Dec 202015

Detroit Lions (4-9) at New Orleans Saints (5-8)

The Saints were favored by just 1.5 points over the Lions on the early line last week, but have since jumped to 3 point favorites, following their upset victory in Tampa Bay and the Lions’ upset loss in St. Louis. That’s a significant line movement, considering about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal. Ordinarily, I love to fade significant line movements whenever it makes sense, as they tend to be overreactions to a single week of play, but it doesn’t really make sense here, as the Saints are a better team, ranking 15th in rate of moving the chains differential, as opposed to 24th for Detroit. This line suggests these two teams are even.

The Lions are helped by the fact that they are in their 2nd of two road games though. Teams are 126-91 ATS as road underdogs off a road loss since 2008, including 103-63 ATS when it’s their 2nd of 2 road games. Historically, teams cover at about a 65% rate in that situation.  This is because teams tend to do better in their 2nd straight road game than their first one, but lines don’t really adjust for this. Teams are 222-222 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.45 points per game, as opposed to 317-433 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 2.75 points per game. I’m still taking the Saints, but this is a no confidence pick. This game has a high likelihood of a push.

New Orleans Saints 31 Detroit Lions 27

Pick against the spread: New Orleans -3

Confidence: None

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