New England Patriots (7-3 SU, 5-4-1 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (10-0
SU, 7-3 ATS), 8:30 p.m. EST, Week 12 NFL, Monday Night Football, November 30, 2009, Louisiana
Superdome, New Orleans, La., TV: ESPN
by Badger of Predictem.com
Point Spread: Patriots +3/Saints -3
After a couple of weeks of having to watch losing teams in Monday Night Football duds, this week ESPN gets to host an instant classic between the reigning AFC darling New England Patriots with quarterback Tom Brady and the undefeated New Orleans Saints who are suddenly the favorite in the NFC.
The AFC’s best versus the NFC’s best, in what ESPN is sure to cover from 16 different angles, a potential Super Bowl matchup preview in primetime.
New England is arguably a 4th-down call by Bill Belichick away from beating the Colts and staying at the top of the AFC hierarchy in everyone’s mind, and if you don’t buy that argument than maybe the way they bounced back after the “controversy” with a resounding 31-14 victory over the New York Jets last weekend is worthy of notice.
The Saints have been virtually unstoppable, even by themselves, as they continue to roll along with a 38-7 victory over Tampa Bay last Sunday. There’s no doubt that head coach Sean Peyton and quarterback Drew Brees are ready to test their wits against the Brady-Belichick combo that has been the standard of late, to see how good the Saints really are this season.
All of this under the lights of Monday Night Football, finally.
And don’t think for a second the sportsbooks in Las Vegas and offshore haven’t been waiting for this game. They’ve spent time on this game to get the number right and opened the game with the Saints listed as the standard 3-point favorite at home. So far they’ve balanced the take since the point spread has yet to move in either direction.
The over/under total opened at 56 for what oddsmakers expect to be a shootout, but it has since moved the hook in either direction so you can find the number now from 55.5 to 56.5 if you’re shopping around for half-points.
This game has all sorts of potential on offense.
Brees and the Saints are No. 1 in yards (420.6 ypg) and scoring (36.9 ppg). Brady and the Pats are No. 2 in yards (416.1 ypg) and No. 3 in scoring (29 ppg). Both teams seem to have their running games healthy and peaking right now. There is a reason why the oddsmakers opened this game at 56.
So rather than bore you with more glowing offensive stats, let’s move on to where the game will truly be won or lost … defense.
The Patriots have turned over personnel and moved on with young talent built through the draft to become the NFL’s 6th best defense overall (286.7 ypg) and the 2nd-best in scoring defense allowing just 16.4 points per game. If the Saints really try and achieve the offensive balance they had last week versus the Bucs (183 rush-187 pass) by running the football more, they might be able to take advantage of the Pats weak link versus the run (109.4 ypg – 14th).
The Saints defense has turned heads, and also turned a lot of games around, with all of their defensive touchdowns this season (7), but the unit as a whole is average (330.6 ypg – 17th) and is experiencing injury issues in the secondary as the season comes down the homestretch.
The Saints lost corner Tracey Porter to a knee injury last week, so they went out and signed former Saints corner Mike McKenzie off the street to a free agent deal this week. The return of the other starting corner, Jabari Greer, is likely by Monday (listed as probable), but with safety Darren Sharper already playing dinged up and McKenzie fresh off the couch, the Saints secondary could get picked apart by Brady if he has time in the pocket. The Saints might get tackle Sedrick Ellis back from injury this week too, which would help keep Brady from having too much time in the pocket.
The history between these two teams is rare. New England won the last time they met at home in Gillette Stadium in 2005, 24-17, to make it three wins in a row in the heads-up series. The other two wins in the streak coming in 2001 (a 34-17 NE win) and 1998 (a 30-27 NE win in the only game versus the Pats in the Superdome since 1986).
Prior to that the Saints owned the series, winning three straight from 1998 back through 1989.
More importantly for gamblers, the Saints have owned this series at the window, covering the point spread in the last meeting and six of the seven lifetime meetings between the two (6-1 ATS).
