The New Orleans Saints and Houston Texans will both look a little different when they take the field for their Week 1 preseason game Saturday night in Houston.
The Saints will be without longtime Head Coach Sean Payton, who retired last offseason after 16 seasons at the helm in New Orleans. He’s been replaced by Dennis Allen, who was previously the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders from 2012-2014.
As for the Texans, they are free of quarterback Deshaun Watson after trading him to the Cleveland Browns. They are also looking to improve this year after going 4-13 last season.
Which rebuilding team will come out on top here? Let’s dive in with our New Orleans vs Houston predictions and best bets.
Saints vs Texans Odds
Like many preseason games, we’re seeing tight lines and a low total for this matchup on our NFL odds. The Saints are favored by a hair, likely because they were 9-8 last year while the Texans went 4-13.
Saints vs Texans Implied Score
Saints 17.25, Texans 16.25
Not surprisingly, this is expected to be a low-scoring game given the dearth of quality quarterback play. With Jameis Winston unavailable due to a foot sprain, the Saints are leaning on 34-year-old Andy Dalton to lead the offense in his first game for New Orleans.
Meanwhile, the Texans will likely use a combination of Davis Mills and Kyle Allen under center, neither of whom have accomplished much at the NFL level yet.
Saints vs Texans Pick of the Day
Read more on this Saints vs Texans bet below.
Saints vs Texans Matchup
As mentioned above, Winston will sit for New Orleans, leaving them shorthanded under center beyond Dalton. Second-year quarterback Ian Book is the primary backup now and the team just signed K.J. Costello, although he’s unlikely to play.
We probably won’t see much of Alvin Kamara either, if at all, which is unfortunate because he’s easily the best player on either team and would give the Saints a significant edge.
Dalton has looked good in camp, at least, which bodes well for New Orleans here. Their defense also stacks up well against a Texans offense that lacks serious playmakers.
Saints vs Texans Prediction
Saints 17, Texans 10
Dalton may be getting up there in years, but he’s still a competent, experienced quarterback. He’s played well in training camp and should flourish against a Texans defense that allowed the sixth-most points and second-most yards last year.
The Saints also have a sound defense that led them to a winning record last year. New Orleans surrendered the fourth-fewest points and seventh-fewest yards, so this will be a challenge for Mills and Allen.
As such, this should be a low-scoring affair where the Saints win the turnover battle and ultimately the game.
Saints vs Texans Bet Tips
New Orleans played well on the road last year, going 6-3 away from Caesars Superdome. Houston, on the other hand, was just 2-7 at home.
Saints vs Texans Best Bets
Saints -1 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
The Saints were the much better team last year and were competing for a playoff spot before Winston went down with a torn ACL in Week 8. Two of the Texans’ four wins came against the equally-terrible Jacksonville Jaguars and they lost eight games in a row at one point.
Mills should be better than he was last year, but I don’t think he’ll have much success against New Orleans’ defense. Meanwhile, Dalton and co. should do enough on offense for the Saints to win and cash our NFL pick of the day.
Under 33.5 Total Points (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
We already touched on the underwhelming quarterback play that will be on display here. It’s also worth noting that both of these offenses struggled last year, ranking in the bottom half of the league in scoring.
The Saints have a formidable defense as well, which should help the Under hit.