New Orleans Saints (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. Carolina Panthers (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS) Preview, Point Spread and Pick to Cover
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: September 27th, 1:00 PM E
Where: Bank of America Stadium
by Jeff Hochman, Professional Handicapper, jhsportsline.com
Point Spread: New Orleans +3.5/ Carolina -3.5
Over/Under Total: 45
It looks like Drew Brees will be able to start this game. If not, Luke McCown would start and the line will jump to Carolina minus seven. The Saints have been a colossal disappointment so far this season. They lost 26-19 against a rookie QB as 10-point home chalk last Sunday. The Saints were outgained by 10 yards and sit 0-2 ITS (in the stats) this season. New Orleans has now lost their last six games both SU & ATS, dating back to last season. There is a glimmer of hope for Saints’ fans. New Orleans has gone 5-2 SU and 6-1 ATS in games after playing Tampa Bay. A complete overhaul could be coming if the Saints don’t turn it around. On the hot seat is DC Rob Ryan. The Saints defense looks old and slow. The good news is that the Panthers’ offense is not what you would call high-powered.
I have bet against the Panthers in the first two weeks and have not cashed any tickets. Last week, Carolina defeated the Texans 24-17 as 3-point home chalk. They outgained Houston by 50 yards and have gone 7-3 ITS in their last 10 games. The offensive line was a question mark coming into the season, but so far the group has held up nicely. They haven’t faced a defense that likes to blitz more than 30% of the time. The Saints have looked awful against the pass so far this season. Overall, the defense is allowing 380 yards per game. The good news is that the Panthers are only throwing for 168 yards per game, which ranks in the bottom third of the league. I know it’s early, but the wide receivers are young and still trying to learn the Panthers’ system. Greg Olsen has been a favorite target of Cam Newton this season with 17 so far in two games. He has only caught 7 of those targets for 81 yards. The Saints have trouble defending good tight ends so shutting down Olsen will be key.
Carolina has allowed just 282 yards per game, although you can make the case against week offenses. Each team won and covered on the road in the two meetings last season. The Panthers clobbered New Orleans 41-10 as 8.5-point underdogs last December. New Orleans should have extra motivation after that result. Carolina outgained the Saints 497-310. I don’t know what to make of this Saints squad. Many experts had this team making the playoffs. NFL Teams that start 0-2 have about a 11% chance of making the playoffs. This is a must win game for the road team because 0-3 teams have about a 2% chance of making the playoffs.
The Saints are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games in Week three. Carolina is 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a straight-up win. The road team is 20-7 ATS in their last 27 meetings. The Under is 10-2 in the last 12 meetings in Carolina. I think the Saints will play their best game of the season in a desperate situation. Saints head coach Sean Payton is 19-8 ATS when facing an undefeated team. Lets hope the defense shows up in this one.
Jeff’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread:New Orleans Saints +3.5 (or +7 if Brees is OUT)
Big game for the 0-2 Saints and they should be focused facing a division foe. They also have revenge from that blowout loss at home last December. The host in Saints’ games are on a 3-11 ATS run.
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