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Jameis Winston of the New Orleans Saints throws the ball prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Jameis Winston of the New Orleans Saints throws the ball prior to the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images via AFP.

It’s been a rough start for the winless Carolina Panthers, who hope to right the ship at home in an important divisional matchup against the New Orleans Saints. Here are our top picks as the 0-2 Panthers host the 1-1 Saints in Week 3.

Unlucky would be putting it lightly when it comes to describing the Panthers’ season so far, as a couple of late fourth quarter field goals have been the slim difference between winning and losing. Things were supposed to be different this year with the acquisition of quarterback Baker Mayfield and the return-to-health of star running back Christian McCaffrey, but Carolina’s search for victory continues.

On the other side of the card stands an underwhelming Saints squad with a .500 record. There’s been good news out of New Orleans practise this week with star back Alvin Kamara returning from a rib injury, but quarterback Jameis Winston was limited as he continues to work through four fractured vertebrae.

Here are our top Saints-Panthers NFL picks for Week 3 (odds via Caesars Sportsbook, BetRivers Sportsbook, DraftKings Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

Saints vs. Panthers Game Info

Date: Sunday, Sept. 25, 1 p.m. ET
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
Weather: 84 degrees, 40% chance of precipitation, 9-mph winds

Saints vs. Panthers Odds Analysis

The Over/Under opened up at 42.5 before dropping to its current total of 41 as of Thursday afternoon, with 63% of the tickets and a staggering 92% of the cash banking on the Over.

The Saints opened as 2.5-point favorites, and the spread has slightly risen to -3.

Saints vs. Panthers Picks

  • Panthers ML (+135 via Caesars Sportsbook) ★★★★
  • Over 41 (-108 via BetRivers Sportsbook) ★★★★★
  • Robbie Anderson Over 36.5 Receiving Yards (-115 via DraftKings Sportsbook) ★★★★

Saints vs. Panthers ATS Pick

Panthers ML (+135) ★★★★

The Panthers are far from a Super Bowl contender, but they’re better than their 0-2 record would indicate. One of their greatest advantages heading into Week 3 is their health, with only McCaffrey missing practise for load management purposes.

The Saints cannot say the same as Winston is hanging by a thread injury-wise, and his departure would see some kind of uninspiring Andy Dalton/Taysom Hill combination under center. On top of health issues, New Orleans just hasn’t looked like a very good football team. 

Winston has already been sacked 10 times through the first two games, which is the second most in the NFL. He also threw three interceptions in the fourth quarter last week before falling 20-10 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina may be the underdog, but this is also a juicy home matchup against a battered Saints squad.

Saints vs. Panthers O/U Pick

Over 41 (-108) ★★★★★

This total is definitely on the lower end for a game that could easily turn into a shootout. These teams have allowed a combined 91 points through their first two games, while scoring just a bit less. 

Neither of these defenses are among the best in the league, and both sides feature wideouts and running backs with big play ability. Hitting the Over seems very likely.

Saints vs. Panthers Prop Pick

Anderson Over 36.5 Receiving Yards (-115) ★★★★

When thinking about some of the truest boom-or-bust receivers in the NFL, Robby Anderson naturally comes to mind. On the weeks he’s noticeable, you can’t miss him as he makes highlight-reel catches en route to long touchdowns.

On his down weeks, he tends to disappear although his receiving yard floor can still remain safe. Last year, he eclipsed 36.5 receiving yards just seven times in 17 games, but he was also relying on former starting slinger Sam Darnold.

Mayfield isn’t necessarily the cream of the crop, but he’s a massive upgrade who has targeted Anderson 13 times for eight receptions and 134 receiving yards through two weeks. Against the Saints’ defense, this prop should be one you can lock-and-load.

Where to Bet on Saints vs. Panthers Picks

  Here are our top-rated sportsbooks:  

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Saints-Panthers picks made 9/22/2022 at 3:00 p.m. ET