Falcons vs. Saints Updated Odds, Pick, Betting Prediction: The Creative Way to Fade Atlanta
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
- Updated Falcons vs. Saints odds list New Orleans as a 6.5-point favorite, with the total moving up from 41.5 to 43 over the last day.
- The Saints will be without quarterback Jameis Winston, while the Falcons won't have wide receiver Calvin Ridley.
- Billy Ward breaks down his Falcons vs. Saints pick below.
Falcons vs. Saints Odds
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
The story of this game has been the Saints’ quarterback situation. With Jameis Winston out for the year with a torn ACL and injured MCL, we had to wait until Friday on news about who’d be under center for New Orleans.
It’s Trevor Siemian for this week at least, although Taysom Hill will also play, according to head coach Sean Payton.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
Falcons vs. Saints Injury Report
- WR Calvin Ridley (personal): Out
- WR Russell Gage (ankle): Likely
- DT Jonathon Bullard (concussion): Questionable
- DE Carl Granderson (shoulder): Out
- WR Ty Montgomery (hamstring): Out
- QB Taysom Hill (concussion): Likely, not expected to start
- S Malcolm Jenkins (knee): Questionable
Falcons vs. Saints Matchup
|Falcons Offense||DVOA Rank||Saints Defense|
|Falcons Defense||DVOA Rank||Saints Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
Falcons Offense Missing Key Playmaker
The Falcons have struggled on both sides of the ball this season. This is usually where I point out that DVOA rankings don’t tell the whole story, but they mostly do for Atlanta, particularly on defense.
Offensively, Atlanta has at least found some success through the air on occasion. The Falcons rank 21st in points per game on the year and were also coming along nicely as of late, averaging 29 points in Weeks 4-7. That coincided nicely with the ascension of rookie tight end Kyle Pitts, who averaged over 110 yards per game in that span.
However, that was before go-to receiver Calvin Ridley decided to step away from the team to focus on his mental health. Last week without him, the Falcons scored only 13 points against the Panthers. The lack of Ridley allowed Carolina to focus on Pitts, who only caught two of his six targets for 13 yards.
It’s exceedingly difficult to be one-dimensional in the NFL and succeed on offense. Atlanta is rushing for only 87 yards per game and has gotten little production outside of Pitts and RB/WR hybrid Cordarrelle Patterson, who are now its only legitimate offensive threats. That’s a rough combination against the Saints stout defense.
Saints Adjusting To No Jameis Winston
For the past decade or so, the Saints had been a high-flying, explosive offensive team. This year, though, they’ve morphed entirely into a defense and ball control team. Credit goes to Payton for finding success in diverse ways since the Saints are 5-2.
While New Orleans hasn’t been the most effective rushing offense, it’s running the ball at the highest rate in the league. The situation could be slightly better moving forward with Mark Ingram back in town to relieve Alvin Kamara. Kamara was seeing over 23 touches per game before Ingram was acquired from Houston, which probably isn’t ideal for a back of Kamara’s stature.
Now, between the news that receiver Michael Thomas is done for the year, Jameis Winston’s season-ending injury and Ingram’s return, expect even more of a run-first approach from the Saints. They have arguably the worst receiving corps in the league without Thomas — although the Lions have something to say about that — and a top-10 run-blocking unit, as well as the supremely talented Kamara to run behind it.
This aligns nicely with the strength of the Saints defense, which is allowing only 18.3 points per game. You don’t need to score a ton of points with that kind of unit. Instead, you just need to control the clock. That’s also a specialty of the Saints, who rank 29th in overall pace on the season.
NFL Pick: Falcons vs. Saints
There’s a lot of ways to approach this bet.
My expectation is that the Saints run the ball the vast majority of this game, keeping the ball away from Atlanta. When the Falcons do touch it, it’s hard to see a scenario where they have much success against this Saints defense.
Since rushing attempt props aren’t up yet, let’s go with the Falcons team total. Under 17.5 is still available at -130 on DraftKings — 17 is an important number, so don’t bet it below that.
Since we expect a lot of rushing attempts, look to bet overs on Mark Ingram. He saw six carries last week in a tight game with the pass-first Buccaneers, despite being with the team less than a week. I’d bet the over up to 9.5 if it’s there.
Pick: Falcons Team Total Under 17.5 | Bet to: 17
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