After taking their bye week and firing their defensive co-ordinator, the New Orleans Saints should get plenty of public support as a hot NFL pick versus the Houston Texans.
Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 25: 43-37-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 24-31 Total
Look who finally showed up to the party. Three weeks ago, we thought the betting public was about to unload on the New Orleans Saints. They had just won three games in a row, and Drew Brees had just thrown seven touchdown passes against the New York Giants. Not only that, the Saints were playing the very small-market Tennessee Titans. Surely this was the right time for recreational bettors to renew their love affair with the Big Easy.
Yeah, that didn't happen. According to our archived consensus reports, the Saints were one of the least attractive teams on the Week 9 NFL odds board. Business did start to pick up in Week 10 against Washington, but it was still a pretty quiet day at the ticket window – and just as well, since New Orleans lost both those games SU and ATS.
Things are different now. The Saints (4-6 SU, 4-5-1 ATS) are coming off the bye week, they've fired defensive co-ordinator Rob Ryan, and people are investing heavily in New Orleans with their Week 12 NFL picks. Our latest reports show 51 percent of bettors on the Saints as 3-point road dogs for Sunday's matchup (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) with the Houston Texans, and those bettors are supplying over 88 percent of the action, for an average bet size of $1,010 on New Orleans. Ka-ching.
This being Thanksgiving Week, we expect a spike in public action, so that old chestnut about big money being sharp money should carry a little less weight. That doesn't necessarily mean the sharps are avoiding New Orleans; 62 percent of first responders were on the Saints when the lines opened. However, most of us here at the home office doubt that the Texans (5-5 SU and ATS) will generate much action during the weekend rush. They're No. 25 on the public money charts this year.
There won't be a weekend rush for the three Turkey Day games. When we looked at the plausible sharp action for Week 12, our consensus reports showed several megatons of money landing on both the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles for their respective games. That's still the case as we go to press, but in contrast to the Saints-Texans matchup, first responders were on the other side when the lines first opened. The Carolina Panthers (now +1.5 away) were getting 61-percent support versus Dallas, and the Detroit Lions (now –1.5 at home) drew 52 percent of early bettors against Philadelphia.
When we're reading the consensus tealeaves and sorting out the square action, it's always better to have as many of our usual criteria met as possible. In this case, given the early consensus figures, we feel more comfortable about the squareness of the Cowboys and Eagles than the Saints. But with those first two teams playing Thursday, there isn't much time left for the public to move those betting lines. New Orleans will bring three extra days of chalky build-up to NRG Stadium. Bet accordingly, and may the prolate spheroid be with you.