Two of the NFC’s favorites will face each other in Week 1 of the 2015 NFL season. The New Orleans Saints, expected to win the NFC South, and the Arizona Cardinals, a favorite in the very strong West division, will match up with each other on the league’s first Sunday. Head coach Bruce Arians has quietly put together one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the NFL taking the Cardinals to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2009. Arians was named the league’s Coach of the Year as a result. What is even more impressive about the Cardinals success last year is that they did it playing three quarterbacks. Hopefully, they don’t have to do that again. Carson Palmer returns healthy after a knee injury ended his 2014 season prematurely. Even with a healthy Palmer behind center, New Orleans Saints vs Arizona Cardinals odds only favor the home team by just a field goal (-2½) with the over/under total at 48.
Looking past the season opener, Arians and the Cardinals will need Palmer to stay healthy because the drop-off to No. 2 QB Drew Stanton is noticeable. Arizona upgraded the offensive line by adding Pro Bowl guard Mike Iupati to help ensure that Palmer plays all 16 games. Running back Andre Ellington returns after an injury as well and the Arizona running game will also help take pressure off of Palmer and the passing game. The Cardinals finished 31st in rush offense last year, something that will need to improve if they are to contend with Seattle for the NFC West title. For those looking to bet on New Orleans Saints vs Arizona Cardinals odds, it is important to note that Vegas currently has 62% of the NFL picks for week 1 taking the Cards laying the points at home.
In New Orleans, Drew Brees returns for his 15th NFL season. He and Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger led the NFL in passing yards last year with 4,952. Brees also threw for 33 touchdowns against 17 interceptions. He lost his number one target in TE Jimmy Graham in free agency, but has one of the most unheralded groups of receivers in the league. Marques Colston, Brandin Cooks, and Nick Toon give Brees ample targets in the passing game. The Saints beat Arizona, 31-7, the last time the two teams met back in 2013. Arians has the Cardinals on a different level now, which will make a New Orleans victory even tougher this time around. The week 1 season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals can be seen live on FOX at 4:05pm EST from the University of Phoenix Stadium.
If there is one division in the NFL that any of the four teams competing could win, it would be the NFC South. The Carolina Panthers became the first team to win consecutive division titles (2013, 2014) last season but did so with a less than impressive 7-8-1 record. The Panthers could pull off a three-peat this year but it won't be easy with high powered offenses in New Orleans and Atlanta that will be looking to regain dominance in the conference. That being said, the Atlanta Falcons are favored at +200 in 2015 NFC South odds to win with division predictions listing the Carolina Panthers at +210, the New Orleans Saints at +225 and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at +550.
The Atlanta Falcons looked to be a team bound for the Super Bowl in 2012 leading the 49ers (17-0) in the NFC Championship game but failed to put any points on the board in the second half letting San Francisco steal a 28-24 victory. Since then, it seems the Falcons have yet to recover. Could the 2015 season finally get the dirty birds dancing again? Bookmakers certainly think so and with an offense featuring QB Matt Ryan and WR's Julio Jones and Roddy White; anything is possible. That is of course, if they all can stay healthy. RB Devonta Freeman will be counted on to create the balance needed so that Ryan won't need to force risky passes having thrown 14-INT's last year. The defense will most likely be the Achilles heel for Atlanta who finished 27th in scoring and 21st in rushing last season.
The Carolina Panthers had been one of the early favorites in 2015 NFC South odds and predictions to win the division but that was before losing WR Kelvin Benjamin for the season after tearing his ACL during the preseason. QB Cam Newton will now need to rely heavily on WR's Ted Ginn Jr., Devin Funchess and TE Greg Olsen to pick up the slack. Easier said than done. RB Jonathan Stewart will receive a majority of the rushing attempts but don't be surprised to see rookie Cameron Artis-Payne (Auburn) making his presence known. On the defensive side of the ball, LB's Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis anchor a squad that has been a top ten defense for the past three years. If the defense can make it four in a row, the Panthers could easily win the division depending on how the offense copes with the loss of Benjamin.
