Opening Spread: Saints -4.
Opening Game Total: 43.
Opening Team Totals: Saints (23.5), Falcons (19.5).
The Line Report
- This line opened as Saints -4.
- This line has moved to Saints -4.5.
- DraftKings Pick’Em has the Saints -4.5.
- Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Saints -3.5.
- This total opened at 43 points.
- This total has moved to 42.5 points.
Saints: Questionable: TE Juwan Johnson, TE Adam Trautman, LB Pete Werner, CB Marshon Lattimore.
Saints Offense vs. Falcons Defense
I have the Saints tiered as a top-ten offensive line. I have the Falcons defensive front ranked as a bottom-tier group. The Saints offensive line has a significant advantage in this contest.
Betting Notes Per TruMedia
- The Saints are 5-8 against the spread this season.
- The Saints are 6-7 on overs this season.
- Andy Dalton is 81-71-6 against the spread in his career.
- Andy Dalton is 80-77-1 on overs in his career.
- Dennis Allen is 19-29-1 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Dennis Allen is 22-26-1 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Saints are scoring 20.4 points per game, which is 21st in the league.
- New Orleans is tenth in the league in yards passing per game and 21st in yards rushing.
- Per Sports Info Solutions, the Saints are passing on 61% of their plays and running on 39% of plays.
- Andy Dalton remains the Saints starting quarterback.
- Per the Edge, Alvin Kamara saw elite usage both as a runner and a pass catcher throughout October. November into early December has been a different story, as Kamara has failed to breach 50 yards rushing in any of his last five games. Kamara’s passing game usage has been solid over that span, but still significantly less from his October surge.
- It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if Kamara were a big part of this week’s game plan against Atlanta.
- Chris Olave has 60 receptions for 887 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Olave has a 25.7% target share and a 43.2% air yards share.
- Since his return to action in mid-November, Jarvis Landry hasn’t exceeded four receptions or 40 yards receiving in any of those four games.
- Juwan Johnson has a 13% target share, and a 12.8% air yards share on the season.
- The Falcons have allowed 24 points per game, which is 22nd in the league.
- Per The Edge, the Falcons have allowed the eighth-most yards rushing per game and the 17th-most yards receiving per game to running backs this season.
- Atlanta has given up the sixth-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year.
- Atlanta has given up the eighth-most PPR points per game to perimeter receivers and the tenth-most to those lined up in the slot.
- The Falcons have allowed the fourth-most yards receiving per game to tight ends this season.
- The Falcons have allowed the eighth-most PPR points per game to inline tight ends.
Falcons Offense vs. Saints Defense
I have the Falcons offensive line ranked as a fringe top-ten unit. I have the Saints defensive front tiered as a league-average group. I’m treating this trench matchup as a relative draw.
Betting Notes Per TruMedia
- The Falcons are 7-6 against the spread this season.
- The Falcons are 7-6 on overs this season.
- Desmond Ridder is making his first NFL start.
- Arthur Smith is 13-16-1 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Arthur Smith is 14-16 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Falcons are scoring 22.2 points per game, which is 16th in the league.
- Atlanta is 31st in the league in yards passing per game and fourth in yards rushing.
- The Falcons are passing on 49% of their plays and running on 51% of plays, per Sports Info Solutions.
- No. 74 overall pick Desmond Ridder will make his first NFL start this week. I’m lower than consensus on Ridder as an NFL prospect.
- Per the Edge, since his early November return, Cordarrelle Patterson has at least ten carries in four of five games, but he’s only had more than two targets once during that span.
- Since Patterson’s return, Tyler Allgeier has at least eight carries in all five of those contests.
- Drake London has a 27.9% target share this season, and he’s coming off a 12-target game, but he’s only breached 50 yards receiving in four games this year. Three of those came in the first three games, and the other came last week.
- The Saints have allowed 22.8 points per game, which is 17th in the league.
- Per The Edge, the Saints have allowed the 14th-most yards rushing per game and the 25th-most yards receiving per game to running backs this season.
- New Orleans has given up the 15th-most yards receiving per game to wide receivers this year.
- The Saints have allowed the fourth-fewest yards receiving per game to tight ends this season.
This Is What You’re Betting On in Falcons vs. Saints
The Saints beat the Falcons 27-26 in Atlanta on opening day.
The Saints have lost a lot of tough games this year, many of them to significant opponents. Based on their roster, the Saints' ceiling is higher than their 4-9 record would indicate. New Orleans has struggled offensively in recent weeks, as they’ve been held under 20 points in four of their last five games. If you’re betting on New Orleans, you expect their offense to at least meet expectations against the Falcons' very beatable defense. Andy Dalton is the most stable option the Saints have at quarterback, but it would be no surprise if Dalton were pulled if the offense continues to struggle against Atlanta.
If you’re betting on the Saints, you’re building that bet on their still solid defense, at home, against Desmond Ridder in his first NFL start. We can reasonably expect your standard backup quarterback game plan where Atlanta will continue to be run-heavy while giving Ridder some early layups with a shot play mixed in somewhere early to keep the defense honest. That said, the Falcons are asking a lot out of Ridder here. Your biggest concern as a Saints bettor is that the Falcons play a clean game on offense while New Orleans’ offense continues to underwhelm.
The Falcons are still very much alive in the NFC South race, but they have turned to third-round rookie Desmond Ridder to take over at quarterback. I’m lower than consensus on Ridder as an NFL prospect. With Atlanta coming off their bye, you have to expect a little more aggression through the air with the shift to Ridder. If not, I’ll be throwing the word malpractice around a bit next week.
If you’re betting on Atlanta, you can’t be supremely confident about Ridder making his NFL debut in the Superdome. In general, the Falcons have been competitive despite their many roster limitations. That said, their once exploitable pass defense has been better in recent weeks. Part of that progress can be chalked up to facing the Steelers, Commanders, Bears, and Panthers over the last month. If you’re betting on the Falcons, the Saints passing attack fits rather neatly into that cluster of offenses that Atlanta has played well against.
Your biggest concern as a Falcons bettor is extraordinarily obvious: Desmond Ridder could easily bomb in his NFL debut in New Orleans. Your second biggest concern is that the Saints are a more talented team than Atlanta at virtually every position group.
Falcons vs. Saints Pool Picks and Other Bets
Awards Market Ramifications: Chris Olave is an Offensive Rookie of the Year contender.
Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’m going to take the Saints in my winner pools, and I expect to be a little higher than consensus on this game in my confidence pool rankings.
Spread Pool: I would take Saints -3, but I’m much less enthusiastic about taking them as a -3.5 to -4.5 favorite. Still, I will take the Saints' side or pass here.
Survivor Pool: The Saints are not an unreasonable option in survivor pools, considering that it’s Week 15 and your available options are getting narrower by the week.
Ryan’s recent betting record
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 43-22
Props 2022: 43-29
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