Saints (1-0) at Panthers (0-1)
Spread: Panthers +3
Weather: No current concerns
The spread for this contest opened at Carolina Panthers +2.5 before quickly moving to its current mark of Panthers +3.
The total for this contest has bounced around quite a lot this week. It opened between 40.5 and 41.5 points at various sportsbooks. It’s since dipped as low as 39.5 while currently settling in at 40 points.
Panthers Offense vs. Saints Defense
Bryce Young struggled in his debut, throwing for just 146 yards with two interceptions in Atlanta. Part of the problem is he has one of the league’s weakest wide receiver rooms. Adam Thielen had two targets, Terrace Marshall Jr. had six and rookie Jonathan Mingo had five. Each of those wide receivers had just two receptions.
Tight end Hayden Hurst led the Panthers in targets (seven), receptions (five) and receiving yards (41). Hurst also scored the team's lone touchdown. The New Orleans Saints are a better pass defense than a run defense, so it won't be surprising if Young struggles again in this matchup.
Miles Sanders had 72 rushing yards on 18 carries to go with four receptions for 26 yards on six targets. Sanders' volume was great, but Chuba Hubbard had a significant role, too. Hubbard had nine carries for 60 yards while catching his two targets for nine yards. The Saints allowed the ninth-most rushing yards to running backs last season.
Saints Offense vs. Panthers Defense
Derek Carr threw for 305 yards in his Saints debut. Chris Olave led the way with eight receptions on 10 targets for 112 receiving yards. Michael Thomas was next with eight targets, finishing with five receptions for 61 yards. Rashid Shaheed caught five passes for 89 yards and a score.
Last season, the Panthers allowed the fourth-most yards to opposing wide receivers. Carolina will likely be without its best cornerback Jaycee Horn.
Jamaal Williams was the primary running back in Week 1, ending up with 18 carries and two targets. He only had 45 rushing yards against the Tennessee Titans' premium front last week. Williams has a much better matchup against the Panthers, who allowed the 15th-most rushing yards last year.
What You’re Betting On
We expected Young to struggle in the first half of the season. He has a below-average supporting cast on offense and has a difficult early schedule. That continues this week against the Saints.
If you’re betting on the Panthers in this spot, you are building that stance around a home underdog playing their best football in primetime. Offensively, you need a clean game while the defense keeps this one close. Horn will likely miss this contest, meaning the rest of the Panthers’ secondary has to step up.
A bet on the Saints is on a solid, veteran team favored on the road in this contest. Offensively, New Orleans has solid matchups on the ground and in their passing attack. As long as Carr plays well, the Saints’ offense is in good shape against Carolina.
Defensively, the Panthers will be without their two starting guards in this contest. New Orleans’ pass rush is not what it once was, but this should be able to control the interior in this matchup. If the Saints play well, they should beat the rebuilding Panthers.
Score Prediction: Saints 20, Panthers 17
Ryan’s Recent Betting Record
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 48-32
ATS 2023: 2-3
Props 2022: 60-40
Props 2023: 2-1
Ryan Reynolds is the associate director of fantasy and betting at The 33rd Team. He has watched every snap of every NFL game since 2014 and has been covering NFL betting markets for five years. Follow him @RyanReynoldsNFL on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.