New Orleans Saints (0-1) at Carolina Panthers (0-1)
I thought the Saints would be alright even after the offseason they just had. Their defensive losses weren’t huge (Will Smith was even reinstated for the opener and Jonathan Vilma is incredibly overrated) and the loss of the coaches would mostly effect the offense, where Drew Brees would function well as a stabilizing force. They certainly didn’t look alright in the opener, losing to home, where they won all 9 games last year, and while they may be better later in the season, once they have a few more games under their belt without Sean Payton, they won’t look like the normal Saints early in the season.
So can the Saints beat the Panthers in Carolina if they’re not the normal Saints? Well, they certainly could. This is still a talented team. There is a major question though as this team goes on the road. They’re a great home team, but they have trouble on the road, especially outside and especially over the past 2 years, as they are 7-11 ATS on the road and 12-5 ATS at home.
Honestly, I don’t really have a strong opinion on this. Could the Saints come out like the Packers did on Thursdsay night, kill any talk of a down year and an 0-2 start to the season and demolish a divisional rival? Sure, they could. Drew Brees is 20-12 ATS off a loss as a member of the Saints and this is a key game. He is the type of quarterback who wins key games. Could the Saints also be more dysfunctional than we thought (or as dysfunctional as they looked in the opener) and come out and struggle to beat a Carolina team that is underrated off a loss to an underrated Bucs team? Sure they could. After all, the Panthers covered as home dogs against the Saints last year and almost won, losing by just 3 and I think we can all agree, this version of the Saints is inferior.
I want to go with the Panthers because the Saints are clearly the public lean and I love “fading” the public and the Panthers almost beat the Saints last year, but something tells me, after seeing the Packers play last night, that this will be a huge statement game for the Saints, and that they aren’t as bad as they looked last week, so I’m going with Drew Brees and his 20-12 ATS record as a Saint after a loss to bounce back this week.
Public lean: New Orleans (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if Carolina covers)
New Orleans Saints 31 Carolina Panthers 27
Pick against spread: New Orleans -3 (-105) 1 unit