A classic NFC South divisional game is the focus of many sports betters this week, as the Carolina Panthers take on the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome in Louisiana. The Saints will be looking to avenge an OT loss to the Falcons last week that they should’ve won, if not for a missed field goal by Garret Hartley. Coach Sean Payton was criticized by NFL.com analysts for not taking at least one shot in the end zone when they had the chance. So expect the Saints two come out firing on all cylinders in front of their fans, and don’t expect them to let up if they get the ball rolling. Last week’s game against the Falcons exposed the Saints week point on defense. The Falcons burned them for over 200 yards rushing, and the drive in OT lasted over 7 minutes. Even when the Saints knew Atlanta was running the ball, they still couldn’t stop them. This will be a problem this week against a Carolina Panthers team that historically runs the ball better than most.
The Panthers offense this year has been stagnant, ranking last in points and second last in total yards. Their defense is better though; in losses to the Giants, Bucs and Bengals, they’ve given up about 200 yards passing, and I think they’ll be able to contain Brees enough this week in a tough divisional matchup that saw these two teams split wins last year. The Panthers rushing attack is better than average, and the Saints rushing attack is one of the worst in the league, so controlling the clock may be tougher for the Saints than expected. Although Carolina’s ground come hasn’t exactly taken off yet, this week is a perfect opportunity for them to get 40 carries in against a poor Saints run D.
Panthers vs Saints Spread Line and Betting Odds:
Carolina Panthers + 13.5
@ New Orleans Saints – 13.5
Carolina Panthers (+ 550)
@ New Orleans Saints (- 750)
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Panthers vs Saints Predictions for Betting:
Spread Prediction (TOP PLAY): The glaring stat for the Saints this year is their inabilities to run the ball and stop the run. They’re averaging 57.3 yards per game in rushing offense, while giving up 140 yards per game to opposing teams. This won’t cut it in a 13.5 point spread. They’ve won by margins of 5 and 3, and lost last week in a 3 point game. The Panthers have lost by margins of 13, 13, and 13, so strictly looking at the numbers tells us that Carolina should cover this game. The Panthers secondary picked off Carson Palmer twice last week, but had 4 other balls go through defenders hands. Playing at a high level, Carolina’s defense is a cause for concern for Saints fans this week, especially given the Saints inability to run the ball (Bush is out and Pierre Thomas is banged up, but will play). Strong trends to consider in this game is the Panthers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings versus NO, they’re 9-0 ATS in their last 9 in the Superdome, and the road team is 16-5 ATS in the last 21 meetings between these two teams. With the Saints playing merely average football right now, I like the Panthers +13.5.
Game Total Prediction: The number is low for a Saints home game, but this shows that the oddsmakers don’t have much confidence in either offenses right now. In the last 6 games between these two teams, the Under is 5-1, and the Panthers have intercepted Brees at least once in the last 5 meetings. It’ll be close, but take the Under in this one. The Panthers will take time off the clock by running the ball.
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