Prediction Machine NFL Free Pick: New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons

NFL Free Pick: New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons (NO -3, O/U 45)

Taysom Hill and the Saints head to Atlanta this Sunday looking to remain undefeated since Drew Brees landed on IR with broken ribs. On the other side, Atlanta has looked like a legitimate threat of late, posting a 4-2 record since Dan Quinn was relieved of his duties after a 0-5 start.

One of Raheem Morris’ two losses came in this matchup just two weeks ago in New Orleans, where Hill led his team to a 24-9 victory. We’ll see what adjustments Morris can make in his second matchup with the versatile QB, but sportsbooks are still favoring the visiting Saints in this matchup.

The Saints are currently listed as 3-point favorites in Atlanta, but our model thinks that may be a modest projection. We’re projecting the Saints to win by a score of 27.1-20.2, giving us a solid edge against the spread. Our model suggests an $80 wager on NEW ORLEANS -3 for an average $100 bettor.

Prediction Machine’s NFL model is 189-144 ATS (56.8%) and 180-160 (52.9%) on O/Us for +34.71 units, or $3,471 of profit since the start of the 2019 season. Head over to and sign up to receive every NFL prediction.

Why will New Orleans cover the spread?

  • Despite the Falcons’ recent 4-2 stretch, they still sport one of the worst defenses on a per play basis. Their 6.2 yards allowed per play is the second-most in the NFL and their pass defense has especially struggled, allowing 7.8 yards per pass attempt (30th). Despite being a more talented rusher than thrower, Taysom Hill has averaged 7.97 yards per pass attempt in his two starts and posted an impressive 10.1 yards per attempt in his first matchup with the Falcons.
  • Atlanta has struggled to turn red-zone trips into touchdowns. The Falcons have reached pay dirt on just 52.5 percent of their red-zone visits this season, which ranks 27th in the league. Settling for field goals is not a recipe for success against the high-powered Saints offense, illustrated perfectly in the Week 11 matchup that saw Atlanta go 0-1 in the red zone and manage just three field goals in the 24-9 loss.
  • The Saints pressured Matt Ryan on 23 of his 45 dropbacks in their Week 11 matchup and sacked him EIGHT times while also forcing two interceptions, per PFF. Ryan has struggled against pressure all season, completing just 47.2 percent of his passes for 6.4 yards per attempt, seven touchdowns, five interceptions and a 69.9 passer rating. When kept clean, Ryan’s numbers skyrocket to a 72 percent completion rate and 7.8 yards per attempt, 10 TDs, three INTs and a 101.6 passer rating (PFF). The Saints will likely live in the backfield once again Sunday as they rank fifth in the NFL with a 25.6 percent pressure rate.

How to bet the total in Saints vs Falcons:

Prediction Machine’s NFL model projects a final score of 27.1-20.2 in favor of the Saints. With 47.3 projected points and an OVER/UNDER of 45, we have a slight edge on the OVER in this one. Our model suggests a $60 wager on OVER 45 for $100 average bettors.

Need-to-know stats for Saints vs Falcons:

  • 11 carries, 49.6 yards, 0.6 TDs; 1 catch, 10.1 yards (Murray); 10 carries, 45.2 yards, 0.7 TDs; 4 catches, 38.8 yards (Kamara) - Since Taysom Hill took over at quarterback, Latavius Murray has out-carried Alvin Kamara 31 to 24 and caught three passes to Kamara’s one. It’s certainly an interesting development for fantasy players with the playoffs on the horizon, but our model still gives the slight edge to Kamara in overall touches and yards. We’re expecting Sean Payton to dial up more passing plays to Kamara against the Falcons, projecting him to catch four balls in this one. If it doesn’t happen this week, we may have to adjust everything with this new dynamic in Payton’s offense.
  • 5 catches, 65.5 yards, 0.57 TDs - With Julio Jones likely to miss his second straight game due to a hamstring injury, Calvin Ridley should shoulder the load for this Falcons receiving corps. We’re projecting him to lead the Falcons in catches, receiving yards and touchdowns against a Saints secondary that’s allowed 12 TDs to opposing WRs this season (T-10th most). Ridley posted 5-90-0 in this matchup two weeks ago next to a gimpy Julio, so our projection may even be a little light in this scenario.