Even during a bye week, the New Orleans Saints make sports betting headlines.
On the heels of last week’s 31-9 blowout of Arizona (winning yardage 510-237, yards-per-play 7.1 to 4.8, and…everything else relevant in the box score!), the Saints dropped to 5/1 to win the Super Bowl on the respected Westgate futures board in Las Vegas.
Westgate’s Super Bowl odds entering Week 9: New England 5/2, New Orleans 5/1, San Francisco 7/1, Green Bay 10/1, Kansas City and Minnesota both 16/1, Dallas and Baltimore both 20/1, Los Angeles Rams and Indianapolis both 25/1, Seattle and Houston both 30/1, Philadelphia 40/1.
You can see that the NFC is loaded. Eight teams listed above have realistic chances to achieve “championship caliber” by the playoffs. Only six can qualify for the brackets!
Why are the Saints so highly regarded in betting markets?
▪ Despite losing a future Hall of Fame quarterback for several weeks, their backup quarterback went undefeated as a starter. The Saints have more margin for error at that position than any other contender.
▪ Because Teddy Bridgewater more than held down the fort, New Orleans will exit their bye week with a 7-1 record and a comfortable cushion in the NFC South. It would take a string of shocking events to deny the Saints home field in their playoff opener as divisional champs.
▪ Five of their eight remaining games come against NFC South rivals. It’s not exactly a power-packed division this season. The Atlanta Falcons are motivated to keep losing for draft position, and the Saints get them twice. So, New Orleans isn’t just in good shape to win their division, but to earn the No. 1 seed in the whole NFC.
▪ The only true test against another top NFC contender comes December 8 vs. San Francisco. That’s a home game. If Brees is at quarterback, the Saints will likely be a pointspread favorite of at least a field goal.
No team is certain to win all the games they’re favored to win. This is the NFL. Upsets happen. But, the other contenders are in the same boat…while having more demanding schedules. San Francisco, for example, must play Green Bay, the L.A. Rams, Seattle (twice), and Baltimore in addition to the Saints. The Packers must play San Francisco and Minnesota on the road.
With the big picture in mind, Let’s get caught up with VSiN’s estimated “market” Power Ratings for the NFL. Jonathan Von Tobel (“The Edge”) and I tabulate these on a regular basis based on each week’s settled point spreads. We use a standard three points for home field advantage.
Dallas looks like it will close around -7 on the road against the New York Giants in this week’s Monday night game. That would be -10 on a neutral field. We put Dallas 10 rungs higher on the ladder. What you see below represents a good-faith effort to capture how the market currently rates all 32 teams (with softer estimates for bye teams that don’t have spreads this week)…
▪ NFC: Saints 87, 49ers 87, Packers 86, Vikings 84, Rams 84, Cowboys 84, Seahawks 82, Eagles 82, Bears 80, Lions 80, Panthers 79 (with Kyle Allen at QB), Buccaneers 79, Falcons 77 (with Matt Ryan at QB, 73 with Matt Schaub), Cardinals 74, Giants 74, Redskins 73.
▪ AFC: Patriots 89, Texans 83, Ravens 82, Colts 81, Jaguars 81 (with Gardner Minshew at QB), Bills 80, Chargers 80, Raiders 79, Browns 79, Chiefs 79 (with Matt Moore at QB, 85 with Patrick Mahomes), Titans 78, Steelers 78, Jets 74, Broncos 73 (with Brandon Allen at QB), Bengals 69 (with Ryan Finley at QB), Dolphins 68.
Sports betting is basically “you against the market.” Studying the market helps you find potential points of vulnerability. We encourage avid fans and bettors to compile their own personal set of ratings for comparison. You may spot super-surgers or free-fallers before everyone else.
▪ In the NBA, the New Orleans Pelicans have a busy weekend. They visit Oklahoma City Saturday, then Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets Monday. Losing Zion Williamson to a knee injury late in the preseason cast a dark cloud over the opening weeks. Markets have been thrown by the team’s inconsistency out of the gate.
▪ Circle the day on your calendars now. College basketball starts Tuesday! VSiN won’t see you again on these pages until Thursday. Be sure you catch a fantastic season-opening doubleheader from Madison Square Garden on ESPN. In the opener, No. 3 Kansas plays No. 4 Duke (6 p.m.). That’s followed by No. 1 Michigan State vs. No. 2 Kentucky (8:30 p.m.)
On the local front Tuesday night, Mississippi State hosts Florida International (SEC Network, 6 p.m.), while Southern Miss hosts Delta State (7 p.m.)
You sharp-eyed fans and bettors have noticed we’ll have a No. 1 vs. No. 2 game in both college basketball and college football in a five-day period. On the gridiron, No. 1 LSU will visit No. 2 Alabama Saturday November 9 (CBS, 2:30 pm.).
It’s a great time to be a sports bettor. VSiN will see you Thursday to preview that LSU/’Bama battle.