Falcons-Saints Betting Preview: Is New Orleans Getting Too Much Love?
Aaron Doster, USA Today Sports.
Betting odds: Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
- Spread: Saints -12.5
- Over/Under: 60
- Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
- TV channel: NBC
>> All odds as of Wednesday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: At the time of writing more than 60% of bets have come in on New Orleans, but the spread has moved the opposite direction.
The incredibly high total — which ranges from 59.5 and 61 depending on the book — is not high enough to deter the public.
Trend to know: When Drew Brees gets a real defense on his side, he becomes even more dangerous.
In our Bet Labs database (since 2003), Brees is 40-22 against the spread (64.5%) the game after his defense allows fewer than 200 yards passing. (The Saints allowed just 156 yards passing last week against the Eagles.)
As a favorite of more than a TD in this spot, Brees is 11-1 straight up and 9-3 ATS, including 10-0 SU and 9-1 ATS at home. — Evan Abrams
Since 2003, double-digit favorites in division games have gone 84-112-5 (43%) ATS. Drew Brees is 3-8 ATS in this situation, failing to cover on average by 3.9 points per game. — John Ewing
Did you know? Matt Ryan has faced the New Orleans Saints 20 times in his career — this is just the second time he is a double-digit underdog. — Evan Abrams
Favorites on Thanksgiving have gone 27-11 ATS since 2003 per Bet Labs. Favorites of six or more points have gone 14-3 ATS in that time. – John Ewing
Vegas report: “We opened this line at New Orleans -13 and we actually took a couple sharp bets on the Falcons +13.” — Jason Simbal at CG Technologies as told to Adam Staple
Which team is healthier? Saints
The Saints could be without stud rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith (foot) in their potential shootout, but the only other starters at risk of missing time are left tackle Terron Armstead (shoulder) and defensive end Marcus Davenport (toe).
Meanwhile, the Falcons have question marks for cornerback Robert Alford (foot), linebackers Deion Jones (foot) and De’Vondre Campbell (thigh), along with safety Damontae Kazee (shoulder) and stud rookie receiver Calvin Ridley (thigh). — Ian Hartitz
Biggest mismatch: Alvin Kamara vs. Falcons Would-be Tacklers
Kamara is so nasty he would create mismatches for a defense full of Hall of Famers, much less a Falcons unit that ranks 29th in DVOA vs. the pass and 31st vs. the run.
Most damning for the Falcons is their Vaseline-handed tackling, which has them sitting one spot from the basement in Pro Football Focus’ tackling grades.
On top of that, Atlanta has given up the most catches to running backs out of the backfield in each of the past three seasons and is on pace to do so again — not that Kamara will be restricted to the backfield; he lines up in the slot or out wide 27% of the time.
If I’m Deion Jones, I might want to think about sitting out one more game rather than let Kamara ruin my Thanksgiving. — Chris Raybon
DFS edge: The Falcons can be exploited just about anywhere, but as Chris mentioned, they simply don’t defend pass-catching running backs well, allowing a league-high 81 completions and 65.8 receiving yards per game to opposing backfield.
They also can’t defend them on the ground, grading as Pro Football Focus’ No. 28 unit in run defense.
Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram will both be in play on the three-game Thanksgiving slate.
The Saints presently own a monstrous 36.25-point implied team total, and they’re massive 13-point favorites against a Falcons defense that is sporting an Opponent Plus/Minus of +6.70 on DraftKings against running backs. — Justin Bailey
Bet to watch: Falcons +12.5
Bet the Falcons at your own risk, as they are prone to breaking your heart through inconsistency, frustratingly soft play on both sides of the ball and a legacy of having their wings clipped just when it seems they may soar into the stratosphere.
But … as my bookmaker buddy Scooch told me on The Favorites podcast, he sees the real value of this line as being closer to 10. He hung it at 14.5, hoping to get Falcons money because he knows the public is going to hit the Saints with ferocity. The line quickly moved from 14.5 to 13 and, when Scooch moved it back to 13.5, he got hit again with Falcons money.
That’s where I’m putting my cash, too. It’s impossible to love Atlanta in any scenario, but when a bookmaker is telling me he over-weighted the Saints to an extraordinary degree, I’m inclined to follow. — Chad Millman
Bet to watch: Falcons +12.5
The market does not believe in Atlanta. The Falcons have lost two in a row, including a loss to the Browns. Prior to the two-game losing streak, when they beat up on Washington off a bye, it was “Atlanta’s back and making noise!”
In reality, the Falcons are probably just an OK team with a little value.
The double-digit dog is probably the way to go in these divisional games, unless we’re talking about the best team in the league playing the worst.
I understand that no one wants to bet against the team that wins by 100 every week, but I also don’t really care what New Orleans is doing against Cincinnati or Philadelphia. This is different. — Ken Barkley
Bet to watch: Under 60
Bettors think Saints-Falcons will be a shootout. More than 80% of tickets have been placed on the over, moving the total 59 to 60.
The public is expecting a Chiefs-Rams-like scoring bonanza that we saw on Monday Night Football (105 points scored) history suggests this game could go under.
Unders are more profitable in high-total games (more than 44 points) featuring division rivals. The theory behind this trend is that increased familiarity between teams tends to favor lower scoring games.
Betting divisional unders late in the season (Week 11 or later) has been the optimal strategy, as the under in these games have gone 163-101-3 (62%) since 2003. — John Ewing
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.