The New Orleans Saints head into Bank of America Stadium to face the Carolina Panthers in an NFC South showdown in Week 3.
Both teams are coming off Week 2 defeats. New Orleans suffered an ugly 20-10 loss at the hands of the Buccaneers at home, while the Panthers fell to 0-2 with a 19-16 road stumble against the Giants.
Additionally, the Saints enter the week with multiple questions surrounding starting quarterback Jameis Winston, who was revealed to be playing with multiple back fractures in a report that emerged prior to Sunday’s game.
With both teams gunning for an all-important division victory, let’s delve into our New Orleans vs Carolina best bets, betting tips, and predictions.
Saints vs Panthers Odds
The Saints are -156 moneyline favorites and sporting a projected advantage of a field goal going into Tuesday, while the projected total stands at a modest 40.5 points.
The most surprising number of the three is arguably the latter, as it’s one of the smallest totals of the week. Particularly if Alvin Kamara is able to return from his ribs injury for the Saints, this game will be loaded with explosive playmakers on either side.
In addition to Kamara, the likes of Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, Jarvis Landry, Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore, and Robbie Anderson will also be on the field.
New Orleans’ status as favorites isn’t unexpected, but those numbers are also ones to watch carefully over the course of the week. With Winston’s outlook at least somewhat shaky and an experienced backup in Andy Dalton behind him, it’s not inconceivable Winston is perhaps given some time off. Such a development would certainly narrow the numbers to a certain degree.
Saints vs Panthers Implied Totals
Saints 21.75, Panthers 18.75
Oddsmakers are clearly counting on the Panthers’ struggles to score points under Baker Mayfield to continue in Week 3, regardless of their home-field edge.
Carolina has averaged 20 points over its first two games, and New Orleans will potentially be down some firepower on offense, so these figures encapsulate the likely close, lower-scoring game that should play out between two teams that know each other well.
Saints vs Panthers Pick of the Day
Read more on this Saints vs Panthers bet below.
Saints vs Panthers Prediction
Panthers 23, Saints 20
Ultimately, I don’t disagree much with the way oddsmakers are seeing the overall scoring environment in this game, but I do feel there will be a bit more offense from both sides.
Naturally, the status of both Winston and Kamara could have an impact on New Orleans’ overall offensive output - especially against a tough defense like Carolina’s. Dalton is a competent veteran that can step in if Winston can’t play or struggles for a second straight week, but it may take him a while to get in sync with the team’s talented group of pass catchers.
Mayfield has been mistake-prone and inaccurate enough over his first two games in Carolina to the point where I believe he’ll also short-circuit some drives and help keep scoring tempered overall. However, McCaffrey, who looked like his old self against New York in Week 2 with 128 total yards on 19 touches, could be a difference maker in this game that keeps New Orleans’ defense off balance.
Meanwhile, the Saints offensive line has some concerns after giving up an NFC-high 10 sacks through two games and now having to face a talented Panthers front. Neither Winston nor Dalton take well to being pressured, and each is certainly capable of mistakes under duress.
In contrast, Mayfield is not only a much more mobile option than his Saints counterparts, but he should have some time to throw against a New Orleans pass rush that’s netted all of one sack through two games.
I see Carolina doing just enough at home to get past their division rival, even if the Saints do get what would likely be a less-than-100-percent Kamara back in the fold.
Saints vs Panthers Bet Tips
Let’s quickly examine some Saints vs Panthers betting trends to consider ahead of this Week 3 NFC South showdown:
- The Saints and Panthers are both 0-2 ATS in their first two games, although New Orleans’ net ATS +/- is -6.0 points while Carolina’s is a more modest -3.8 points.
- The Panthers won last year’s meeting between the teams at BOA Stadium by a 26-7 score, a game in which Winston was held to 111 yards passing, picked off twice, and sacked four times.
- The potential absence of Kamara and Winston’s limitations may not be fully factored into New Orleans’ favorite status, as well as the fact the Saints have notably struggled offensively for essentially seven of their first eight quarters of the season.
Saints vs Panthers Best Bets
Panthers +3 (-114) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
As already outlined, I believe the Panthers can not only keep any loss to less than a field goal but score the home upset outright. The Saints haven’t come close to proving they can be cohesive on offense for four quarters yet, and at the time of this writing, there’s no guarantee about Kamara’s availability or effectiveness.
Carolina’s defense may not be quite on par with that of Tampa Bay’s but it’s definitely close, and it’s a better unit overall than the Falcons one which gave New Orleans plenty of trouble for a good chunk of their Week 1 meeting.
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Over 40.5 Total Points (-110) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Neither Mayfield nor whichever of the two Saints quarterbacks is under center is going to be completely smooth for four quarters, but as mentioned earlier, there’s plenty of impressive skill-position talent on both sides of the ball. Both teams will be looking to bounce back from especially lackluster Week 2 offensive performances, and although the strong defenses on each side will cause trouble on occasion, there should be enough firepower for this very modest total to be exceeded at least slightly.
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PARLAY: Panthers +2.5 & Over 40.5 Points (+280) at FanDuel Sportsbook
WAGER: 1 Unit
Those with a bit of risk tolerance that are looking for a fun sweat in this game could do well to roll with this parlay that essentially combines the prior two predictions.
The line is a half-point less in this parlay, but if you believe a Panthers upset is in the offing, then that doesn’t really matter. At a great price and considering divisional games can be conducive to upsets, this is a wager worth considering.