New Orleans Saints (10-6 last season) +6, o/u 53 at Indianapolis Colts (12-4), 8:30 pm Eastern Thursday, NBC
by Zman of Predictem.com
The defending Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts kick off the 2007-08 National Football League season when they host the resurgent New Orleans Saints Thursday night (opening day) on NBC.
After several seasons of frustration, Indianapolis finally broke through and won its first Super Bowl last February. The Colts went 12-4 during the regular season, winning the AFC’s South Division for the fourth straight season, then swept Kansas City, Baltimore, New England and Chicago for the title.
New Orleans, as we all recall, emerged as the feel-good story of last season, going 10-6 (a seven-game improvement from the previous season) to win the NFC South. The Saints then beat Philadelphia in the divisional round of the playoffs before falling at Chicago in the conference championship game.
The Colts went a perfect 8-0 straight up and 5-3 against the spread at home last season (excluding the playoffs), all but once as favorites of more than six points.
These two teams feature two of the very best offensive attacks in the league piloted by two of the best QBs alive. Indianapolis ranked third in the league in total yards last season, 18th in rushing, and first in first downs and 3rd-down efficiency. New Orleans led the league in total yards, ranked 19th in rushing, fourth in first downs and third in 3rd-downage.
On the other side, the Colts defense ranked 21st overall, dead last vs. the run, 28th in first downs allowed and dead-bleeping-last in 3rd-down stoppage.
The Saints defense ranked 11th overall, 23rd vs. the run, fourth in first downs allowed and sixth-best in 3rd-down stoppage.
Peyton Manning (you may have heard of him), who starts QB for Indianapolis, hit 65% of his passes last season and piled up a 31/9 TD/INT ratio.
Drew Brees, in his first season with New Orleans, completed 64% of his throws last year and compiled a 26/11 TD/INT ratio.
These two teams haven’t met for a regular-season game since the Colts pounded the Saints 55-21 in September of 2003.
New Orleans went 6-2 straight up and a profitable 7-1 vs. the numbers on the road last year.
The o/u went 8-8 in Colts games last year and 8-8 in Saints games.
Indy opened up as a six-point favorite for this game, with a total of around 51. And while the line has held steady, the total has been bet up to 53 and more at some sportsbooks. The Colts are also listed on the moneyline at around -240, with New Orleans getting as much as +220.
The Predictem Pick: Take the Saints plus the points.