50.5 points.
Chargers Offense vs. Cowboys Defense
A big aspect of this matchup is the Los Angeles Chargers’ offensive line can mitigate the Dallas Cowboys’ premium pass rush. That should give Justin Herbert more opportunities against the Dallas secondary which had some coverage malfunctions in recent weeks. In general, the loss of Trevon Diggs has been noticeable so far.
Keenan Allen is top-10 in targets, receptions and receiving yards despite only playing in four games. If Allen keeps up this pace, he’s on track for the best season of his career by a considerable margin. In their first game without Mike Williams, Josh Palmer had eight targets to rookie Quentin Johnston’s three.
Los Angeles hasn’t relied on tight ends Gerald Everett or Donald Parham, but Williams’ absence could also lead to more opportunities for that duo. Dallas is strong against running backs and wide receivers, but it's more of a middle-of-the-pack group against tight ends.
Austin Ekeler is expected to return this week. Ekeler is a dynamic athlete who’s been the king of high-value touches in recent years, as he’s a major factor in the scoring zone and passing game.
Cowboys Offense vs. Chargers Defense
Dak Prescott is taking a lot of heat because he hasn’t played particularly well the past two seasons. He’ll get a big opportunity to correct that narrative Monday night against a Chargers’ defense allowing the most receiving yards to wide receivers. CeeDee Lamb is also under the microscope. He’s done little outside of his big game against the Jets.
Michael Gallup has been the Cowboy’s WR2 through five games with 180 receiving yards. Brandin Cooks has missed a game but only has 73 receiving yards. TE Jake Ferguson is second on the team in targets and receptions.
Tony Pollard is seeing a massive role where he’s ninth in the league in carries and seventh among running backs in targets. Pollard is 10th among running backs in rushing yards and 12th in receiving yards. Brandon Staley’s defense is famous for not stopping the run.
So far this year, they are giving up the 12th-most rushing yards to running backs, which is a considerable improvement from the past two seasons. They are also allowing the second-most receiving yards to running backs.
What You’re Betting On
If you’re interested in the Chargers as a home dog, you have a few things going for you. The first is Ekeler, Derwin James and Joey Bosa are trending toward playing. Getting three of your six best players back is a major positive on many levels. The second is you’re getting the Chargers off a bye while San Francisco just beat up Dallas.
Next is former Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who now calls plays for Los Angeles. No play caller in the league is more familiar with the Cowboys’ talented defense than Moore. The Chargers have the better quarterback, and their two losses this year came by a total of five points. From a pure talent standpoint, the Chargers are one of the few teams that aren’t at a disadvantage against Dallas.
If you’re betting on the Cowboys, you build that bet around a bounce-back spot after getting blown out in San Francisco. The coaching staff is reportedly working overtime this week, making this a high-effort game.
Dallas was in a similar spot last year, where they answered a tough loss by blowing out the Vikings in Minnesota. The Chargers are a more talented and complete team than the Vikings, but that is worth noting. The Cowboys’ defense has a tough draw against Herbert’s offense. That makes this a game where you bet on Prescott to outduel Herbert.
Score Prediction: Chargers 27, Cowboys 23
Ryan’s Recent Betting Record
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 48-32
ATS 2023: 13-12
Props 2022: 60-40
Props 2023: 11-9