In the final week of the NFL regular season, the New Orleans Saints (-8) are ready to host their NFC South counterpart Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. This early afternoon matchup will get underway at 1:00 p.m. ET and FOX is scheduled to televise the action.
Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints Betting Preview
Carolina is getting picked to play the role of underdog and is currently getting 8 points in this NFC game. The Panthers are also receiving +260 moneyline odds while the Saints are -330. This NFC matchup should provide several decent live betting opportunities, and oddsmakers have placed the over/under (O/U) at 44.5 points.
This game’s opening line was -8. The total hasn’t changed since it opened at 44.5.
The Panthers are 6-9 against the spread (ATS) and have lost 4.2 units so far in 2018. The team has posted an O/U record of 7-8. The surprising Saints are up 6.0 units this season. They’re 10-5 ATS and own an O/U record of 6-9.
The Panthers have gone an ugly 6-9 straight up (SU), including 1-4 SU against NFC South opponents. The Saints are 13-2 SU overall and 4-1 SU against divisional foes.
Carolina comes into this one on a three-game winning streak while New Orleans has come up short in each of its last seven. The Panthers dropped one to Atlanta 24-10 in a Week 16 game where the passing game could’ve been more effective as Taylor Heinicke completed 33 passes for 274 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Christian McCaffrey (101 yards on 21 rush attempts) led the running attack. McCaffrey (12 receptions, 77 yards) and Jarius Wright (seven catches, 69 yards) shared the receiving duties in the defeat.
The New Orleans Saints just put together a 31-28 win over Pittsburgh in Week 16. The defensive secondary allowed the Steelers to air it out for 380 yards and three touchdowns. Antonio Brown was outstandingfor the Steelers, putting up 185 yards and two touchdowns on 14 catches. For New Orleans, Drew Brees completed 27-of-39 passes for 326 yards and one touchdown. Mark Ingram (35 yards on 11 rush attempts, one TD) handled the running game as Michael Thomas (11 receptions, 109 yards, one TD) and Ted Ginn Jr. (five catches, 74 yards) led the receiving corps in the win.
Carolina’s run the ball on 41.6 percent of its offensive possessions this year while New Orleans has an overall rush percentage of 47.2 percent. The Panthers have rushed for 135 yards/game (including 141 per game against South opponents) and have 15 touchdowns on the ground this year. The Saints are putting up 123 rushing yards per game (118 in conference) and have 25 total rush TDs.
The Panthers offensive scheme has logged 254 yards/game in the air overall (275 per game against conference opposition) and has 26 passing scores so far. The Saints have produced 270 pass yards per outing (282.0 against NFC foes) and have 32 total pass TDs.
Defensively, Carolina seems to have the upper hand when it comes to limiting the pass. The team has allowed opponents to rush for an average of 108 yards and pass for 263 yards per game. The New Orleans defense has given up 290.3 yards per game to opposing passers and 78.1 yards per game to opposing runners. Both teams allow similar adjusted net yards per pass attempt (ANY/A) to opponents, as the Panthers have given up an ANY/A of 7.07 to opposing QBs, while the Saints are yielding an ANY/A of 6.87.
Offensively, Heinicke has put up 320 passing yards this year, and has connected on 35-of-57 attempts with one passing scores and three interceptions. He’s got a 3.19 adjusted net yards per pass attempt, including 2.58 over the last two games.
Christian McCaffrey, Jarius Wright and Curtis Samuel have combined for 454 total yards over the last two outings.
In the hosts’ locker room, Drew Brees has completed 341-of-454 passes for 3,789 yards, 32 TDs and four INTs. Brees’ ANY/A sits at 8.83 for the season and 6.14 over his last two outings.
We expect the Saints to control tempo by getting the ball in the hands of their running backs. Along with WR Michael Thomas (1,327 receiving yards, nine receiving TDs this season), Alvin Kamara (816 rush yards, 13 rush TDs, 673 receiving yards, four receiving TDs) and Mark Ingram (554 rush yards, six rush TDs, one TD) have brought significant production to the Saints’ recent offensive gameplans.
Free NFL Tip: Carolina Panthers at New Orleans Saints
SU Winner – Saints, ATS Winner – Panthers, O/U – Under
Team Betting Notes
The Over/Under for Carolina’s last game going into it was 46. The under cashed in the team’s 24-10 defeat to Atlanta.
Carolina has rushed for 4.6 yards per attempt over its past three contests and 5.0 over its last two.
New Orleans has averaged 3.9 yards per carry over its last three games and 4.2 over its past two.
New Orleans has lost nine fumbles this season while Carolina has lost six.
Over its last three matches, Carolina is 1-2 ATS and the under cashed in each of those three.
The O/U for New Orleans’ last matchup was set at 53. The over cashed in the 31-28 triumph over Pittsburgh.
Over its last three contests, New Orleans is 1-2 ATS and the under cashed in two of those three.
New Orleans has won 14 of its last 15 games SU, with a -3-point defeat to Dallas on November 29th accounting for its only loss over that span.
The Panthers offense has registered four pass plays of 40+ yards, while the Saints have put up five such plays.
The Carolina defense has allowed 12 pass plays of 40 or more yards, while New Orleans has given up 13 such plays.
The Carolina offense has created 13 rushing plays of 20 or more yards, while New Orleans has created six such runs.
The Panthers defense has allowed 13 rushing plays of 20 yards or more, while the Saints have given up six such runs.
The New Orleans defense has sacked opposing quarterbacks 48 times this season. Carolina has produced just 33 sacks.