Saints vs. Falcons Opening Odds Report

Darin Zank

Monday, November 18, 2013 6:25 PM GMT

The Atlanta Falcons host the New Orleans Saints Thursday at the Georgia Dome. Find out where we've decided to place our money!

The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons continued along their separate ways Sunday; the Saints rallied to beat San Francisco, while the Falcons fell at Tampa. New Orleans appears to have re-captured its mojo of a few seasons ago, while Atlanta is experiencing one of those “lost” seasons.

Normally, a prime-time match-up between these division rivals would create a lot of interest, especially among bettors. Now, it just seems like another mis-match, between the 8-2 Saints and 2-8 Falcons at the Georgia Dome Thursday night (8:25 pm ET, NFL Network).

In the very early betting on this game New Orleans got a surge of action; they might even end up as double-digit favorites. Is that too much for a divisional road game?

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Surging Saints

New Orleans is in first place in the NFC South, a game and half up on 6-3 Carolina (which was playing Monday night against the Patriots). If the playoffs started this week the Saints would be the two seed in the NFC, and enjoying a week off.

New Orleans started 5-0 this year, then coughed up a game at New England. The Saints recovered to beat Buffalo, but then lost to the Jets in New Jersey. Since then they've beaten Dallas and San Francisco back-to-back at home.

Big-picture, New Orleans is a game and a half back of 10-1 Seattle in the battle for the best record in the NFC.

Fading Falcons

Over the previous three seasons Atlanta had gone 36-12; this year the Falcons, beleaguered by some key injuries and a poor defense, are 2-8. And because oddsmakers and bettors have still held a degree of regard for Atlanta, at least through the first half of the season or so, it's also just 2-8 ATS this year.

The Falcons started 1-1, then lost three games in a row. They then beat Tampa, but have since lost their last four games. The closest of those most recent losses was a 41-28 decision Sunday vs. the Bucs, and that game wasn't as close as even that score might indicate. 

Saints-Falcons By the Numbers

New Orleans ranks second in the league in total offense, second in scoring and fourth in total defense.

Atlanta ranks 14th in total offense, just 31st in rushing at 73 YPG, 26th in total defense and 30th vs. the run, allowing 133 YPG on the ground.

Saints-Falcons Recent History

New Orleans has won five of the last six meetings in this Southern-fried series. Most recently, the Saints beat the Falcons back in Week 1 of this season 23-17 at the Superdome, covering the spread as three-point favorites.

Last year these teams split their two games, each team winning in its home dome.

Saints-Falcons Opening Odds

Shortly after the completion of Sunday's games several books opened the NFL odds for this game with New Orleans favored by seven points, with a total of 52 or 53. But most books quickly bumped the Saints to -8 and even -8.5.

The Dome Factor

New Orleans is 6-4 ATS this season, but only 1-3 ATS on the road. The Saints are averaging 33 points per game at home, but 22 PPG on the road. However, Thursday's game is in a dome; New Orleans' previous four road games have all been played outdoors.

Our Take on Thursday's Game

New Orleans is a dome team, and while the crowd won't be with the Saints Thursday night, it might not be a factor at all if New Orleans can grab an early lead. In fact, this might be a tough spot for the Falcons to be playing a home game. Home crowds can turn on a team headed toward the tank, and apathy can have a disheartening effect, too.

On the field it looks like the Saints might be even better than they were when they won the Super Bowl four seasons ago. Meanwhile the Falcons seemed to have packed it in for this year. So despite what seems like a lot of points for a rivalry like this we'll go with New Orleans for our free NFL pick on this game.  

NFL Pick: Take the Saints at the -7.5 points offered at SBR Sportsbook.