Carolina Panthers (11-0) at New Orleans Saints (4-7)
The Panthers were favored by 3.5 on the early line for this one, but the line has since shifted to 7 in favor of the Panthers. Ordinarily I like to fade significant week-to-week line movements, but I think this line just caught up with how good the Panthers are and how big of a talent disparity there is between the two teams. The Panthers rank 2nd in rate of moving the chains differential, while the Saints rank 21st. The Saints used to have a big homefield advantage, 35-19 ATS at home since 2008 (3-0 ATS as home underdogs), excluding the season when Sean Payton wasn’t coaching, but they are just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 home games. The last time they were at home, they lost in overtime to a Tennessee team that is just 2-9 this season. The magic seems to have disappeared and the Saints should have a lot of trouble with a very good Carolina team. This line is accurate.
With that in mind, I like the Panthers, because they’re in a good spot. They host the Falcons next week, a game they’ll be favored by 8.5 in, and favorites of 6+ or more are 80-42 ATS since 2012 before a game in which they will be 6+ point favorites again. It makes sense that good teams would be able to take care of business without any upcoming distractions and blow out an inferior opponent. It also helps that they’re in their 2nd of two road games.
Road favorites off of a road win are 44-31 ATS since 2008, as long as they are in their 2nd of two road games. 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 218-218 straight up in their 2nd of two road games since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 0.44 points per game, as opposed to 307-428 straight up in their 1st of one road game since 2008, getting outscored by an average of 2.93 points per game. There’s not quite enough for me to be confident in the Panthers with the line this high, but they should be the right side.
Carolina Panthers 27 New Orleans Saints 17
Pick against the spread: Carolina -7