By: Jason Green
Carolina Panthers (11-5 SU 9-7 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (11-5 SU 9-7 ATS)
The Panthers lost their last Game of the season to give the Saints the NFC South crown and that loss snapped their three-Game winning streak. Their last loss previous to that Game was in the Big Easy facing the Saints where they GAve up 31 points. Carolina lost to New Orleans twice in the regular season where they GAve up at least 31 points in each Game.
At 5Dimes sportsbook the Saints are a 7 point favorite with a total of 48.5.
The Saints lost their last Game of the season to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but the Panthers could not take advantage of it. New Orleans had won two in a row before the season finale loss and their offense was not contained in the two Games facing the Panthers this season. The Saints had balaNCe on the season ranking 4th in the league in ppg and 10th in points against, but they did give up 31 points in their last Game.
The Saints have covered the spread in their last six Games facing the Panthers.
In their last Game of the regular season the Panthers were on the road and they lost to the Atlanta Falcons 22-10. Carolina was out-GAined 371 yards to 248 yards and they turned the ball over three times and did not force one turnover. Cam Newton passed for 180 yards with a TD, but ACCounted for all three of the turnovers with three picks. Newton also led the team with 59 rushing yards and with the Saints and their offense the Panthers’ QB will need help in this Game from the likes of RB Christian McCaffrey and the WR’s to keep New Orleans from packing the box to keep Newton in check.
The Saints had a solid team on defense this season ranking 15th in the league defending the pass and 16th defending the run.
The Saints finished the season on the road losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 31-24. New Orleans had 323 yards in the Game, but the Bucs had 455 yards and had a decent ground Game while turning the ball over three times. Drew Brees passed for 245 yards with a TD and no INT and Michael Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara combined for 178 receiving yards and Kamara rushed for 44 yards with Mark Ingram chiming in for 35 rushing yards. While Brees is the key to the Saints offense both Kamara and Ingram made the Pro Bowl this season and the ground Game and the improved defense is why New Orleans is back in the playoffs.
Brees and the two Prop Bowl RB’s will be facing a Carolina defense they have had success this season against and overall ranks 18th in the league in pass D and 3rd in run D.
The Panthers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road Games, 6-1 ATS in their last 7 Games after a straight up loss, and in their last 7 Games they have an Over record of 5-2.
The Saints are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Games, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 home Games, and in their last 22 home Games they have an Over record of 15-6-1.
Jason’s Pick: The Saints have gotten it done on offense in their two wins over the Panthers this season and don’t look for that to change in this Game. Brees and company will be too much for Carolina to handle and New Orleans, who are 7-1 at home this season, will win and cover the spread.
Bettorsworld Pick – A general rule of thumb for NFL handicapping is to coNCentrate on picking the straight up winner as more times than not, the straight up winner is also the spread winner. With that in mind, it’s hard to buck the 7-1 home team Saints.
Our model has this one right on the number with a predicted score of Saints 27-20. With -6.5 available, we’ll lay the number. Saints -6.5