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Cowboys at Chargers (-4) Betting Preview

Published on 09/18/2021
By Scott Gramling
Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert played like a legitimate MVP candidate in Week 1.
Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Chargers (-4)
Sunday 9/19, 4:25 p.m. ET

Three things you need to know before betting on Cowboys-Chargers:

1. With a narrow 31-29 loss at Tampa Bay in the 2021 NFL season opener, Dallas improved to 13-5 against the spread as an underdog since the start of October 2018. The Cowboys have had little problem scoring in that role recently, averaging 31 points over their past five games as an underdog, with all five of those games going Over the total. Dating back to the start of the 2010 season, Dallas is 14-6-1 against the spread in road games against AFC opponents. Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy has career records of 10-2 straight-up and 9-3 against the spread when facing an AFC West opponent.

2. Since suffering a 45-0 home loss to New England last December, the Chargers have gone 5-0 both straight-up and against the spread, ending last season with four straight victories to finish with a 7-9 record before winning 20-16 in Washington as a small road underdog this past Sunday. There’s reason to believe, however, that Los Angeles might be overvalued as a small favorite in this one. In the first month of a season since the start of 2012, NFL home favorites who failed to make the playoffs despite ending the prior season with back-to-back victories are 3-24-2 against the spread. That includes an 0-10 against-the-spread record for such teams since the start of 2017.

3. The Chargers haven’t exactly used home field to their advantage in recent years, going 2-6 straight-up and against the spread in September home games since moving from San Diego to Los Angeles prior to the start of the 2017 season. The only one of those eight games that L.A. won and covered was a 6-point victory as a 5.5-point favorite over Indianapolis in the 2019 season opener, which was a game that wasn’t decided until a game-winning score with just over five minutes remaining in overtime.

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