New Orleans Saints’ fans circled Sunday’s meeting with the Los Angeles Rams when 2019 NFL schedules were first posted. Just two weeks into the new season, and the Saints would have a chance to avenge their heartbreaking (and unfair) loss in January’s NFC title tilt.
Saints’ players may have been caught looking ahead this past Monday night. New Orleans fell behind the Houston Texans 14-3 in the first half, before a 27-14 scoring explosion in the second half finished off a 30-28 nail biter. The Saints missed market expectations, laying -6.5 points.
In the standings, a win is a win. That’s even better when the rest of your division loses! NFC South rivals Atlanta, Carolina, and Tampa Bay all lost and failed to cover their season openers (to Minnesota, the LA Reams, and San Francisco respectively). This suggests betting markets are currently overrating the division. The NFC South opened 0-4 against the spread, missing the mark by a combined 34 points.
Can the Saints get the money Sunday against the Rams? Sharps (professional wagerers) bet the revenge motive at the opening line of Rams -3. By midweek, the line had settled below the key number at LAR -2.5. The lack of an immediate bounce back to three suggests sharps see New Orleans as a GREAT bet at the full three. Should the line settle in the +1.5 to +2.5 range through the weekend…
▪ Sharps will be looking at New Orleans on the money line to win the game straight up. Victory margins of one and two points are relatively uncommon. Might as well take anything from +115 to +125 to win the game.
▪ Sharps will be looking to use New Orleans in teasers that allow you to move the line at least six points in your favor. This would lift the Saints past two key numbers (three and seven), with the “teased” Saints getting +7.5, +8, or +8.5 depending on available prices. Of course, you’ll have to find at least one other entry for your teaser. (If you’re new to betting teasers, these options allow you to move the line in your favor for two or more teams…but those teams must SWEEP at the new lines for you to cash the ticket.)
The Rams weren’t particularly impressive in a 30-27 cover at Carolina last Sunday. A cheap 10-yard touchdown drive helped hide what was a sputtering offense much of the afternoon. Los Angeles only managed 4.8 yards-per-play and 183 passing yards amid concerns that the league is starting to figure out the Sean McVay/Jared Goff combo. Though, the victory margin did cover the very short point spread of -1.5.
Odd that the Rams beat market expectations while gaining only 349 yards at Carolina, while the Saints failed despite putting up 510 yards (on 7.8 yards-per-play!) vs. Houston. Those yardage totals hint at why sharps who use statistical modeling were seeing the Saints as a steal at +3. Should the public drive the Rams back to -3 before kickoff, the Wise Guys will happily buy more of the Saints at that price.
▪ The New England Patriots moved forcefully to the top of the futures board after pounding the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-3 this past Sunday night. Composite global odds entering the new week showed New England at 7/2 (+350), Kansas City 7/1, New Orleans 15/2, LA Rams 11/1, Philadelphia 11/1, LA Chargers 14/1, and Green Bay 16/1.
That 15/2 posting for the Saints is the same as +750 on the money line, meaning a $100 bet on New Orleans to win it all would earn $750 (or anything in that ratio…$10 would win $75, $50 would win $375, etc..). Sports books return the initial stake to winners, then pay their profit.
In global odds to win the NFC, New Orleans at 7/2 has nudged ahead of the Rams at 4/1.
▪ If you’re thinking of using the Saints (+) in a 6-point teaser, there could be several nominees for combinations by weekend kickoffs. Underdogs possibly closing in the +1.5 to +2.5 range include Detroit (+) vs. the LA Chargers, the New York Giants (+) vs. Buffalo, San Francisco (+) at Cincinnati, Denver (+) vs. Chicago, Atlanta (+) vs. Philadelphia, and the NY Jets (+) vs. Cleveland.
Kansas City would be a popular favorite choice for the strategy at Oakland if the line sticks in the -7.5 to -8.5 range. Teaser players could lower the Chiefs to -1.5 to 2.5 with a six-point move. Just remember, you have to cover ALL of your final teaser lines to win the bet.
Note that those props are called “teasers” for a reason. They’re much harder to hit than many bettors realize. More than half of last week’s NFL games (9 of 16) missed the closing spread by double digits. Miami, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh failed by six, five, and three-and-a-half touchdowns respectively.