49ers vs Chargers Preseason Picks and Predictions: Quarterbacks Take Center Stage

While the 49ers watch their quarterback battle between Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo play out, Justin Herbert will make his preseason debut for the Chargers. See if the talented passers can top the total in our picks and predictions.

Aug 20, 2021 • 13:46 ET • 4 min read
Justin Herbert Los Angeles Chargers NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

Another preseason weekend is here and our NFL betting thirst continues as we wait for the regular season to start. The San Francisco 49ers face the Los Angeles Chargers in a game that fans of both teams, as well as football betting experts, will enjoy. 

One of the most interesting narratives will be the continuing battle between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance for the Niners QB job. Check out our free NFL picks and predictions for the 49ers vs.  Chargers.

49ers vs Chargers game info

Location: SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, CA
Date: Sunday, August 22, 2021
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network

49ers vs Chargers odds

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49ers at Chargers betting preview


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Key injuries

49ers: Jeff Wilson (Out), Nick Bosa (Out).
Chargers: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Over is 5-2 in the 49ers’ last seven games as favorite. Find more NFL betting trends for 49ers vs. Chargers.

Against the spread (ATS) pick

If you’ve been on Covers recently, you’ll know that our How To Bet On NFL Preseason guide is a gospel for these preseason games and one key rule is to always know who the QBs are who will be playing.

For the Niners that’s not too hard with Kyle Shanahan currently overseeing a QB battle between Jimmy Garoppolo and the third overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft, Trey Lance.

Beat writers in San Francisco have reported some struggles at times from Garoppolo, with plaudits going to Lance. When a quarterback is picked so high you know that he’ll be the starter, it’s just a matter of when. Garoppolo will know this too but Kyle Shanahan has claimed that both players are “competing their ass off” and still hasn’t ruled out the rookie starting in Week 1 against the Lions.

As the battle intensifies, we’ll almost certainly see plenty of both QBs in action, and with two starting-caliber QBs on the field, we should see some coherent play from the Niners. 

Perhaps, even above the two passers, it’s running back Trey Sermon who’ll we be looking out for. If you play fantasy football, and let’s be honest you do, then you’d have seen Sermon’s ADP creeping up over the past few days. He only averaged 2.9 yards per rush against the Chiefs but displayed some nice moves. He should get plenty of opportunities to impress with Kyle Shanahan likely to give starter Raheem Mostert only limited action.

While we don’t know who the starter for the Niners is, the same cannot be true for the Chargers with Justin Herbert already established as one of the league’s best talents. We’ll see him make his preseason bow this weekend and he’ll be a huge threat as long as he’s on the field, especially with the Niners’ best pass rusher, Nick Bosa, out injured.

When Herbert is benched, we’ll see Chase Daniel and Easton Stick on the field. Daniel, in particular, is a solid QB who’ll be able to perform for the Chargers behind an improved offensive line.

The 49ers are favorites with good reason, but it feels like the Chargers are real value here, as they might be all season, so we’ll take the points. 

PREDICTION: Chargers +5.5 (-110)

Over/Under pick

So, what do we know about these two teams? They both are stacked in offensive talent throughout. As always, in preseason we don’t really know how long each team’s starters will be out, but that gives us plenty of time to see some of the exciting talent deep on each team’s roster. 

Seeing the likes of Larry Rountree III for the Chargers will be interesting, with the rookie talented enough to displace Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley as the team’s backup to Austin Ekeler. For the 49ers, we’ll see the aforementioned Trey Sermon but crucially their depth at receiver, including Richie James and Trent Sherfield.

With so much talent on both sides and defenses who’ll see their starters rested, the total points target of 34 seems like one we can challenge. With the football genius of Kyle Shanahan, you can never rule out a high-scoring offense and I’m confident that we’ll see both teams put up good numbers as they look to prepare for the upcoming season.

PREDICTION: Over 34 (-110)

49ers vs Chargers betting card

  • Chargers +5.5 (-110)
  • Over 34 (-110)

Picks made on 8/20/2021 at 1:10 p.m. ET

NFL parlays

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