Everything to know about betting Saints-Falcons
Guys, guess what?! We finally have a Thursday Night Football game worth watching.
REPEAT: We finally have a Thursday Night Football game worth watching. It’s got playoff implications and everything!
We feel the same way, which is why we cobbled together all the great minds at the Action Network to supply this extra-special betting preview.
Just don’t get used to it. Next week’s matchup? Broncos-Colts. Oof.
SAINTS AT FALCONS (-2.5) | O/U: 51.5
Betting market: After Bookmaker.eu opened Atlanta as 2-point home favorites, money quickly jumped on New Orleans and moved them up to 2-point favorites as recently as Wednesday morning. Since peaking at +2, Atlanta backers have shown up and pushed the line back to Falcons -2.5 at the market-setting sportsbooks, as of mid-day Thursday.
While books have taken two-way action on the spread, there’s a clear sharp vs. public divide on tonight’s total. The majority of the tickets are on the over, while the bigger money has come in on the under (see chart below). In addition, our Bet Signals data triggered a Steam Move on the under at 52.5, helping explain the drop from an opener of 55 to the current number of 51.5. — PJ Walsh
Trends to know: Why are sharps all over the under? Consider: In the past 15 seasons, 22 Thursday Night Football totals opened above 50. The Under is 14-7-1 in those contests. Oh, and as a bonus, there’s this: Matt Ryan has gone 11-4 ATS as a home underdog. — Evan Abrams and John Ewing
Injuries to watch: The Falcons defense is getting healthier with the return of lockdown cornerback Desmond Trufant and slot corner Brian Poole, but the offense will be without starting guard Andy Levitre (triceps, out). The Saints are without their own starting guard Andrus Peat (groin, out), and left tackle Terron Armstead (thigh/shoulder, questionable) could join Peat on the sideline. The Saints look like they’ll be getting back two key defensive backs, safety Marcus Williams (groin, questionable) and corner Marshon Lattimore (ankle, questionable), as the duo practiced all week. Adam Schefter confirmed Thursday morning that Mark Ingram (toe, questionable) is expected to play despite not practicing all week, but a limited Ingram could lead to a more Alvin Kamara than usual against Atlanta’s 31st-ranked rush defense in DVOA. — Ian Hartitz
Did you know? Over the past 10 seasons, no QB has covered the number against good teams at a higher rate than Drew Brees. He’s 43-22-3 ATS against opponents over .500 during that span, ahead of Russell Wilson (22-10-2 ATS), and Tom Brady (34-23-4 ATS). — Evan Abrams
DFS edge: Julio Jones has played fewer than 80 percent of snaps in consecutive weeks, but his status as the only receiver averaging more than three yards per route run makes up for his sporadic attendance. He’ll be in for a battle against rookie sensation Marshon Lattimore, assuming PFF’s No. 3 overall cornerback is able to play (ankle, questionable). Still, any injured/limited corner could have trouble slowing down one of just three active receivers averaging 20-plus DraftKings PPG at home since 2014. For whatever it’s worth, Lattimore has only shadowed two receivers in his career, but he did so successfully both times against Davante Adams (2-12-0) and Brandin Cooks (2-37-0). — Ian Hartitz
Expert pick: One predictive tool I use to handicap football is net yards per play. The Falcons actually have a slightly better net YPP spread than the Saints, implying this game should be closer to a PK on a neutral field — and at least Falcons -3 after accounting for home-field advantage. The Saints’ key injuries along the O-line and Atlanta’s effective third-down offense gave the Falcons some value at -1 on Thursday morning. The mid-day shift to Falcons -2.5 is closer to reality, but still undervalues Atlanta a little bit. — Stuckey