Expect to see a lot of players you have never heard of Sunday when the Panthers and Saints close the regular season in New Orleans. Carolina could become the first team to start 6-2 and end 6-10, while the Saints have clinched the NFC South, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. They are still solid NFL odds favorites despite no reason to play any starters.
Panthers vs Saints NFL Week 17 Odds, Preview & Pick
- When: Sunday, 1 PM ET
- Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
- TV: Fox
- Radio: SiriusXM/NFL
- Live Stream: NFL Game Pass
- NFL Week 17 Odds: New Orleans Saints -7.5 (Total 43.5)
- Chance of Thunderstorm: 21°C/70°F
- Humidity: 84%
- Precipitation: 57%
- Cloud Cover: 87%
- Wind: 7 mph SSE
- Stadium Type: Indoor
First 2018 Season Meeting
Clubs met just two weeks ago and Saints won 12-9 on a Monday night in Charlotte. That eliminated the Panthers from the playoffs and caused the team to shut down star QB Cam Newton for the season. The Saints’ defense, which has been among the best in the league the last six weeks, held the former MVP to 131 yards passing, sacked him four times and forced two turnovers.
The Saints limited Carolina to 247 yards and 13 first downs. Alvin Kamara had 103 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown, and Drew Brees had 203 yards passing for the Saints. The loss extended the Panthers’ streak of never having posted back-to-back winning seasons since joining the NFL in 1995.
Why Bet on Carolina?
This could be the last game as Panthers coach for Ron Rivera.
One bright spot for Carolina this year was Christian McCaffrey, who was a fantasy football superstar. He ranks second in the league with 1,925 scrimmage yards (1,080 rushing, 845 receiving) this season. McCaffrey has 106 catches in 2018 and surpassed Matt Forte (102 receptions in 2014) for the most receptions by a running back in a single season in league annals.
With 55 receiving yards at New Orleans, McCaffrey would join Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk (1998 & 1999) and Roger Craig (1985) as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 rushing yards and 900 receiving yards in a single season. Rivera hinted the team could rest McCaffrey in the season finale. Rivera said the team needs “to be smart” and thinks Week 17 could be a good time “to evaluate” younger players. Cameron Artis-Payne would likely get the start if McCaffrey sits. Rivera hinted he could sit other guys too.
Panthers wide receiver Devin Funchess says he would ‘’love to be back next season” but right now his focus is on beating the Saints. Funchess is in the last year of his contract and has taken a decreased role in the second half of the season with the emergence of first-round pick DJ Moore. Panthers tight end Greg Olsen says he has 3-4 months of rehab on the right foot that was surgically repaired for the second time. This time a bone graft should strengthen the foot.
With Newton out, Taylor Heinicke started last week’s loss to Atlanta and was picked three times. He also hurt his elbow and is now out. Undrafted free agent Kyle Allen gets the call and will be backed up by Garrett Gilbert, who was signed Wednesday. Allen came on for a series last week and went 4-of-4 for 38 scoreless yards.
Why Bet on New Orleans?
The Saints clinched the NFC’s top spot with last week’s thrilling 31-28 comeback win over Pittsburgh. Drew Brees capped a 326-yard passing performance with a 2-yard touchdown to Michael Thomas with 1:25 left.
Brees completed 27-of-39 passes for 326 yards and the one touchdown. As has been the case for much of the second half of the season, Brees was shaky but made enough plays for the Saints to win. No throw was bigger than Brees’ 25-yard completion to a returning Ted Ginn on 3rd-and-20 from the Steelers’ 32-yard line with 1:41 remaining and the Saints down 28-24. Thomas caught 11-of-13 targets for 109 yards and the touchdown. Thomas has 1,376 receiving yards, 24 short of topping Joe Horn’s single-season mark of 1,399, set in 2004.
Alvin Kamara rushed seven times for 23 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Saints’ Week 16 win over the Steelers, adding four catches for 82 additional yards. Kamara is second in the NFL with 18 TDs but also is likely to sit. He is one touchdown away from setting a franchise single-season mark of 19.
Coach Payton said there were several reasons why the Saints will be looking to win Sunday, rather than cruise out the regular season. “No. 1, it’s our job,” he said. “We’ve got a chance to win more games in the regular season than any team in Saints history.
However, Brees said there’s “no doubt” backup QB Teddy Bridgewater will see playing time against the Panthers in Week 17. The former first-round pick has logged just 19 snaps this season. Brees is eight passing yards short of reaching 4,000 for the 13th consecutive season so he’ll probably be allowed to do that and get out.
Defensive end Cam Jordan (12 sacks) and linebacker Demario Davis (five) are one sack away from tying a career high (Jordan) and setting a new career high (Davis).
Panthers vs Saints NFL Week 17 Betting Trends
- Over is 5-0 in the last 5 meetings in New Orleans
- Underdog is 8-1 ATS in their last 9 meetings
- Over is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings
- Road team is 24-11 ATS in their last 35 meetings
- Carolina is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games
- Carolina is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Carolina’s last 6 games
- New Orleans is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 games
- New Orleans is 13-1 SU in its last 14 games
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of New Orleans’s last 6 games
Expert NFL Betting Prediction for Panthers vs Saints
Take the points in this glorified scrimmage.