NFL Thursday Night Football Betting Picks: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons
Mercedes- Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia
Thursday, December 7, 2017, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: NBC, NFL Network
Opening Line: New Orleans -4
Current Line: New Orleans -1
Opening Total: 54 1/2
Current Total: 51 1/2
Opening Money Line: Saints -200 / Falcons +170
Current Money Line: Saints -115 / Falcons -105

Seahawks Saints NFL Preview
The Saints look to take control of the NFC South with a win at the rival Falcons Thursday Night.

The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons renew their rivalry Thursday night in Atlanta. The Saints are 9-3 and lead the NFC South by a game over the 8-4 Carolina Panthers. The Falcons are still in the race at 7-5. All three teams are in playoff contention in the NFC as well. The Saints have already swept the Panthers, but the Saints and Falcons meet twice in the next three weeks. At least for the division race, this could be an elimination game for the defending NFC champion Falcons with a loss.

Atlanta leads the series 51-45 against New Orleans. The Falcons won both meetings last year 45-32 in New Orleans and 38-32 in Atlanta. These teams have been playing since 1967. The will meet in New Orleans on Christmas Eve.

New Orleans is coached by Sean Payton. The Saints have road losses at the Minnesota Vikings 29-19 and Los Angeles Rams 26-20, plus a home loss to the New England Patriots 36-20. The Saints have gone 9-1 after an 0-2 start. New Orleans has a neutral site win over the Miami Dolphins 20-0 in London, plus road wins over the Carolina Panthers 34-13, Green Bay Packers 26-17, and Buffalo Bills 47-10. The Saints have home wins over the Detroit Lions 52-38, Chicago Bears 20-12, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-10, Washington Redskins 34-31 in overtime and last week over the Panthers 31-21. The Saints  were 5.5 point favorites against the Panthers and the total was 48. New Orleans is 8-4 ATS and the total is 7-5 this season.

Atlanta is coached by Dan Quinn. The Falcons have road wins over the Chicago Bears 23-17, Detroit Lions 30-26, New York Jets 25-20 and Seattle Seahawks 34-31, plus home wins over the Green Bay Packers 34-23, Dallas Cowboys 27-7 and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34-20. The Falcons have home losses to the Buffalo Bills 23-17, Miami Dolphins 20-17 and Minnesota Vikings 14-9 last week,  plus road losses to the New England Patriots 23-7 and Carolina Panthers 20-17.  The loss to the Vikings snapped a three game winning streak for the Falcons. Atlanta was a 2 point favorite against Minnesota and the total was 48.5. The Falcons are 5-7 ATS and the total is 5-7 this season.

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New Orleans is outscoring teams  29-20 this season. New Orleans is #3 in scoring. The Saints average 409 yards per game on offense including 266 passing and 143 rushing yards. The Saints are in the top three in all three categories. On defense, New Orleans allows 330 yards per game including 217 passing and 113 rushing yards.  New Orleans is 67/160 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 62/162. The Saints have forced 33 sacks and allowed 15 this season. New Orleans is +3 in turnovers. The Saints have scored four defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Drew Brees has completed 71.5% of his passes for 3,298 yards with 17 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 26 carries for 13 yards and 2 touchdowns. He has been sacked 15 times.

Running back Mark Ingram has 180 carries for 922 yards and 9 touchdowns, along with 42 catches for 255 yards. He is probable with a toe injury. Alvin Kamara has 86 carries for 606 yards and 7 touchdowns, plus 59 catches for 614 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Receiver Michael Thomas has 75 catches for 875 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ted Ginn, Jr. has 44 catches for 668 yards and 3 touchdowns. Brandon Coleman has 18 catches for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Tight end Coby Fleener has 22 catches for 295 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is out for the season with a concussion. Fourteen defensive players and four offensive linemen are on the injury report for the Saints.

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Atlanta is outscoring teams 23-20 this season. The Falcons average 365 yards per game on offense including 250 passing yards and 116 rushing yards. Atlanta is #11 or better in all three categories. On defense, Atlanta allows 321 yards per game including 208 passing and 113 rushing yards. Atlanta is #8 or better in total and pass defense. The Falcons are 67/152 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 62/162. Atlanta has forced 32 sacks and allowed 16 this season. The Falcons are -3 in turnovers and have both scored and allowed  2 defensive touchdowns.

Quarterback Matt Ryan has completed 66.7% of his passes for 3,057 yards with 16 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, plus 21 carries for 93 rushing yards. He has been sacked 16 times. Ryan won the MVP last year but has struggled somewhat this season.

Running back Devonta Freeman has 128 carries for 589 yards and 5 touchdowns and also has 20 catches for 144 yards.  Tevin Coleman has 130 carries for 561 yards and 5 touchdowns, and also has 21 catches for 245 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tarron Ward will also get a few carries.

Receiver Julio Jones has 68 catches for 1,063 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mohamed Sanu has 48 catches for 495 yards and 4 touchdowns, and also threw a touchdown pass. Tight end Austin Hooper has 39 catches for 438 yards and 3 touchdowns. Taylor Gabriel has 29 catches for 332 yards and a touchdown. Justin Hardy has 15 catches for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns. Six defensive players are listed on the injury report for the Falcons.

The underdog is 13-3 ATS in this series recently. The road team is 4-1 ATS in the series. The under is 6-2 in Atlanta in the series recently.

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