New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
Sunday, 9/7/14, 1:00 PM EST
Opening Point Spread: Atlanta -1.5
Current Betting Line: Atlanta -1.5
Opening Total: 52
Current Total: 52
Odds Courtesy of 5Dimes
New Orleans outscored Atlanta by just 10 points in sweeping the 2013 season series, while both games went UNDER the betting total—something to consider when making your pro football picks in Week 1. The Saints will once again be led by quarterback Drew Brees, who is happy that the franchise locked up star tight end Jimmy Graham, while also providing him a new weapon by drafting Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Brandin Cooks. It’s still important to point out that the offensive line is going through one of its biggest transitions in recent memory. The UNDER is 6-0 in the team’s last six road games.
The Saints are a legitimate Super Bowl contender with Brees under center, considering he leads the NFL with 38,733 passing yards and 283 touchdown passes since 2006. New Orleans may also take another step forward on defense, as coordinator Rob Ryan directed a unit that finished fourth in opponent net yards per game, while defensive end Cameron Jordan and outside linebacker Junior Galette posted 12.5 and 12 sacks respectively. Inside linebacker Curtis Lofton is also a key player to watch after finishing with a team-best 139 tackles last year.
Atlanta is certainly capable of bouncing back from last year’s 4-12 campaign, considering it has compiled a 60-36 record under head coach Mike Smith since his arrival in 2008. The Falcons still possess one of the more dynamic offenses in the league, with quarterback Matt Ryan at the controls, while wide receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White make up one of the best perimeter duos in the league. Even with that dynamic, the team will certainly miss future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez, who is now a member of the CBS broadcast team. Atlanta has failed to cover the number in four of its last five September affairs.
The Falcons aren’t going to land in the top five in terms of overall defense, but they do have a bright future with cornerbacks Robert Alford and Desmond Trufant. Atlanta needs to create some type of pass rush in this matchup, especially since it has dropped eight of its last 10 meetings against Brees and Co.
Sports bettors will likely back the Falcons due to the home team being 5-0 ATS in the last five games in this rivalry.
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