The New Orleans Saints finished the NFL Regular Season on a down note. As a -8 favorite, New Orleans played the entire game against the rival Carolina Panther at almost half-speed. The Panthers dominated the Saints 33-17.
Luckily for New Orleans, they had already secured the 1-seed in the NFC Playoffs by virtue of beating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-28 in Week 16. The Saints get the week off. They can sit on their couches and watch the two NFC Wildcard battles between the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys, and Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles.
Then, they can get back to work next Monday knowing exactly who they must beat in the NFC Divisional Round to host the NFC Championship. Check out an analysis of how well the Saints figure to perform against the spread in both the NFC Divisional Round and, if they move on, the NFC Championship.
New Orleans Saints 2018 NFL Postseason Betting Analysis
New Orleans Saints’ Regular Season Record Against the Spread
The NFL Season didn’t start off all that well. The Saints dropped their first game of the season, a 40-48 home loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a -10 favorite. But, they recovered quickly, beating the Cleveland Browns 26-18 and then going on an impressive streak both straight up and against the spread.
New Orleans won 9 straight on the moneyline and ATS. They beat some really good teams during the streak: at Baltimore 24-23, at Minnesota 30-22, versus the L.A. Rams 45-35, and versus Philadelphia 48-7.
The Saints ran into a brick wall on Nov. 29, though. The Dallas Cowboys upset New Orleans 13-10. Although the Saints wouldn’t lose another game until Week 17, they wouldn’t perform that great against the spread, going 1-3 ATS in the final month of the regular season.
The Saints are hot SU, but cold ATS. Will New Orleans turn things around against the spread in the playoffs?
New Orleans Saints’ NFC Divisional Playoff ATS Prospects
New Orleans can’t face the Chicago Bears. If Chicago beats the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Jan. 6, the Bears must travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams. If the Eagles beat the Bears, the Saints face Philadelphia because they’re the 6-seed.
New Orleans faces the lowest seeded team left in the NFC the following weekend. That won’t be the Bears. It could be the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys, or Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles might pose the most difficulty for the Saints to cover.
Although New Orleans blasted Philadelphia 48-7 during the regular season, Philly’s a different team with quarterback Nick Foles under center. Foles, for some reason, gets the entire team to play above its talent level. Plus, New Orleans would offer way too many points to the Eagles.
The Seahawks could pose a problem, but Seattle relies on a strong rushing attack and the Saints are great against the rush. We’d think the Cowboys might be the most difficult team for the Saints to beat and cover against because the Cowboys beat New Orleans straight up.
Not so. Things had to go perfectly for the Cowboys in the victory. The Dallas defense showed signs of wear and tear in the final month of the regular season. The Saints should turn the table son the Cowboys if they face them in the playoffs.
New Orleans Saints’ NFC Championship ATS Prospects
If the Eagles upset the Beas, the Saints would battle Philadelphia in the NFC Divisonal Playoffs. They’d then take on the Seahawks or the Cowboys or the Rams in the NFC Championship. They’d handle the Seahawks and Cowboys.
They’d also handle the L.A. Rams. The Rams have had trouble on the second level, at the linebacker position, throughout the season. Los Angeles traded its top tackler from last season so that they could put together what they believed was the top cornerback duo in the NFL, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters.
It hasn’t worked out that way because opponents are demolishing their linebacking corp. The Saints should easily handle the Rams if they face them in the NFC Championship. The Bears are a different story, though.
Chicago is a complete football team. If the Bears beat the Eagles and upset the Rams, the Saints should have trouble covering in the NFC Championship.
Bottom Line: Saints Might Win NFC Without Covering the Spread
New Orleans faces a tough task covering the spread against the Philadelphia Eagles and Chicago Bears. Both teams are hot. New Orleans will cover if they face the Cowboys, Seahawks, or Rams.
That means the Saints could be one of those NFL Conference Champions that win by not covering the spread.