The over is 6-1 in the head-to-head series, including both games in the Superdome, but they’ve never had to chase a number like 56 for a total. Their last meeting in ’05 closed with a 48 total, the highest total they’ve had in the series, and ironically the only game that has finished under in the series history.
Badger’s Pick: The Saints should be ready for this game, but their banged up secondary scares the pants off me with Brady on the other sideline. The Pats are battled-tested too, whereas the Saints are coming off of back-to-back games against the Rams and Bucs. I guess what I’m saying is, I’ll take Brady on Monday Night plus points if you’re giving them to me. Take New England plus 3 points.
Editor's Picks - Each week our in house pro's tackle the week's card and make predictions on the week's games ATS! Best bets, top plays, premium selections, etc. FREE!
Expert NFL Picks - Free premium plays from the "real" expert football handicappers from around the web. Don't fall for second rate picks from ESPN, the NFL Network, Hank Goldberg or the screaming touts on TV.
Underdog of the Week Pick - We forecast the loudest barking dog of the week. Expect a 60% winning percentage with these plays.
Favorite of the Week Play - We examine "the chalk" and determine the safest bet in which who you should lay the points with. Forecasting winning favorites long term isn't easy, but we've had some pretty good luck with it over the years.
Line Movement Plays - We report all the major line moves from the gridiron and forecast whether it's public money or sharp action causing the move. Who will cover the spread this week? Our line move plays!
NFL Consensus Picks - See what the general public is betting on. We use this info to fade the public to the tune of big profits over the course of the season.
Bookies Picks - Each week, we'll post which side the bookies are on. Please note: These are not OUR picks. We're simply reporting the teams the bookies need to cover the spread in order for them to win. Games receiving equal action on both sides will not be factored into these records.
Office Pool Picks - (Coming in 2015!) You asked for it and you got it! Each week, we'll post our predictions to win each game straight up so that you can RULE your office pool!
NFL Trends - Don't ever let anybody tell you that the trend is your friend. These picks make great fades which is exactly what we do with them.
NFL Computer Picks - We enter the statistics into the database and the computer crunches the numbers and gives final score predictions. These should be used for entertainment only!
Monday Night Football Picks - The ultimate bailout play. Our MNF picks are golden and have hit 62% or better 3 out of the past 4 years. (Last season was a disaster!) Did we mention that their FREE?
2014 NFL Predictions - Badger makes projections on each team's record and whether or not they'll go over or under their posted season win totals at the sportsbooks.
Super Bowl Picks - Everybody here in the Predictem office takes their best preseason shot at predicting the winner Superbowl 49. Pride is on the line here! Oh, and LOOT too!
5Dimes - Bet your NFL football picks at -105 odds every day of the week! 15 team parlays! 20 point teasers! Pleasers and huge point buying opportunities as well!
Bovada - Tired of deposit hassles? Bet on football using your credit card at a sportsbook where your Visa CAN and WILL work for deposits! Offers a 50% sign-up bonus up to $250 FREE!
MyBookie - Credit cards work GREAT here! Get a massive 50% bonus up to $2000 in free cash!
GTBets - You get to select 2 NFL teams and get a FREE half point every time you bet them! Offers a generous 100% bonus on deposits of $100 to $500! One of the best at accepting credit cards for deposits!
Super Bowl Betting - We explain all the different types of wagers you can making including point spread bets, totals, moneylines and prop bets. No need to go to Vegas! You can bet the big game online!
Weekly Fantasy Football - If you drafted a crappy team or the injury bug has bit you and wrecked your season, we've got something really cool to turn you on to that will change the way you play fantasy sports forever!
Famous Football Quotes - From the inspirational to the greatest touchdown calls of all time. We've got them!
Pro Football Hall of Fame - A full list of NFL players who have been inducted into the NFL HOF.
The Spread - Offers free NFL football predictions, matchups, stats including both offensive and defensive and more!
Fantasy Football Sites - Get recommendations on where to find weekly updated player news, depth charts and legit websites that offer the best stat and record tracking for your fantasy football league.