We ended up breaking even last week with our NFL prop picks, but this week’s NFL betting odds opens with a juicy Thursday matchup between the Saints and Panthers. Both teams really need this win on the short week. NFL season props record: 61-43-2
Drew Brees O/U 315.5 Passing Yards
Brees has been putting up big numbers once again this season and has led the Saints (4-5) to four wins in their last six games after losing starting 0-3. Now the Saints are in a position where they have to win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the Panthers’ defense is likely going to cede plenty of opportunities for Brees and Co. to do just that.
This game being on a short week should also help Brees’ line. That it's on the road might help even more. So far this season when the Saints are on the road, Brees is averaging nearly 42 pass attempts per game.
I expect to see Brees throwing the ball all over the field, and while he probably won’t match the line he put up against the Panthers at home earlier in the season (465 yards, 4 TDs), the Panthers have had some really poor performances in 2016 against high-volume passing attacks. The Saints are about as high volume of a passing attack as you can get, and with Brees being on the road look for the over here.
NFL Free Pick: 'Over' 315.5 (-130)
Best Lines Offered Both Props: Bovada
Brandin Cooks O/U 67.5 Receiving Yards
Brees has done a good job of spreading the ball around to his arsenal of receivers and while Cooks has not been super consistent, he has been efficient. He is catching close to two out of every three targets from Brees and has stellar yards-per-target numbers of 10.36.
Even though Cooks is only seeing about six or seven targets per game, most of those are long balls. Cooks has at least one catch of a minimum of 20 yards over his last three weeks, and if we can get one or two of those the 'over' is going to cash for Cooks.
We have already established that I really like Brees and his yards total, so naturally I should like the 'over' here with Cooks. The Saints' speedster burned the Panthers earlier in the season for seven catches and 173 yards. While I doubt we get to half of that, even 40 percent of that game is still enough to cash the 'over' here in the NFL odds.