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Saints-Panthers Total Sees Dramatic Reverse Line Movement

Not exactly looking like the world beaters they were during their 10-game win streak the last two weeks, the Saints limp into Charlotte for a Week 15 Monday Night Football matchup off a comeback win against the Bucs for their first meeting with the Panthers and they’re facing a relatively large road spread.

While the 6-7 Panthers have had their struggles this season, Bank of America Stadium has been a fortress for Cam and company and beating them by a touchdown or more could be a tall task for the Super Bowl favorites.

I do lean Saints here at -6.5 and will provide my thoughts on the spread but my most confident play on Monday will be on the UNDER.

SHARK BITES
  • The total has dropped 4.5 points from an opening number of 54.5 despite 60% of bets coming in on the OVER.
  • I now have a 9-5 record with my MNF best bets this season (Seahawks -3 last week).
  • The total has gone UNDER in the Saints’ last 4 games (avg. combined score: 42).

Saints vs Panthers Game Center

Best bet for Saints vs Panthers: UNDER 51.5 (Opened at 54.5)

Something is fishy with the line movement in this game and it’s got me raising an eyebrow and ready to make one of my biggest bets of the season on the Week 15 MNF UNDER. As noted in the first Shark Bite, the total for Saints-Panthers opened at a lofty 54.5 and despite bettors jumping on the OVER, the line has dropped 4.5 points.

This is the kind of reverse line movement that makes my mouth water and my bankroll bulge.

Smart money is clearly coming in on the UNDER, forcing this number to dip to a total I think is still a bit too high, but that’s probably fair when you consider the Saints and Panthers have played to seven OVERs in their last eight meetings.

I will make a bet a lot of times off line movement alone but I like the UNDER in this spot for multiple reasons.

The biggest being the matchups. Sure, the Panthers have one of the most lethal backfield weapons in the game in Christian McCaffrey (no offense, Alvin Kamara) but the Saints cancel that out somewhat with the league’s top rush defense in terms of yards per game. Over the last four games, they’ve limited opponents to an average of just 72.25 rushing yards and they’re the only team to hold Ezekiel Elliott under 100 yards since November 5.

I do not see a path for Carolina to move the ball consistently and I’m worried about an unhealthy Cam navigating the pocket against one of the league’s best pass rushes.

If the Panthers are going to stay in this game, they’re going to have to D up and that’s something they’ve been doing at home, allowing an average of just 21 points per game at BOA Stadium and limiting opponents to 78 rushing yards per game.

While they’re not mathematically out of the playoff hunt (+650 odds), the Panthers are going to be hard pressed to win out to finish 9-7 and this is basically their Super Bowl.

I expect Ron Rivera to go with a no-holds-barred approach to this game on the defensive side of the football, blitz often and make a somewhat diminished Drew Brees and a thin receiving corps beat them through the air. At most, I think MNF finishes 28-21 but 24-17 feels more realistic.

New Orleans has been Saintly to Bettors Away from the Big Easy

One of the most impressive things about the Saints this season is how good they’ve been on the road (6-1 SU and ATS). Averaging 31.29 points away from home, Brees and the boys have shed the notion that they’re simply a dome team and their win last week on the wet, chewed-up sod at Raymond James Stadium proves it.

The weather is supposed to be good in Carolina on Monday so this game will come down to preparation and call me crazy but I give Sean Payton and the Saints the edge in that department.

As I mentioned off the top, I likely won’t make a play on this spread but I would feel comfortable teasing the Saints down 6 or 7 points, depending on what number you can get, or throwing them into a moneyline parlay.

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