The New Orleans Saints (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) hit the road to visit the Carolina Panthers (0-2, 0-2) this week in an NFC South divisional matchup. The Saints fell short at home to Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week and are going up against a Panthers squad still in search of its first victory of the season after losing to the New York Giants by a field goal in Week 2.
Saints vs Panthers Opening Odds
The line opened at Saints -2.5 and has remained inside the key number of 3 up to this point. If it were to expand outside a field goal spread, bettors would flock to the home underdog Carolina Panthers. Both teams have struggled to score consistently in the first two weeks of the season, which is reflected in the low opening total of 40.5.
Saints Try To Get Back Into Win Column After Week 2 Loss to Bucs
Good and bad were mixed into the Saints’ 20-10 loss to the Buccaneers. The defense, which held Tom Brady to under 200 yards and a QBR of 30.9, was brilliant and wreaked havoc in the Tampa Bay backfield. But Jameis Winston and the New Orleans offense were stagnant.
Winston completed only 25 of 40 passes and threw three interceptions against only one touchdown. With Mark Ingram rushing for 60 yards on 10 attempts, a ground attack will be more prudent in Week 3 against the Panthers. Alvin Kamara is likely to return after the Saints’ lead back missed Week 2 due to an injury. Kamara should give Winston a safety valve in the backfield to avoid the Carolina defensive front.
Panthers Hope Last-Second Heroics Go Their Way After Second Heartbreaking Loss
While they may be 0-2, the Carolina Panthers could easily be 2-0. But after losing courtesy of two last-second field goals in their first two games of the year, Matt Rhule must now rally the troops against a difficult divisional opponent. Baker Mayfield will need to improve in the passing game as he tossed the pigskin 29 times, completing only 14 attempts for 145 yards and a touchdown.
DJ Moore and Robbie Anderson were his two main targets and while they will need to see more open space in order to thrive, so will star running back Christian McCaffrey. The former Stanford Cardinal ran 15 times for 102 yards and caught four passes for 26 yards but still must get more touches moving forward.
McCaffrey’s involvement will allow the other playmakers in Anderson and Moore to thrive as the defense creeps up. If they’re able to do this, the Panthers will be able to rely on their sturdy defensive front against a quarterback who is susceptible to mistakes.
Saints: Keys To Victory
Limiting turnovers and featuring Alvin Kamara in bunches will be key for the Saints to get to 2-1 on the season. Jameis Winston faces another difficult defense and will need to rely on his backfield and the play-action pass in order to maneuver the ball down the field. If they can take care of the football and limit mistakes, the Saints should be just fine.
Panthers: Keys To Victory
Pressure, pressure and more pressure. If they are able to get to Winston and force him into uncomfortable situations and long third downs, the Panthers defense will feast. Given the troubles of the offense, it may have to as Baker Mayfield continues to get more comfortable in the Matt Rhule system.
NFL Computer Pick: Panthers +3
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Odds Shark Staff Thu, Sep 29, 12:44pm