Cowboys vs Chargers Odds, Picks and Predictions

The Cowboys looked flat enough last week that we’re not trusting their backups, but a bunch of ugly penalties and last week’s NFL-wide Over trend may be creating value in the total, which is where our betting picks for this Chargers matchup focus.

The Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers will be sick of each other by the end of the week.

Following two joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday, the two meet for Week 2 of the preseason on Saturday night.

Both teams got off to a rough start in the preseason, losing their respective openers. Despite the fact that mostly backups will be on the field, there could be an added intensity to this game after competing against each other in practice this week.

Check out our NFL picks and predictions for the game between the Dallas Cowboys and Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday, August 20.

Cowboys vs Chargers odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

As has been typical for the preseason, this game has seen a lot of line movement. The Chargers opened -1 and currently reside between -3 and -3.5 depending on the book. The total is set at 37.5 across the board and has not experienced much movement, if any, at most books.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

Cowboys vs Chargers predictions

Predictions made on 8/19/2022 at 8:00 am ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Cowboys vs Chargers game info

Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Date: Saturday, August 20, 2022
Kickoff: 10:00 pm ET
TV: NFL Network

Cowboys at Chargers betting preview


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Betting trend to know

The Under is 9-3 in the Cowboys’ last 12 games overall. Find more NFL betting trends for Cowboys vs. Chargers.

Cowboys vs Chargers picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based on our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

The Chargers opened as -1 favorites, but bettors were quick to jump on the line, pushing it up to -3 in most spots while -3.5 has begun to show. Both teams lost their preseason opener, with the Chargers dropping 29-22 to their crosstown rival Los Angeles Rams, and the Cowboys falling flat in a 17-7 loss in Denver.

Neither team is expected to play the starters much in this contest, so it boils down to handicapping the backups. Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy stated that the backups and rookies would play the large majority of snaps on Saturday after the starters received plenty of work on Wednesday’s and Thursday’s scrimmages. Before the preseason began, Chargers coach Brandon Staley stated that his starters would not see much, if any, action until the final preseason game.

Dallas’ offensive showing in Week 1 was abysmal. Cooper Rush looks to have a battle on his hands for the backup quarterback job after completing 12 of 20 passes for just 84 yards, no touchdowns, and an interception against the Broncos. The team was lifeless and put up a goose egg on the scoreboard for the first three quarters. Ben DiNucci was considered a longshot in this battle, but he finished the game completing 9 of 16 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown, so he’ll likely earn more snaps on Saturday. Will Grier could also factor into the mix after missing last week with a groin injury but practicing this week.

The Chargers’ backup quarterbacks inspire much more confidence. Chase Daniel has been a quality backup in the league for 13 years, and the ultra-athletic Easton Stick was on fire in Week 1, completing 16 of 23 passes for 119 yards while adding a rushing score on the ground.

Dallas looked like a mess against Denver, getting flagged 17 times for a total of 129 yards — five more penalties than any other team during Week 1. I’ll look the other way until the Cowboys’ backups show better.

Prediction: Chargers -3 (-110 at bet365)

Covers NFL betting analysis

Over/Under analysis

The starters won’t be seeing the field in this contest for much time at all, if any. Neither coach has expressed a willingness to change their game plan from the first week of preseason.

The Cowboys’ offensive output against Denver was very lackluster. The team didn’t manage to get much of anything going for the first three quarters but padded their stats a bit once the game hit garbage time.

The quarterback room is a concern. Rush managed just 4.2 yards per attempt against the Broncos and will be pushed by DiNucci and Grier (if he plays) in this contest. Grier likely won’t be at 100% if he does play, considering the groin injury he’s been dealing with, and while DiNucci looked good against the Broncos, there may be a reason he was considered a long shot to make the roster.

The Chargers’ secondary has shown vulnerabilities, but I’m not sure the Cowboys’ backups have the passing attack to make them pay.

Charger receivers Michael Bandy (seven receptions, 73 yards, one touchdown) and Joe Reed (four receptions, 61 yards, one touchdown) were the highlights of their first preseason game. Along with two solid backup quarterbacks in Daniel and Stick, this offense should still be able to move. Second-year running back Joshua Kelly looked particularly impressive out of the backfield, racking up 44 total yards on just six touches.

The Cowboys’ defense held their own in Week 1, allowing only 324 yards on 5.1 per play. For the positives I mentioned earlier about the athletic Easton Stick, he’s not a very polished passer and averaged just 5.2 yards per attempt against the Rams.

I believe this total is slightly inflated and therefore side with the Under.

Prediction: Under 37.5 (-108 at Unibet)

Best bet

After the Overs went 11-4 in Week 1 of the preseason, bookmakers have moved totals up a few points for Week 2. I don’t believe that trend will continue in the next two weeks and therefore am looking to hop on the other side of inflated totals. A one-week run of high-scoring games isn’t enough to make me budge — the preseason is generally low-scoring, and I expect it to return to the norm.

The Cowboys’ offense looked awful against Denver and none of the three quarterback options inspire a ton of confidence. I have more faith in the Chargers’ offense with Daniels and Stick leading the charge, but not enough to expect a firework show.

Part of the reason the Overs were on such a roll was due to a “point of emphasis” on penalties and illegal contact penalties in particular. After getting called for 17 penalties in Week 1, Mike McCarthy has made it a point to tighten things up and I don’t expect a repeat on Saturday.

Give me the Under.

Pick: Under 37.5 (-108 at Unibet)

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