Underdog & Desperate Falcons Will Beat Saints Outright on TNF

matt ryan falcons

David Schwab

Wednesday, December 6, 2017 1:21 PM UTC

Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017 1:21 PM UTC

A heated rivalry in the NFC South kicks off Week 14 of the NFL season with the 9-3 New Orleans Saints going on the road to Mercedes-Benz Stadium to tangle with the 7-5 Atlanta Falcons on NBC’s Thursday Night Football.

Free NFL Pick: Falcons +2Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons (+2, 53)

The Saints returned to their winning ways last Sunday with an important 31-21 victory against division foe Carolina to take over sole possession of first place in the NFC South. They also covered the spread in that win as 5.5-point home favorites to improve to 7-5 against the spread. The total went OVER 47.5 points and it has gone OVER in three of their last four games. New Orleans heads to Atlanta at 4-2 ATS in six previous road games.

Veteran quarterback Drew Brees has the Saints’ passing game ranked third in the NFL in yards per game (266.0), but the big difference with this offense from last season has been a running game behind Mark Ingram and rookie back Alvin Kamara that is also ranked third with 142.6 rushing yards per game. New Orleans has also stepped things up on defense with a unit that is now 12th in the league in both yards and points allowed.

This may be more of a must-win game for Atlanta coming off Sunday’s 14-9 loss to Minnesota as a 2-point home favorite. At 7-5 SU (5-7 ATS) in the highly competitive NFC playoff race, the Falcons’ margin for error over the next four weeks has been trimmed when it comes to their chances to make a return trip to the postseason. The total stayed well UNDER the closing 48.5-point line against the Vikings, and it has stayed UNDER in six of their last nine games. Atlanta is now an even 3-3 ATS this season when playing at home.

With reigning league MVP Matt Ryan under center, Falcons are ranked 11th in the league in passing yards. Julio Jones remains his top target with 68 receptions for 1,063 yards, but he has only posted three touchdown catches on the year. Atlanta is also 11th in rushing yards behind the duo of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. When it comes to defense, the Falcons are eighth in the NFL in yards allowed, but they slip to 13th when it comes to points allowed (20.3).

Game Betting Trends
  • The Saints have gone 12-2 ATS in their last 14 NFC South games and they are 13-3 ATS in their last 16 games on the road. The total has stayed UNDER or ended as a PUSH in their last five Thursday games.
  • The Falcons are 5-2 ATS in their last seven division games and they have covered in six of their last seven games on a Thursday. The total has gone OVER or ended as a PUSH in seven of their last eight games in the NFC South.
  • Head-to-head in this heated division matchup, Atlanta has won four of the last six meetings SU and the total has stayed UNDER in six of the Falcons’ last eight home games against the Saints.

Free Game Prediction

Both teams have quite a bit to gain (and lose) on Thursday night, which should automatically make this one of the better TNF games of the year. With such a tight spread on the board at SBR Odds, I think the best value is with the home team getting two points. Atlanta already has the SU edge in this matchup over the past few seasons and I am banking on another SU win night as my top NFL pick.

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