NFL Betting: Saints vs. Seahawks Opening Odds Report

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 1:58 PM GMT

The New Orleans Saints have been small road dogs twice this year, but on Monday night, they’re getting six big points on the NFL lines versus the mighty Seattle Seahawks.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 23 inclusive:

27-24-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

5-8-1 Totals

Who is the best team in the National Football League? Now that the Denver Broncos have lost their second game of the season, that honor goes to the Seattle Seahawks (10-1 SU, 7-4 ATS). Not only are they on top of the NFL standings, the Seahawks will almost certainly be the No. 1 team on the efficiency charts once the numbers are in for Week 12. Bartender, a round of Big Lebrewskis for everyone.

Here’s Seattle’s dirty little secret: It’s been a very soft schedule thus far. And it only gets harder from here, starting with the next episode of Monday Night Football, when the NFC South-leading New Orleans Saints (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) come to CenturyLink Field. The Saints again? Cripes. They’ve been tougher to pin down than Andre the Giant. The Week 13 NFL betting lines have New Orleans getting six points in Seattle, with the early consensus virtually dead even. Time to go to work.

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Better Call ‘Toine

I said “almost certainly” in regard to the Seahawks and the efficiency charts because they trailed the Broncos in Estimated Wins going into Week 12, 10.5 to 8.8. Both teams had faced weak opposition up until then; Seattle was No. 29 in strength of schedule, Denver No. 31. The difference was the Broncos top-ranked offense playing at a near-historic level. The Seahawks (No. 7 offense, No. 2 defense, No. 1 special teams) can still take the No. 1 spot in overall efficiency without overtaking Denver in Estimated Wins.

Moving forward, the ‘Hawks had the No. 9-ranked remaining schedule after Week 11 – which was their bye week. And a very timely one at that. The Seattle roster is riddled with injuries on both sides of the ball, and CB Walter Thurmond has been suspended four games for violating the league's substance abuse policy. The word on the street: Demon weed. CB Brandon Browner is out with a severe groin pull, so the Seahawks are reportedly trying to coax retired CB Antoine Winfield into rejoining the team. He retired at training camp before he could be cut.

Special Update: Seahawks CB Brandon Browner is also facing a one-year suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. The Seahawks are talking to Antoine Winfield, while Marcus Trufant worked out with the team on Monday.

Lord Percy Percy

Seattle’s offensive line has also been problematic this year without Pro Bowl LT Russell Okung (foot) and RT Breno Giacomini (knee), but both men returned to action in Week 11, as did Pro Bowl center Max Unger (concussion). They allowed just one sack as the Seahawks crushed the Minnesota Vikings 41-20 as 13-point home faves. Seattle ranks No. 30 in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 9.7 percent. Those numbers should only improve from here.

Of course, the big news from Week 11 was the season debut of dynamic WR/KR Percy Harvin (hip), who had a 58-yard kick-off return and a 17-yard catch in his only two touches of the contest. Harvin was on a 20-snap limit against Minnesota; coach Pete Carroll says that limit will be lifted against New Orleans. This is big news for an offense that will miss WR Sidney Rice (torn ACL) for the rest of the season.

Couldn’t Stand the Weather

Seattle needs all the firepower it can get against a Saints team that ranked No. 4 in efficiency (No. 3 offense, No. 10 defense, No. 22 special teams) before beating the Atlanta Falcons 17-13 as 7.5-point away faves. New Orleans fell to 1-4 ATS on the road with that result; Seattle is 3-2 ATS at The Clink this year, and the long-range forecast calls for some of that famous local misery, with temperatures around the freezing mark and a 40 percent chance of precipitation.

Given how inconsistent these two teams have been against the football spreads, it might behoove you to wait for a more recent weather report, and maybe take the UNDER on the total of 46.5 points if it looks like rain. Meanwhile, I’ll recommend the team coming off the bye week. Sell that extra point for 25 cents if you can; it’s only got a fair price of 21.4 cents according to the freshly updated numbers at the Wizard of NFL Odds.

NFL Pick: Take the Seahawks –7 (+115) at 5Dimes