The New Orleans Saints have won two straight games, cashing as
home favorites against the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears. Sean
Payton’s club now marches east for Sunday’s Week 4 battle against the Jacksonville
Sportsbooks opened New Orleans as an eight-point favorite, with
early wagers on Jacksonville dropping the number to 6.5. NFL odds makers
first set the ‘total’ at 46.5, which has now dropped to 45.5 on most boards after initial
NFL betting action.
Brees bails out Saints defense with late TDs
New Orleans rallied from a late 26-17 deficit to pull off last Sunday’s
40-33 win as a 3.5-point home favorite against the Houston Texans. Saints
running back Mark Ingram reached the end zone from 13 yards out with 2:42
remaining, while quarterback Drew Brees tossed three touchdowns in the second
Brees finished with 370 passing yards, completing 31-of-44
attempts. The 32-year-old recorded two interceptions, while guiding the
offense to 27 first downs in its 30 minutes of possession.
The Saints’ defense surrendered 473 total yards, with 364 coming
through the air. New Orleans’ Leigh Torrence and Turk McBride logged one
sack each, while linebacker Lonn Dunbar recorded a team-high six tackles.
The contest’s combined 73 points soared ‘over’ the ‘total’ of 51.5
thanks to both foes uniting for 37 points in the fourth quarter. Saints
tackle Zach Strief left the matchup with a leg injury and is listed as
“questionable” to return against the Jaguars.
Jags unable to hold on at Carolina
Jacksonville gave up 11 unanswered points in Sunday’s second half
against the Carolina Panthers, losing the duel, 16-10, as a 3.5-point road
dog. Rainy weather conditions hindered both clubs in moving the ball,
with the Jaguars unable to even reach Carolina’s red zone.
Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert connected on 12-of-21 passes for
139 yards. The Missouri alum made his first NFL start, tossing one
touchdown in Jacksonville’s 30 minutes of possession.
Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew piled in 122 of his squad’s 129
rushing yards. The Oakland native added 45 receiving yards to his
season-high day, making three catches.
The Jaguars’ defense held Carolina to 158 passing yards, forcing
the Panthers to punt eight times. Jacksonville’s Terrence Knighton
notched a team-high six tackles, helping to keep Carolina out of the end zone
on two of its three journeys inside the 20-yard line.
The tight affair’s combined 26 points plunged below the ‘total’ of
42.5, bringing the ‘under’ to 3-0 in Jacksonville’s first three games.
Jags placekicker Josh Scobee hit a 53-yard field goal in a 1-for-1 day.
Back the Jags to cash as home dogs
Sunday’s kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET). The early
weather forecast at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field (Grass surface) calls for a
high of 76 degrees, with 13 mph winds.
This handicapper is taking the points with
Jacksonville, looking for the Saints to miss covering with some home-road
New Orleans piled on its last two wins at home in its dome, but
should face a tougher challenge with Jacksonville’s environment. The
Saints went 3-6 ATS last year in its nine road games, while also dropping this
season’s road opener in a 42-34 loss as 4.5-point dogs against the Green Bay
Jacksonville’s sole victory this season came at home in Week 1,
edging out the Tennessee Titans (Titans play the Browns in week 4), 16-14, to cash as one-point ‘chalk.’ The
Jaguars’ defense held Tennessee to 43 rushing yards and kept the Titans’
offense off the field, giving their own club 40 minutes of possession.
This spot sets up the Saints to be in for a long day, while
Gabbert will have clearer weather conditions than last week to show more of
what he has for Jacksonville. The rookie should have his chances to move
the ball against New Orleans, whose defense ranks 27th against the
pass allowing 282 YPG.
Saints have historically been overvalued against lesser foes, going 1-9 ATS in
its last 10 games against clubs with a losing record. Look for the
underachieving Jaguars to keep it close here, coming alive with a chance for
their best game of the season.