The New Orleans Saints face one of the highest over-under projections, but they are also among the safer bets.
Sure, asking the team to eclipse 10.5 wins is a lot if you plan on placing a bet on a team playing in the high-flying NFC South, which also faces air raids in the AFC West along with staunch NFC North opponents.
But the Saints, unlike their NFC South rivals, have a defense to match their offensive firepower. The offense in question is one of the most consistent in football, and it is deep with depth.
The Saints are among the NFL’s winningest teams since 2017, finishing 37-11 in that time span, or 12.3 wins and 3.7 losses per season since, which equates to 12-4 if rounding to the nearest whole number.
If you like the Saints for the over at NFL betting sites in 2020, here are 4 reasons to support that.
1. Brees of Consistency
Anyone who has watched the Saints since Drew Brees signed with the franchise in 2006 knows this. He has played with a multitude of talent over the years and he continues to perform at a high level.
Even at 41, his game continues to match the talent, and it keeps his numbers at Hall of Fame levels.
It helps when you have the league’s best receiver in Michael Thomas, who no defensive back he faces appears to figure out. Thomas proved it in 2019 when he set a single-season record with 149 receptions. With it came 1,725 passing yards and 9 touchdowns.
But the consistency doesn’t stop with Brees or Thomas.
Running back Alvin Kamara is one of the best dual threat backs in football, perhaps second only to division rival Christian McCaffrey for the Carolina Panthers. Kamara finished second on the team in 2019 with 81 receptions. He also rushed for 797 yards on 4.7 yards per carry.
Another often overlooked piece to this offense is Jared Cook, one of the NFL’s biggest red zone and deep threats. He scored 9 touchdowns in 2019 and averaged an astounding 16.4 yards per reception.
The offensive line also deserves credit as one of the league’s most dependable units. They allowed just 25 sacks in 2019, good for third in the NFL, while blocking for Brees and Teddy Bridgewater, who is also now a starting quarterback in Carolina.
The offense figures to remain among the best in the NFL when it ranked seventh in passing as Drew Brees split time with Teddy Bridgewater at the starting quarterback position because of a thumb injury. It shows this offense isn’t reliant on just Brees.
2. An (Almost) Top 10 Defense
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, and Atlanta Falcons all have good offenses or potentially good offenses, but each lack a great defense.
The Saints are further down the road on defense, with a unit that ranked eleventh overall in 2019, allowed 21.3 points per game, finished with 51 sacks, and were second in turnover differential.
And expect more in 2020, as the Saints signed Janoris Jenkins during the 2019 season who will fill one slot at corner. They also brought back Malcolm Jenkins, their top pick in 2009, who can still play at a high level as he enters his twelfth season.
But it is the pass rush that will win games for the Saints. It starts with Cameron Jordan, a career-long Saint who logged 15.5 sacks in 2019 and the emerging Marcus Davenport, who had 6 and looks to perform even better in 2020.
To beat quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Teddy Bridgewater, and Matt Ryan, you must pressure them and the Saints have the bookends in Jordan and Davenport. They also have Trey Hendrickson, who finished third on the team in sacks in 2019.
This gives the Saints one of the NFL’s best pass rush rotations who can rush even the NFL’s most dangerous quarterbacks. But it will also help the Saints repeat their 5-1 finish in the division, and if this is the case, the team is almost halfway to their over-under.
Having a relentless pass rush will also help the team when they face the AFC West and NFC North teams. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes succumbs to a decent pass rush despite his in-game heroics.
The same goes with Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who is playing behind one of the best offensive lines in football. But the Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos figure to be starting young quarterbacks in Drew Lock and Justin Herbert.
Having an experienced pass rush will allow them to take full advantage of each.
To the rest of the NFC South, these are air raid offenses to match their own. But for the Saints, these are offenses who must contend with a stingy pass rush and ball hawking defense.
3. Next Man Up Type of Depth
Perhaps no team in the NFL has more depth than the Saints. When Drew Brees went down with an injury for 5 games in 2019, Teddy Bridgewater stepped in and helped the team win 5 straight games.
This season, Jameis Winston will back up Brees.
While turnover and sack-prone, Winston led the league in passing yards in 2019 and still logged 33 touchdown passes, proving he is a capable starter.
At running back, Latavius Murray remains in a timeshare for carries with Alvin Kamara. Third back Ty Montgomery has starting experience and can start should Kamara or Murray go down with an injury.
They are set at tight end with Josh Hill proving himself a capable backup to Cook. In fact, Hill often started most games before conceding playing time to the latter.
But capable backups are all over the field for the Saints. At defensive back, P. J. Williams, Patrick Robinson, Johnson Bademosi, and D. J. Swearinger are all solid in their roles. Each also has starting experience in the NFL.
What is interesting about the Saints is unlike most of the NFL’s elite teams, they have solid depth. With salary cap constraints and the will to hold on to some of their best players, many elite teams must sign backups at cheaper prices.
Thus, negating the otherwise solid talent, but the Saints have gotten around this obstacle.
You saw it last season with Bridgewater and if injuries hit the Saints in 2020, you will see it again.
4. 12.3-Win Average Since 2017
Almost 2 full wins more than their over-under projection in 2020, and this says a lot, given how hard it is to win in the NFL.
Not only are the Saints projected at an over-under of 10.5 wins; many are predicting them to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
But here’s the score: The Saints have suffered heartbreak after heartbreak after heartbreak in the playoffs since 2017. You had the Minneapolis Miracle, the pass interference no-call, then an overtime loss in 2019.
Three heartbreaks in a row for one of the NFL’s most consistent teams when it mattered the most.
Because this is an aging football team with Drew Brees entering his twentieth season, stalwart Cam Jordan entering his tenth, linebackers Kiko Alonso and Demario Davis in their eighth and ninth, Malcolm Jenkins in his twelfth, and Lat Murray in his eighth.
A sense of urgency is brewing in New Orleans and will continue to brew in 2020 as many other key starters for the Saints are entering contract years.
2020 may prove to be a super swan song for more than just an aging quarterback.
Hey, older teams have made such accomplishments in the past, like the 2018 New England Patriots, among recent accomplishments.
The Saints are a team with outstanding consistency and depth on both offense and defense. Perhaps no other NFL team can match it.
But this team is aging, and many of their top players are entering contract seasons. The team may split up to an extent following 2020.
This makes the Saints one of the more if not the safest bet on the over in 2020 at online sportsbooks . In the betting world, you can’t guarantee anything and even teams like this can collapse.
Chances are, they will win the NFC South and perhaps even garner the first-round bye in the playoffs.
What are your thoughts on one of the league’s most popular Super Bowl picks in 2020? Let us know in the comments.