The New Orleans Saints made perhaps one of the biggest off-season trades by sending TE Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks to upgrade the offensive line by acquiring Max Unger. Also gone is WR Kenny Stills who took his talent to Miami but any team that has QB Drew Brees behind center will find away to put points on the board. Brees finished last season throwing 4,952-yards for 33-touchdowns and at the age of 36, still shows no signs of slowing down. Look for WR Brandin Cooks to receive a majority of the looks down the sideline while TE Josh Hill will be counted on to replace the production of Graham in 3rd down situations. RB Mark Ingram will receive a majority of the rushing plays once again but will have a formidable duo in C.J. Spiller and Khirly Robinson as backups. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will need to tighten up the secondary if the Saints are to have any chance of winning the division in 2015 NFC South odds since finishing last season 31st in total defense.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers took QB Jameis Winston (Florida State) as the #1 overall pick in the draft to help anchor an offense that finished last year with a dreadful 75.2% production rating. Head coach Lovie Smith also proceeded to use 12 of his 13 draft picks on offensive players to help right the ship so to speak. Winston will have a towering pair of WR's at his disposable with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson but whether or not the offensive line can protect the former FSU star long enough to find them remains to be seen. RB Doug Martin will look to better last season's mark of 494-yards for 2-touchdowns if he can stay healthy. The defense will have the foundation of DT Gerald McCoy and LB Lavonte David while the secondary is littered with former Smith players from Chicago. If the defense can gel under the Tampa 2 scheme and Winston matures quickly, there is no reason that the Buccaneers couldn't be playing for the division title.
The New Orleans Saints have had two mediocre seasons in the past three including last years’ 7-9 campaign in which New Orleans forgot how to play defense. After hiring defensive coordinator Rob Ryan prior to last season, the Saints finished No. 4 in total defense only to fall to 31st last season. The defense will have to get better if New Orleans is to reach the postseason once again. That being said, NFL odds have listed the Saints as +225 longshots to win the NFC South, +1800 to win the NFC Conference and +3300 in Super Bowl predictions to hoist the Lombardi trophy once again. Head coach Sean Payton and the Saints front office believes they have taken the necessary steps to shore up the defense. Payton brought in Dennis Allen, the former Raiders head coach, to assist Ryan with the defense.
The club signed cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Kyle Wilson and linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Anthony Spencer in the offseason. The New Orleans Saints also went defense-heavy in this year’s draft using five picks including a first-rounder on Stephone Anthony, a 6-3, 243-pound linebacker from Clemson. The resurgence starts with the defensive line where fourth-year DE Akiem Hicks and running mate Cameron Jordan need to rebound from a so-so season last year. Junior Galette was the team’s best pass rusher with 10 sacks. Jordan finished with 7.5. Whatever Ryan and Allen can put together is likely to be better than the output seen last season. Offensively, any time you have Drew Brees under center, you’ve got a chance. Brees enters his 15th NFL season, coming off of one in which he led the league (tied with Pittsburgh’s Ben Rothliesberger) in passing yards with 4,952. He threw for 33 touchdowns and was the key to the NFL’s No. 1 offense.
This year though, Brees will have to do it without Pro Bowl TE Jimmy Graham. The Saints traded Graham to the Seahawks for veteran center Max Unger and a first-round draft pick. It’s not as if the well is dry on offense. New Orleans added RB C.J. Spiller, drafted giant tackle Andrus Peat (6-7, 313) out of Stanford, and still have receivers Marques Colston and Brandin Cooks. The Saints should still be one of the league’s best offenses. With an improved defense, New Orleans will contend for the 2015 NFC South title and a trip to the postseason. In terms of Super Bowl predictions, the schedule is a favorable one but Brees and the Saints will have to be more consistent and avoid traps like the three-game skid they suffered last season, one that cost them a division title.
Saints Update (9/9/15): New Orleans are now +4000 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +2200 to win the NFC Conference and +175 to win the NFC South.
