After three straight wins, the New Orleans Saints are ready to be welcomed back by their adoring public. They'll be a popular NFL pick against the Tennessee Titans.
Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 1: 25-21-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-26 Total
Less than a month ago, I called the New Orleans Saints “hapless.” Apparently someone found their secret stash of hap, because the Saints have won three games in a row to climb back to respectability at 4-4 SU and 4-3-1 ATS. Good for them. Getting those injured players in the secondary back on the field has helped; so did getting QB Drew Brees back in fighting form, as evidenced by his record-tying seven TD passes last week against the New York Giants.
Now that the Saints are back on the good foot, you'd better believe their legion of fans is back on the case, ready to throw a few bucks at their favorite team. Over the past 30 days, New Orleans has climbed all the way to No. 7 on the public money charts, and they're bound to climb even higher as they prepare to host the downtrodden Tennessee Titans this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS). Tennessee is No. 31 in public money this past month, because Tennessee.
Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence
This game has all the earmarks of a classic “sharps versus squares” battle. At least it will, assuming QB Marcus Mariota (knee) is able to make his return for the Titans. We were willing to put Tennessee in our NFL picks last week against the Houston Texans (–3.5 at home), even though Zach Mettenberger was starting for the Titans. Hoo-boy, that was a bad football game. Mettenberger got sacked seven times as Houston prevailed 20-6.
There's enough uncertainty about Mariota's return for this game to be circled at most locations on our NFL odds. But the Titans are available as 8-point road dogs as we go to press, and the word on the street is that Mariota should be good to go for Week 9. Granted, Tennessee still has issues with its offensive line, and most of us here at the home office have soured on Ken Whisenhunt as a head coach – great offensive mind, though. Getting Mariota back in action should help make everyone look better, and that Titans defense is still very impressive.
None of that is going to sound very appealing to recreational bettors. They tend to bet on “large-market” franchises with national followings, preferably with big-armed quarterbacks who appear in television commercials. Nice uniforms help, too. Make those teams big favorites over guys like the Titans (1-6 SU, 3-4 ATS), and watch the betting public stampede to the virtual ticket window.
So which side will we be on here at the ranch? That remains to be seen, but since the Saints are so popular, and since we might be inclined to make the contrarian pick, we'll wait until later in the week for an update on Mariota's status, some more info from our consensus reports, and hopefully a better price on Tennessee. In the meantime, may the prolate spheroid be with you.