USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Alvin Kamara, Julio Jones
Betting odds: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
- Spread: Falcons -3
- Over/Under: 54
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV channel: FOX
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Betting market: Atlanta opened as a 3.5-point favorite, yet an incredible 90% of dollars wagered have come down on New Orleans at the time of writing, explaining why this line has dropped to Falcons -3 across the betting market (see live data here). — PJ Walsh
Trends to know: The Saints have failed to cover in consecutive weeks. Since 2003, teams that have not covered the spread in Weeks 1 and 2 and then are underdogs in Week 3 have gone 47-32 (60%) ATS. — John Ewing.
Drew Brees has started 94 road games in his career for the New Orleans Saints, 34 against the NFC South and 60 against non-divisional opponents. The over has been a great bet when Brees faces a non-divisional opponent on the road (+14.6 units), but when he is in division, the over is a loser (-12.6 units). — Evan Abrams
Injury watch: The Falcons have been devastated by injuries this season. Three starters — linebacker Deion Jones, safety Keanu Neal and guard Andy Levitre — are out for extended periods of time.
Running back Devonta Freeman (knee), who hasn’t practiced all week, is reportedly expected to miss 2-4 weeks, although the Falcons continue to call him day-to-day.
Defensive ends Takk McKinley (groin) and Derrick Shelby (groin) also look like they’re going to be sidelined.
Julio Jones (calf) didn’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday, but told reporters that he’s good and it’s just a precaution.
The Saints’ offense, meanwhile, should be at full health entering Sunday, as Ted Ginn (knee) confirmed he’ll play. The defense will likely be without linebacker Manti Te’o (knee) and defensive tackle Tyeler Davison (foot); neither practiced on Wednesday or Thursday.
DFS edge: Brees and Michael Thomas have posted a ridiculous 74.7% catch rate in three years together, the highest mark among all receivers with at least 100 targets over the past 25 years.
This dominance has extended to matchups against the Falcons. Per the FantasyLabs Trends tool, Thomas has posted 7-71-1, 10-156-1, 10-117-1 and 4-66-0 lines in four career games against the team’s divisional rival.
Thomas has also averaged an additional 1.6 DraftKings points per game with a +5.5 Plus/Minus and 66% Consistency Rating on the road during his career. — Ian Hartitz
Most important matchup: Marshon Lattimore shadowed Jones during each of their two matchups in 2017 with mixed success. The Falcons’ No. 1 receiver managed to post 5-98-0 and 7-149-0 lines in two meetings, but it took Jones 22 total targets to get there.
Still, Lattimore has struggled through two weeks and is one of just seven full-time cornerbacks presently allowing more than 2 yards per cover snap. Mike Evans hung a 7-147-1 line in Lattimore’s shadow on seven targets in Week 1.
Jones has failed to find the end zone in seven consecutive regular-season games, but an eruption might be near. He posted 5-68-1, 10-189-1 and 11-259-1 lines in his next three games following the only other seven-game scoreless stretch of his career. — Ian Hartitz
Bet to watch: Saints +3
This is a fair line … if the Falcons still had the roster they started the season with. But they don’t, as Ian detailed above. We saw the losses of Deion Jones and Neal make an immediate difference last week against the Panthers, who torched Atlanta through the air.
RB Christian McCaffrey had 14 (!!!) catches in that game. It’s frightening to think what Alvin Kamara is going to do to this Falcons defense.
Early season struggles are nothing new for the Saints, so I’m not too worried about them looking sluggish in the first two weeks. Expect New Orleans to be ready to rock for this key divisional matchup and cover the +3. — Scott T. Miller
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.