The New Orleans Saints (12-3) travel to Charlotte this weekend for an NFC South showdown with the Carolina Panthers (5-10).  Kickoff is set for 1:00 PM EST on December 29th at Bank of America Stadium and the game will be televised on FOX.

Oddsmakers opened this game up with the Saints listed as 13-point road favorites. The spread hasn’t moved at all after early betting, as New Orleans is currently available at -13. The total for this matchup is 45.5 points. Click here for a full look at the Week 17 NFL odds and for more links to our individual game previews.

Panthers vs Saints Game Odds & Betting Preview

New Orleans Saints

The Saints have now won two consecutive games after an impressive 38-28 road win against Tennessee last weekend to improve to 12-3 on the season overall. New Orleans gave up 14 unanswered points in the first quarter but dominated both sides of the ball in the second half, outscoring the Titans 28-14 en route to a double-digit victory. QB Drew Brees went 27/38 for 279 passing yards and three touchdowns through the air while RB Alvin Kamara racked up 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Michael Thomas torched the secondary, exploding for 136 yards and a touchdown on 12 catches. As a whole, the Saints gained over 400 total yards of offense and found the end zone five times in the win.

New Orleans wasn’t that great defensively against the Titans, giving up around 400 total yards of offense and four touchdowns. The Saints had no answer for Tajae Sharpe, allowing him to haul in five receptions for 69 yards and two touchdowns.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers lost their seventh straight game last weekend, falling 38-6 on the road against Indianapolis. Carolina gave up three touchdowns in the first half alone and never recovered, scoring just two field goals the entire game. QB Will Grier struggled in his first ever start, throwing three interceptions and going 27/44 for 224 yards. Christian McCaffrey recorded 163 all-purpose yards but failed to find the end zone. TE Greg Olsen also chipped in, making two catches for 33 yards. Overall, the Panthers generated over 300 total yards of offense in the blowout loss.

Carolina had a brutal outing on the other side of the ball against the Colts, surrendering close to 350 total yards of offense and three touchdowns. The Panthers couldn’t find a way to slow down Marlon Mack and Jordan Wilkins on the ground, as they combined for 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Free NFL Betting Predictions and Pick: Saints -13

I’m leaning towards laying the 13 points and rolling with the massive road favorite in this NFC South battle, as New Orleans needs to win this game in order to clinch the #1 seed and earn a first-round bye. Carolina has really struggled on both sides of the ball over the past couple of months and are just 6-8-1 against the spread this year. Will Grier didn’t exactly have an inspiring NFL debut last weekend, getting picked off three times and failing to throw a single touchdown pass. He could be in for another long afternoon against an improved Saints defense that has only given up an average of 22 points per game through their first 15 outings.

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It is also important to note that New Orleans have really dominated this NFC South rivalry in recent years, winning two out of their last three meetings with the Panthers. Carolina is just 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games overall and only 2-8-1 ATS over their last eleven outings during the month of December. On the other side, the Saints are a rock-solid 10-3 against the spread over their last 13 games overall. They are also a perfect 6-0 against the spread in their last six road outings as well. I’m going to lay the almost two touchdowns and take a shot with New Orleans on Sunday afternoon in a game they need to win outright – give me the Saints to cover!