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Free NFL Pick From Linebacker: Saints vs Falcons

Saints Falcons Free Pick

New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons (ATL -3, O/U 53)

Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints take on the Atlanta Falcons in what should be a tight intra-division game, with Atlanta currently listed as 3-point home favorites. We favor the Saints in this matchup, as we project them to win outright 54 percent of the time with an average score of 27.0-25.7. New Orleans should easily cover as a 3-point underdog.

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Why will the Saints cover the spread?

  • Atlanta’s defense funnels targets to the opposing running back. The Falcons allowed the most receptions to running backs in each of the last three seasons. Alvin Kamara is an explosive talent out of the backfield who saw the third-most targets (100) among running backs in 2017. He already has caught 15 of 18 targets through two games this season. He should get plenty of looks on Sunday and be able to exploit a Falcons defense missing stud MLB Deion Jones and starting safety Keanu Neal.
  • Drew Brees is projected to have an efficient day in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Linebacker forecasts the veteran QB to complete 25 of 31 passes (80.6%) for 267 yards and 1.52 touchdowns. Atlanta allowed the sixth-highest completion percentage in 2017 (65.13%), so Brees should have no issues getting the ball to playmakers Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr. and Alvin Kamara.
  • The Falcons will be playing without starting left guard Andy Levitre for just the fourth game in the last four seasons. His absence brings back into the fold 2017 starter Wes Schweitzer, who was a liability all season long for Atlanta’s O-line.

Saints @ Falcons: Hot to bet the total

  • With a projected final score totaling 52.7 points, we do not see any value in betting the OVER/UNDER with the number sitting around 53.

Need-to-know stats for Saints @ Falcons

  • 7 catches, 77.5 yards – Michael Thomas projects to be the leading receiver in both receptions and yards against Atlanta, while also leading all WRs with an average of 0.44 touchdowns per simulation. Thomas’s 28 receptions through two weeks are eight more than the next-closest player, while he sits tied atop the leaderboard with seven red-zone targets.
  • 5 catches, 80 yards – Julio Jones is not to be outdone, as he projects to lead all pass catchers with 80 yards receiving on Sunday. The perennial All-Pro receiver has already notched 15 catches on 28 targets, and should once again be the main option in the Falcons aerial attack.
  • 138.9 total yards – Alvin Kamara enters Week 3 seventh in the NFL in yards from scrimmage (240), and should surpass his per game average against the Falcons. We’re projecting 20 total touches for Kamara, which could lead to a huge day considering his 7.7 yards per touch in 2017 set a record for most yards per touch in NFL history for any player with at least 200 touches.
  • 20-33, 278 yards, 1.47 TDs – Matt Ryan is coming off an impressive Week 2 performance where he accounted for 290 total yards and four touchdowns. We anticipate his efficiency will drop as we project just a 60.6 percent completion rate and 1.47 passing touchdowns, but 278 passing yards would be a season high for the former MVP.

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