The New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons will wrap up the regular season in Atlanta on Sunday. While the Saints must win to keep their playoff hopes alive, the Falcons will try to play spoiler by beating them for the second time this season.
The Saints (8-8) have had an up and down season plagued by injuries, but they’ve won three of their last four to remain in postseason contention. They’ve also been tough to beat on the road this season (5-3), look for them to come out firing here given the stakes.
While the Falcons (7-9) have already been eliminated from the playoffs, they’ve played surprisingly well this season given the offseason departure of Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley‘s unexpected absence.
Atlanta edged the Saints in New Orleans, 27-25, in Week 9 and will try to end their season with another win here.
All NFL Week 18 odds and lines are courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook and current as of 1:30 p.m. ET on Friday, January 7.
Saints vs Falcons Prediction
As mentioned, the Saints must win here in order to make the playoffs. While they’ve had a rocky season, reaching the postseason would be an impressive feat for them given their injuries and roster turnover in the wake of Drew Brees‘s retirement.
While New Orleans’ offense has struggled mightily since Jameis Winston went down, they’re still capable of grinding down opponents on the ground via Alvin Kamara and Taysom Hill.
Their defense has also been impressive this year and is allowing the fourth-fewest points per game (19.7), keeping their season alive.
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That defense, which has been especially strong against the run, shouldn’t have too much trouble against Atlanta’s lackluster passing attack. Without Jones and Ridley, Matt Ryan has endured one of the worst seasons of his career and doesn’t have many options to throw to beyond Kyle Pitts and Russell Gage.
If the Saints can limit Cordarrelle Patterson and keep turnovers to a minimum, they should be able to prevail against a Falcons squad that ranks in the bottom six for both points scored and allowed.
Prediction: Saints 20, Falcons 17
Saints vs Falcons Best Bets
Best Bet: Falcons +3.5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
I have the Falcons covering by just the hook with my final score prediction. I’m not expecting a high-scoring game here given the offensive struggles on both sides, so taking the points is simply good practice.
I’m admittedly a little iffy on this play ATS, but as I said, taking points is never a bad thing when a low-scoring game is the expectation per our NFL gameday odds.
Best Bet: Under 40 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
The Saints have scored 20 points just once in their last six games. By the same token, their defense has allowed 20 points or less four times during that stretch.
The Falcons have struggled on offense as well, eclipsing 21 points only once during their past eight games. While Atlanta’s defense has struggled as well, New Orleans is going to run the ball and try to control the clock rather than take shots down the field.
Given the pedestrian play of both quarterbacks and the lack of explosiveness on both sides, this projects to be a low-scoring affair. Take the Under for our NFL bet of the day.