On Thanksgiving night, the Atlanta Falcons take on divisional rival the New Orleans Saints in a must-win game to save their season and stay within striking distance of an NFC Wild Card spot. Unfortunately, that’s a tall task for Atlanta as they face a team that most fans and pundits consider the best in the NFL. Kickoff inside Mercedes-Benz Superdome is at 8:20 PM ET.
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New Orleans Saints
Current S/U record
2018 ATS Home
2018 ATS Away
2018 O/U Home
2018 O/U Away
Atlanta vs New Orleans NFC South Game Preview
Thursday’s matchup will be the 100th time these teams have played against each other. The Falcons lead the series with an all-time record of 52-47. The Saints have won two straight in this series including the first encounter this season. In that game, the Saints won 43 to 37 in overtime. Prior to the Saints two game winning streak, the Falcons had won 3 straight.
Atlanta (4-6) is 1-3 on the road this season, but does have a 2-1 record in the NFC South. However, that one loss was to the Saints back in September. Last weekend, the Falcons lost to the Cowboys on a game winning field goal as time expired. Atlanta trailed for most of the game before tying it up late. Unfortunately, their defense failed to stop Dallas from scoring on the final drive. This week, the defense will be in for a huge challenge against the Saints.
New Orleans (9-1) is 4-1 at home and 1-1 in the division. The Saints are coming off a blowout win over the Eagles by the score of 48 to 7. It’s the third straight game that the Saints have scored 45 points or more. With a solid defense and a high scoring offense, the Saints appear unbeatable right now. Will they overlook the Falcons on Turkey Day?
Depending on which sportsbook you look at, the Saints opened anywhere from a 10 to 14 point favorite. Currently, most online betting sites have the Saints favored by 13. The Over/Under opened at 60.5 points at most sites. Currently, the O/U is 59 total points with most online books.
Free Thanksgiving NFL Bet and Prediction: Over 59 Points
In this matchup, we have a desperate team (Atlanta) trying to stay in the hunt for the playoffs and a team that’s arguably the best in the NFL (New Orleans). When they played against each other the first time this year, these two teams combined for 80 points and had to go into Overtime to determine a winner. Since then, the Falcons have gone 3-4 while the Saints have gone 7-0.
Surprisingly, the Falcons offense isn’t much worse than the high powered Saints offense. For the season, Atlanta is averaging 421.5 total ypg and 332.6 passing ypg. The Saints average 434.2 total ypg and 302.8 passing ypg. However, the big differences between these two teams are scoring and rushing. On the year, New Orleans is scoring 37.8 ppg and rushing for 131.4 ypg. The Falcons score 26.3 ppg and rush for 88.8 ypg.
On defense, the Saints have the advantage in total yards, scoring and rushing yards per game. Both teams give up about the same amount of passing yards per game.
In the first game between these teams this year, the Saints were without RB Mark Ingram and the Falcons were without RB Freeman. This week, the Saints will have Ingram and the Falcons will still be without Freeman. This is a big advantage for the Saints as their running game is trucking over opponents since Ingram has returned.
The only chance for Atlanta in this contest is through the air. Falcons QB Matt Ryan has 3,306 passing yards, 22 TDs, and 4 INTs on the year. In the first game against NO, Ryan threw for 374 yards and 5 TDs with 0 interceptions. I expect Ryan to have another big game. Unfortunately, just like in their Week 3 matchup, Drew Brees will be able to keep pace with Ryan. Brees threw for 396 yards, 3 TD passes, 0 INTs, and rushed for 2 TDs.
With that said, it’s hard to imagine Atlanta being able to slow down this Saints offense. Furthermore, it’s hard to imagine Atlanta outscoring the Saints this Thursday. But, I do have a hard time going with the spread in this game. Although the Saints are a great team, this is a divisional matchup and these types of games are typically closer than blowouts. The last time the Saints won by 14 or more points against the Falcons was Dec. 26, 2011.
The Saints moneyline (-660) is too high to make any real money off of. The Falcons moneyline of +510 might be worth a flier if you are feeling really lucky. With that said, the O/U of 59 total points is the best play for this game.
For the Falcons, the Over is 4-1 following a SU loss, 5-1 following an ATS loss and 16-5 in their last 21 games played on fieldturf. For the Saints, the Over is 4-0 in their last 4 divisional games, 5-0-1 in their last 6 games on Thursdays, 19-8-1 in their last 28 home games, 14-6 against teams with losing records, and 7-3 in their last 10 games against NFC teams.
I see the Saints doing a lot of heavy lifting in this game in regards to scoring. But, I also see the Falcons being able to put up enough points for the Total to cross the threshold of 60 points.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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