New Orleans Saints

Tips on how to bet Saints-Jets and Saturday’s college games, including Miami-Florida

Miami Hurricanes discuss UM-UF rivalry

University of Miami defensive end Scott Pathcan (71), tight end Will Mallory (85), and wide receiver K.J. Osborn (2) talk about the excitement around playing the Florida Gators in this years season opener.
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University of Miami defensive end Scott Pathcan (71), tight end Will Mallory (85), and wide receiver K.J. Osborn (2) talk about the excitement around playing the Florida Gators in this years season opener.

With August winding down, important football games are finally here.

Dress rehearsals in the NFL preseason continue this weekend, highlighted by the New Orleans Saints visiting the New York Jets Saturday at 6:30 p.m. Though Week Three results don’t count in the standings, they can tell you a lot about how starting units are likely to perform once the regular season begins in September. They are the most important exhibitions.

In college football, there are two Saturday games that DO count. Florida is first to wave the SEC banner in 2019 when the Gators take on state rival Miami in Orlando (6 p.m., ESPN). That’s followed by Arizona at Hawaii (CBS Sports Network, 9:30 p.m.).

Sharps (professional bettors) hit the Saints hard earlier this week. An opening line of pick-em was bet all the way up to New Orleans -3. That’s very strong support for a ROAD favorite in a game that should see effort from both teams. Among the reasons for the line move…

New Orleans impressed in last year’s dress rehearsal, shocking the Los Angeles Chargers 36-7 in a pick-em game. The Saints won total yardage 334-186. Second-half effort was one-sided, which is often the key to determining who covers these types of matchups.

New Orleans was also solid two seasons ago in Week Three, shutting out the Houston Texans 13-0 while laying -1.5 points. Two rehearsals in a row showing that defense was a top priority for the Saints. Even if Drew Brees didn’t play deep into the game, defensive starters and subs went full tilt.

Adam Gase, the new head coach of the Jets, was in charge of the Miami Dolphins last season at this time. Miami lost badly to Baltimore 27-10 as a 2.5-point favorite. Many bettors are assuming Gase will be just as disinterested in getting a result this week.

Let’s be clear, those double-digit market misses don’t make it automatic that the Saints will run away and hide Saturday night. Sharps only moved the line to three, not a touchdown or more. But, it’s obvious that smart money does like New Orleans at anything below the three this week.

Influential bettors haven’t impacted the point spread in Florida/Miami. But, a line sitting right at -7.5 for so long does tell you that they don’t like the underdog Hurricanes. Seven is a key number, a common final result in football games. If sharps thought that was likely to matter, they would have bet Miami hard for value at +7.5. It DIDN’T happen, meaning Florida is the much more respected side.

The Over/Under has moved, dropping from 50.5 down to 47. This suggests skepticism that Miami’s experienced offense will be able to get many points on the board against Florida’s aggressive and talented defense. Rather than asking the Gators to win a rivalry blowout, sharps were more comfortable asking defenses to rule at any total from 50.5 down 47.5.

Not much early interest in Arizona/Hawaii. The Wildcats are -11 with the total lined at 74. That’s a projected shootout with Arizona’s target at 42.5 points, Hawaii’s at 31.5. If you’re going to bet and watch, make plans to stay up really late. Or, set your DVR’s to also record the show airing after the game. This one’s going to run long.

Other Notes

Do you have summer stamina for day-and-night TV football? An early NFL preseason telecast will give you that opportunity. Live dress rehearsals airing on the NFL Network Saturday: Arizona at Minnesota (noon), Houston at Dallas (6 p.m.), Seattle at the Chargers (9 p.m.).

One pro football matchup Sunday night…Pittsburgh at Tennessee (NBC, 7 p.m.)

Psst…there’s plenty of great baseball to bet too! The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers are renewing their storied rivalry this weekend. Installments Saturday (FS1, 3:05 p.m.) and Sunday (ESPN, 6 p.m.) will be nationally televised. That pairing could also be a World Series preview, though the Houston Astros will have their say. Current global futures odds to win the World Series make those three the favorites. Houston is 2/1 (+200), Los Angeles 13/5 (+260), and New York 9/2 (+450).

One other big TV betting attraction in the bases this weekend…Washington at the Chicago Cubs (Sunday, TBS, 1:20 p.m.). The Cubs are currently priced between 20/1 and 22/1 at most spots globally to win the World Series. Washington is a consensus 22/1. Both are capable of playing spoiler in the National League brackets if the Dodgers start looking ahead.

Jeff Fogle writes the daily VSiN newsletter. Sign up at