It may be the first time that a game between a 7-4 team and a 4-7 one had huge playoff implications for both teams, but that is exactly what is at stake for Sunday’s match-up in Pittsburgh. The New Orleans Saints will travel north in week 13 to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field for a 1:00pm EST kick-off at Heinz Field. Saints vs Steelers betting favors Pittsburgh at home by 4.5-points over New Orleans with a total of 53.5. New Orleans, at 4-7, is tied for the lead in the NFC South. Head coach Sean Payton realizes the importance of Sunday. The Saints have lost three straight, two in a row to Pittsburgh’s brethren from the AFC North, Cincinnati and Baltimore. If the Saints can get a win at Pittsburgh, they will finish the season with four straight winnable games against teams with losing records.
Going to Heinz Field in November and winning will not be easy however. The Steelers are 4-1 at home and have won four of their last five. Pittsburgh needs a victory to keep pace with the rest of the division. The Bengals lead the AFC North at 7-3-1. The Steelers are tied with Cleveland and Baltimore, all of whom are 7-4. Pittsburgh cannot afford a loss especially since they must face Cincinnati twice in their last four games. The Pittsburgh offense is one of the leagues best led by QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is fourth in the league in passing yards with 3,270. He has 24 touchdowns, nine of which are to Antonio Brown who has 88 receptions for 1,161 yards. Add in bruising running back Le’Veon Bell with 951 rushing yards and the Steelers should tear the Saints defense apart. Saints vs Steelers betting in Vegas favor Pittsburgh and for good reason. Head Coach Mike Tomlin's squad has gone 4-1 SU in their last five games and 8-3 ATS in their last eleven games at home.
The New Orleans defense hasn’t been able to stop anybody and that will most likely continue Sunday. The saving grace for New Orleans however is Drew Brees. The 14-year veteran QB has 3,491 yards passing and 22 touchdowns. Tight end Jimmy Graham, while not enjoying the same type of year he had last season, is certainly still one of the most dangerous weapons in the league. Graham has 65 catches for 670 yards and nine touchdowns. The Brees-to-Graham connection will have to be on fire Sunday if the Saints are to have a chance at Pittsburgh. Although 44% of Saints vs Steelers betting has the gambling public taking New Orleans plus the points, it is important to note that head Coach Sean Payton's teams has gone a dismal 4-9 against the spread in their last thirteen games on the road and 1-3-1 ATS when playing Pittsburgh.
New Orleans head coach Sean Payton probably didn’t expect to be 4-5 at this point of the season. He surely didn’t expect that record would be good enough to lead the NFC South division either. That is exactly where the Saints find themselves as they enter Week 11 of the season when they host the Cincinnati Bengals. The game will take place on Sunday from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 1:00pm EST and can be seen live on CBS. Bengals vs Saints odds in Vegas currently has New Orleans betting favorites at home by a touchdown (-7) while the over/under total is listed at a high scoring 51. Gamblers looking to take the Saints on the money line would need to risk -340 for the straight up win while the Bengals would return +270 on a $100 wager.
After a pair of easy victories over Green Bay and Carolina, New Orleans fell 27-24 to San Francisco in overtime. It was the club’s first home loss since 2012. The Saints had won 11 in a row before last Sunday’s loss. New Orleans, much like Cincinnati, has failed to develop any consistency on either side of the ball. Quarterback Drew Brees is still himself with 2,816 yards passing (third in the NFL) and 18 touchdowns. The running game is improving with Mark Ingram (551 yards) and Khiry Robinson (330) leading the charge. Tight end Jimmy Graham leads the team in receptions and has seven TD catches but is not enjoying the type of season he had a year ago. Still, the New Orleans offense is second in the NFL in total offense (435 yards per game). Vegas is reporting that 59% of the wagering action is on New Orleans to cover spread which makes sense since New Orleans has gone a profitable 9-2-1 ATS when playing at home.
