NFL Opening Odds Report for Thursday Night's Saints vs. Panthers

Jason Lake

Monday, October 27, 2014 12:32 PM GMT

The New Orleans Saints are on the road again in Week 9. That could spell their doom when they face the Carolina Panthers on Thursday Night Football, with Carolina opening at –2.5 on the NFL odds board.

Jason’s Record After Week 7: 22-29 ATS, 7-11-1 Totals

Profit: minus-29.68 units

 

It was the New Orleans Saints, and it was the Superdome. History tells us to add New Orleans to our NFL picks in this situation, but we didn’t want to pull the trigger on a team that was performing as poorly as the Saints have this year. We also didn’t want to fade the Green Bay Packers (who had unanimous support at the open) as 2-point road favorites. So the football gods punished us; the Packers committed a number of grievous errors Sunday night, and the wheels fell off in a 44-23 loss.

If only the Saints could make those things happen on the road. Their next game is Thursday night (8:25 p.m. ET, CBS) at The Vault against the Carolina Panthers, who nearly picked up the win over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks (–6 away) before settling for the cover in a 13-9 loss. Carolina has opened as a 2.5-point favorite at BetOnline for Thursday’s game. We don’t have enough data yet to put out a consensus report as we go to press, but don’t be surprised if Carolina gets the early nod from bettors.

 

Aaron Go Bleargh
Our opinion of Sunday night’s win over the Packers is no doubt biased, but we weren’t all that impressed. Yes, Drew Brees was his old self, going off for 311 yards and three touchdown passes without a pick. Even better, Mark Ingram rolled over Green Bay for 172 yards and a TD on 24 carries. But the Packers gave New Orleans plenty of extra opportunities by turning the ball over three times: two costly interceptions by Aaron Rodgers, who had only thrown one pick all season, and a fumble by Matt Flynn in mop-up duty.

Regardless, New Orleans improved to 9-1-1 ATS in its last 11 games at the Superdome. Now the scene shifts to the road, where the Saints are 3-9 ATS in their last 12. And they’d better be prepared for the elements: Thursday’s weather forecast calls for clear skies over Charlotte, but with light winds and temperatures dipping into the low 40s. It’s not Armageddon by any means, but it’s not climate-controlled, either. The Saints are 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS in their last six games at Carolina, regular season and playoffs.

 

Putting Out Fire with Gasoline
Meanwhile, Carolina fans are still licking their wounds after the Seahawks scored Sunday’s game-winning touchdown in the last minute. Again, this was a contest that Seattle nearly handed to the Panthers with turnovers and dropped passes and penalties. But Cam Newton handed the game back with an interception and a fumble. At least the Panthers kept the score low and cashed in the underdog-UNDER parlay.

Carolina will be the favorite this time around (assuming the NFL odds hold up), but it would certainly help the Cats if they can keep a lid on the Saints offense. However, Football Outsiders had Carolina’s defense ranked No. 29 overall (No. 27 pass, No. 29 rush) through Week 7; Pro Football Reference had it in the same ballpark at No. 28 overall (minus-6.1 SRS). That’s barely ahead of the Saints in both cases.

Instead, it looks like Carolina will have to rely on the Saints coming in and playing lousy football like Seattle did. The Seahawks have been going through some tough times in the dressing room, and they looked pretty bad without Percy Harvin out there. New Orleans doesn’t have those issues, but when that offense goes out on the road, it seems to fall apart anyway. We’ll weigh the pros and cons and come back to you later this week with our NFL picks.

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