New Orleans Saints Odds Preview

Most people forget, in the heart-warming aftermath of the Saints Super Bowl win, that they were one dumb Brett Favre pass away from being knocked out of the NFC title game. Sentiment aside, the question bettors ask now as they scan Bovada is whether or not lightning can strike twice. Can the Saints repeat as Super Bowl champs? Or are they a mistake-prone group that will be lucky to make the playoffs again? Odds to Win Division: -160 at Bovada Regular Season Win Total: 10.5 (OV -125, UN -105) Super Bowl Odds: 10 to 1 If you’ve followed the Saints over the last few seasons, you know offense has been their calling card – particularly the passing game. The Saints led the NFL with 31.9 points per game and 408.3 total yards per game last season. It’s no wonder considering their personnel. Drew Brees has overcome his lack of size and past shoulder woes to become one of the NFL’s truly elite quarterbacks. Not only is he always on the same page as head coach Sean Payton, he has plenty of talent surrounding him.

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In Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Jeremy Shockey, Reggie Bush (out of the backfield) and more, he has a deep and athletic group of receivers. But the key to 2009’s success was the strides the Saints made in other facets of their game. Everyone knew they could pass, but their running game improved, and their defense got much better under co-ordinator Gregg Williams. We know New Orleans will pass the ball with the best of them again this season, but are their other improvements sustainable? The rushing game should remain fairly strong; Mike Bell is gone, but Pierre Thomas is the main man and Bush can spell him. Defense is the bigger question mark. The key to New Orleans’ “D” was takeaways last season. Darren Sharper led a ballhawking unit that intercepted 26 passes and scored a ridiculous eight defensive touchdowns. To put the latter number in perspective, the next closest team scored four defensive touchdowns. It was an aberration. That means bettors should legitimately worry that the Saints will regress defensively this year – especially because they don’t stop the run too well. [custom:sportsbook] So perhaps the 10.5 regular season win total isn’t a sure thing on the OVER after all? Tough to say. The Saints’ schedule isn’t as vicious as you may imagine for a Super Bowl champ. They do get the Vikings, Falcons (twice), Cowboys, Bengals, Steelers, Ravens, and 49ers. But they also get the Browns, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, and Buccaneers (twice). The Saints are definitely a Super Bowl contender again this season, but everything broke their way last year. The road will be bumpier in 2010.

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