If the Bengals play anything like they did a week ago, the New Orleans defense should fare well too. Cincinnati was embarrassed by in-state rival Cleveland at home in a 24-3 loss. Cincy QB Andy Dalton completed a dismal 10-of-33 passes for just 86 yards. He also threw three interceptions in what was easily the worst game of his young career. After starting the season 3-0, Cincinnati has just not been able to get in a rhythm. Some of it may be due to their normally strong defense not being so strong. The Bengals are near the bottom of the league in rush defense giving opponents 143 yards a game. You won’t win many games in the NFL doing that. It’s tough to win in the Superdome as evidenced, but the Bengals will have to do just that to keep pace with the rest of the AFC North. The Browns now lead the division at 6-3 and both Pittsburgh and Baltimore are 6-4. Despite being touchdown underdogs in week 11, it is important to note that Cincinnati has gone a profitable 4-1 against the spread in their last five games against New Orleans.
NFL week 10 action will start on Thursday night with an AFC North battle between the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals. Cincinnati is in 1st place of the division with a 5-2-1 record and will look to win their third straight game when they host Cleveland who is in 3rd place of the division with a 5-3 record from Paul Brown Stadium at 8:25pm EST. NFL betting odds currently favor the Bengals at home by a touchdown (-7) vs the Browns with an over/under total of 45. Although favored to win on Thursday night football since going a profitable 12-2-1 against the spread when playing at home, recent wagering trends also have Cincinnati going 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games. Cleveland has had a difficult time covering the point spread this season going 2-3-1 ATS in their last six games but have been able to go 4-1 straight up in their last five games.
Despite having just a 4-4 record, the New Orleans Saints are in 1st place of the NFC South and will be looking to win their third straight game when they host the San Francisco 49ers (4-4) who sit in 3rd place of the NFC West. The conference showdown will take place from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday at 1:00pm EST which can be seen live on FOX. NFL week 10 odds have listed New Orleans as 5-point home favorites against San Francisco with a total of 49. Betting trends have the Saints one of the toughest teams to play at home having gone 9-1-1 ATS in their last eleven games and 5-1 SU when playing the 49ers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Conversely, San Fran has played below expectations this season having gone 2-5 against the spread in their last seven games not to mention are 5-10-1 ATS in their last sixteen vs New Orleans.
Sunday night football will feature an intriguing NFC North divisional battle when the Green Bay Packers (5-3) host the Chicago Bears (3-5) from Lambeau Field at 8:30pm EST which can be seen on NBC. The Packers sit in 2nd place of the division and will look to bounce back from last weekend's demoralizing loss to the Saints (23-44). The Bears are in 4th place of the division and will be coming off a much needed BYE after losing two straight games to the Miami Dolphins (14-27) and New England Patriots (23-51). NFL week 10 betting odds currently have Green Bay favored by 7.5-points at home against Chicago with the over/under total set at a high-scoring 53.5. The Bears faithful who will be looking to take the points this weekends might want to look again. Trends have Chicago recently going 1-4 against the spread in their last five games and 1-7 ATS in their eight meeting with the Pack. Green Bay however has gone 1-4 ATS in their last five games and 4-2 against the spread in their last six games at home vs the Bears.
It's hard to believe that 4-4 New Orleans sits atop the NFC South, but after the Saints 28-10 win over Carolina that is exactly where they stand. Quarterback Drew Brees and company can gain another game on the Panthers with a victory over the 49ers on Sunday. The NFC conference battle in week 10 can be seen live on FOX with a scheduled kick-off time of 1:00pm EST. 49ers at Saints odds in Vegas currently have New Orleans 5-point betting favorites against San Francisco while the over/under total has been listed at 49. Head coach Sean Payton and the Saints struggled early in the season falling to 0-2 after a loss to Cleveland.
Brees has been an integral part of New Orleans' current two-game win streak, which includes an impressive 44-23 win over Green Bay. Running back Mark Ingram rushed for 100 yards in the Carolina victory as the Saints won for the first time in eight road games. They will be at home on Sunday where the Saints have gone a perfect 3-0 this season when the desperate 49ers come to town. New Orleans are betting favorites at home in week 10 since recently going 9-1-1 against the spread in their last eleven games at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. San Francisco is heading in the opposite direction of the Saints and have lost two straight after beginning the season 4-2. The once-potent 49ers offense has fallen apart the last two weeks managing just 27 points combined in the two losses.
