Lay the Chalk for Saints vs. Steelers Week 13 NFL Picks

Nikki Adams

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 9:00 PM GMT

Playoff destinies hang in the balance when the New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers collide in a must win game on week 13's NFL betting board for both sides. Which side will triumph on Sunday? Find out as we breakdown the matchup and NFL odds, and serve up our NFL picks.

New Orleans Saints Lose Three In A Row
Colour the world shocked. The unthinkable has happened: New Orleans Saints have lost three in a row at home for the first time in almost ten years. Is it really that surprising when they are enjoying a losing  SU record this term, every game (both home and away) a struggle to win since the start of the season. Granted they were the home chalk across sportsbook platforms, but public betting trends revealed no such consensus, divided between the Ravens and Saints almost equally.

Monday's highly-anticipated clash between the Baltimore Ravens and New Orleans Saints lived up to the hype. It was nerve-wracking, back-and-forth action from beginning to end as both sides traded taking the lead in the first half. Saints went into the second half with the slim 17-14 edge, but the Ravens quickly drew level and then a costly interception gave the Ravens the go-head score, after which they ran away (literally) with the game to win 34-27 as the 3-point road dogs. Running back Justin Forsett ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns to seal the Saints' third straight loss at the Superdome.

Drew Brees had a good showing completing 35-of-45 passes for 420 yards and three touchdowns, albeit he was intercepted once and sacked four times. Overall, the Saints accounted for more total offensive yards than the Ravens (525-to-449). They passed for 399 yards to the Ravens' 234 yards but were outgained on the ground 215-to-126. On third down efficiency, they were just 5-12 while the Ravens were 9-13. The Achilles heel, though, was defense, which was simply left reeling on the field by Joe Flacco and the Ravens and had absolutely no answers for the ever charging Justin Forsett.

Those defensive woes are symptomatic of their 4-7 SU season, their undoing in each and every loss and it's a weakness that the Steelers are sure to exploit at the weekend. On the bright side, the New Orleans are still in the running for a playoff spot, largely down to the shambles the NFC South is in with all teams underachieving something huge. Beggars belief that one of these poor performers will see into the postseason.

 

Pittsburgh Steelers Look To Continue Winning Form
Pittsburgh Steelers are mired in a very competitive AFC North division, stuck on a two-way tie for second place behind a 7-4 SU record (4-1 at home). Steelers are coming off a win against the Titans in week 11 NFL betting followed by a bye in week 12. The Steelers have won four of their last five games and they also boast a three-game winning streak at home, which includes outscoring opposition by 124-to-80 for a 44-point differential or a 14.6-margin of victory on average.

The Steelers were slow out of the gates, inconsistent at the start of the season as they oscillated between a win and a loss through the first six games. In week 7 they finally found form. Beating Houston 30-23, they went on to eviscerating Indianapolis 51-34 and Baltimore 43-23. A hiccup against the New York Jets in week 10 ensued, prompting NFL bettors to contemplate whether the Steelers were about to regress into inconsistency again. But a resounding come-from-behind 27-24 win against the Tennessee Titans on the road rejuvenated their stock in NFL betting markets.

 

NFL Betting Verdict: Steelers -4.0 over Saints
Two sides enjoying contrasting fortunes collide in this game. Not only that there are clear home and away trends that are defining in this matchup. If all those aspects hold true, handicapping this game is going to be rather straight forward.

Saints are not only off form but they also are struggling conspicuously on the road. They are just 1-4 SU on their travels this season, breaking the duck only recently with the 28-10 win over the hapless Carolina Panthers in week 9. And they are 2-3 ATS on the road in 2014, extending their run of poor form against the spread to a debilitating 5-10 record since 2013 (marking one of the worst ATS performers in the league. Only the Falcons are worse on the road over the same span). None of those glaring NFL betting trends serve a ringing endorsement of their underdog NFL odds for your picks.

There's an argument to be had about intangibles: motivation to win the division and make the playoffs. That they are still in play augurs well, and with just a month or so left on the season they simply must turn things around.  Of course, that motivation should have been there from the start of the season. Even midway through the season when their divisional rivals were floundering, instead of rising to the occasion they floundered along with the rest. Repeated opportunities to capitalise have gone begging, as evinced by their abysmal record and current three-straight losses at home. If said motivation failed to spur them to victory previously, how is it going to all of a sudden spur them to the unlikely victory at Heinz Arena. Hard to imagine. Not least because the Steelers are playing much better football on both sides of the ball and nowhere more so than on home turf. Take the Steelers on your NFL picks as the 4-point home chalk.

NFL Picks: Steelers -4.0 at Bookmaker

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