Saints Falcons Odds
The Atlanta Falcons (10-1) host the New Orleans Saints (5-6) Thursday night in NFC South action. Oddsmakers have listed the Falcons as a 3.5-point favorite and have set the total at 56.0.
Why Atlanta Covers
The Falcons have only one blemish this season, and the Saints are the team that gave it to them. You can bet Atlanta will be out for some serious revenge in the rematch.
The Falcons should benefit from playing this game at home where they are 5-0 this season. It is also worth noting that New Orleans hasn’t been the same team on the road where it is 2-3 on the season.
Both teams are explosive offensively, but Atlanta has the superior defense. The Falcons rank 15th in the league in total defense with 344.9 yards allowed per game while the Saints rank dead with 454.8 yards allowed per game. The Falcons rank sixth in scoring defense with 19.6 points allowed per game while the Saints rank 28th with 27.6 points allowed per contest.
Atlanta won 24-23 at Tampa Bay Sunday but failed to cover the spread. Falcons backers should not be alarmed because their team is on a 20-7 against the spread run after one or more consecutive losses against the spread. It is also worth noting that the Falcons are on a 28-17 against the spread run in the favorite role and a 35-24 against the spread run when playing on six days’ rest or less.
Why New Orleans Covers
The Saints have had Atlanta’s number lately. They have won each of the past four meetings, seven of the last eight and 11 of the last 13. The Saints have also won three in a row in Atlanta.
The Falcons last defeated New Orleans Sept. 26, 2010, earning a 27-24 victory that day. Because the loss only came by three points, the Saints have won or lost by less than the current number in eight straight games against Atlanta.
The Falcons are the better defensive team, but their defense wasn’t good enough in the first meeting. The numbers suggest it won’t be good enough this time around either. Consider that the Saints are on an 8-0 against the spread run in the second half of the season versus teams that give up an average of 5.65 yards or more per play. They have won by an average score of 40.1 to 21.5 in this situation.
The Saints are also on an 8-0 against the spread run in the second half of the season versus teams that allow their opponents to complete 61.0 percent or more of their passes. They have won by an average score of 35.0 to 20.8 in this situation.
The Saints have struggled on the defensive side of the football, but the Falcons haven’t been able to take advantage of poor defensive teams. In fact, they are on a 3-12 against the spread slide in the second half of the season versus poor defensive teams that allow an average of 6.0 yards or more per play. They have lost by an average score of 25.5 to 23.6 in this situation.
Atlanta enters with some momentum following back-to-back wins, but it is only 9-23 against the spread in home games after two or more consecutive wins the last two decades. It has lost by an average score of 22.0 to 21.2 in this situation.