Known for its power running game, San Francisco has managed to average just 71 yards per contest over the two-week debacle. If San Francisco is going to break out of its funk, QB Colin Kaepernick is going to have to jump start the 49ers offense. With the Niners ground game struggling, Kaepernick may have to bear the load all by himself. The 49ers QB is the team's second-leading rusher, but has just 247 yards on the season. He is, however, averaging over five yards per carry. If Kaepernick can get going, it will open up the rest of the San Francisco offense and help to break the Saints two-game win streak. That being said, recent NFL betting trends do not predict a win by San Francisco as the squad has gone just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games.
Reaching the halfway point of the regular season, Thursday night football for week 9 will feature an NFC South battle with two teams heading in opposite directions. Somehow, the Carolina Panthers (3-4-1) and the New Orleans Saints (3-4) are tied for 1st place in the division despite both teams having less than a .500 season thus far. That will all change come Thursday night as Carolina will play host to New Orleans at Bank of America Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 8:25pm EST and can be seen live on the NFL Network. Saints at Panthers odds favor New Orleans by nearly a field-goal (-2.5) on the road while the NFL betting total has been listed at 48.
After having the league's only tie of the season in week 6 (37-37 overtime - Bengals), the Carolina Panthers have lost two straight games to the Packers (17-38) and Seahawks (9-13). Carolina looked to have the victory sealed last Sunday against Seattle but the defense which has allowed at least 37-points in 4 out of their last 5 games, watched as Russell Wilson connected with Luke Wilson on a 23-yard touchdown with 47-seconds left on the clock to steal the win. The offense did little to help their cause as Cam Newton completed only 12 of 22-passes for 171-yards with an interception. The running game remained stagnant as well with Jonathan Stewart rushing for just 79-yards and was kept from finding the end-zone. Gamblers looking to back Carolina at home plus the points on Thursday can find comfort in a 9-3 ATS record when playing against New Orleans while also going 5-1 against the NFL betting odds in their last six against the Saints when playing at Bank of America Stadium.
The New Orleans Saints just might have changed their season around with a commanding 44-23 win against the Green Bay Packers last Sunday. Drew Brees orchestrated a brilliant performance and played near perfection in the win throwing 27 of 32-passes for 311-yards for 3-touchdowns. Mark Ingram seemed to be running on all cylinders rushing on 24-carries for a career-high 172-yards and a touchdown. Jarred Cook led the receivers with 94-yardds and a score while Jimmy Graham, who has been shut down during the previous weeks, made his presence known hauling in 5-receptions for 59-yards and a TD. With the win, New Orleans now has the opportunity to take sole possession of 1st place in the division with a win over Carolina on Thursday night. That being said, the Saints have been an awful road team thus far having gone 0-5 straight up in NFL betting odds for their last five games and 3-9 against the spread. Gamblers should note however, that New Orleans has also gone a dreadful 3-9 ATS in their last twelve match-ups with Carolina.
Green Bay is on a roll. New Orleans just cannot seem to buy a win. The Saints host the NFC North co-leading Packers on Sunday night football at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with kick-off time scheduled for 8:30pm EST which can be seen live on NBC. Packers at Saints betting odds in Vegas currently have New Orleans favored at home by 1-point with a high scoring over/under total of 56. The Saints are a surprising 2-4 after seven weeks. Three of their losses are by three points or less. New Orleans let a victory slip away last weekend in Detroit as Lions QB Matthew Stafford threw two touchdown passes in the final 3:38. Stafford’s five-yard TD toss to Corey Fuller gave Detroit a 24-23 win over the Saints. New Orleans has had trouble finishing games primarily because of a defense that is one of the worst in the NFL giving up 27.5 points per game.
Even with their worst record of the Sean Payton era, the Saints are still in playoff contention as the leader of the NFC South, Carolina, is just 3-3-1. The Saints defense, 28th against the pass, will have to face arguably the best quarterback in the game right now in Aaron Rodgers. The 10th-year pro is completing 67 percent of his passes for 1,674 yards and 18 touchdowns. Rodgers has thrown just one interception so far this season. Packers wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb give Rodgers the best receiving tandem in the NFL. Nelson’s 47 receptions for 712 yards and six TDs leads the team. Eddie Lacy leads the ground attack with 369 yards on 92 carries. After a slow start, Rodgers and Green Bay have silenced the early season critics with four straight wins. The offense has scored at least 38 points in three of those four wins. The unit will have to continue to be sharp on Sunday night to keep the streak alive.
New Orleans is unbeaten at home this year with both of its wins coming in the Superdome. Saints QB Drew Brees lit up Green Bay for 446 yards passing the last time the teams met. Still, Rodgers connected with Nelson for the winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Brees and company hope for a different outcome, however, it will be up to the Saints defense to slow down Rodgers, Nelson, and teammates if they are to have any chance of getting win number three. New Orleans has been a disappointment for gamblers thus far in the season with recent betting trends showing a 2-5 SU record in their last seven games and going 2-4 against the spread in their last six. That being said, the Saints have been profitable when playing at home going 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games at the Superdome. The Packers have gone 5-1 SU in their last six games and 4-1 against the spread in their last five. Gamblers should not that Green Bay has been mediocre on the road however going just 4-2 ATS this season.
Two teams that seem to be heading in two totally different directions heading into week 8 are the Chicago Bears and the New England Patriots. The Bears have gone 3-4 thus far in the season sitting in 3rd place of the NFC North while the Patriots have won three straight games to go 5-2 and sit in 1st place of the AFC East. The two will meet on Sunday afternoon for a 1:00pm EST kick-off at Gillette Stadium that can be seen live on FOX. NFL week 8 betting odds currently favor New England by a touchdown (-7) at home against Chicago while the over/under total has been set at 50.5. Recent wagering trends have the Patriots as the profitable team to bet on for this match-up having gone a perfect 5-0 SU and 8-3 against the spread when playing at Gillette Stadium.
Although the Seattle Seahawks have lost two straight games, they have been close losses by an average of just 4.5-points. That being said, they are the reigning Super Bowl champions and could prove to break the streak this Sunday when they travel to face the Carolina Panthers. Seattle currently sits in 3rd place of the NFC West with a 3-3 record while Carolina is atop the depressing NFC South with a 3-3-1 mark. The Panthers will play host to the Seahawks on Sunday when the two meet at Bank of America Stadium for a 1:00pm EST start that can be seen live on CBS. NFL betting in Vegas for week 8 have listed Seattle as 6-point road favorites against Carolina while the total has been posted at 45. Although listed as underdogs, recent trends have Carolina going 14-5-1 SU in their last twenty games and an impressive 8-2-1 against the spread in their last eleven games at BofA Stadium. It will be tough to pull off the upset however against a Seahawks squad that has gone 11-5 ATS in their last sixteen overall and 12-4 against the spread when on the road.
In perhaps the most intriguing game of week 9, Sunday night football will feature a NFC conference battle between two high powered offenses. The New Orleans Saints will look to rebound from last Sunday's loss to the Detroit Lions when they host the Green Bay Packers who have won four straight games. New Orleans currently holds a 2-4 record which is good enough for 2nd place in the NFC South while Green Bay will be looking to win their fifth straight game having gone 5-2 this season and sit in 1st place of the NFC North. The Conference match-up will take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at 8:30pm EST which can be seen live on NBC. Believe it or not, week 8 odds favor the Saints by 1-point at home over the Packers with a high scoring total of 56. New Orleans has been a profitable team at home going 8-1-1 against the spread but are just 2-4 ATS in their last six games. Green Bay has gone 4-1 against the spread in their last five games overall but have gone a less than impressive 4-2 ATS when playing on the road.