Today's Free Picks for
Posted Friday at 12:45 PM EST
1:00 PM EST. The Saints are 0-2 while the Panthers are 2-0 but Carolina is getting very little credit in this market and we can understand why. You see, Carolina has defeated San Francisco and Buffalo and barely got by the Bills last week. The Panthers 23-3 victory over the 49ers in Week 1 didn’t resonate very loudly either. Combined, Buffalo and San Francisco may combine to win 6-8 games this year in 32 tries so again, Carolina is not getting near the same credit as other 2-0 teams and that provides us with an opportunity. Do not dismiss the Panthers holding two NFL teams to three points in back-to-back weeks.
Meanwhile, New Orleans lost on the road in Minnesota on Monday Night Football in Week 1 and subsequently got whacked in Week 2 by Tom Brady and the Patriots, who were coming off an embarrassing Thursday night loss to Kansas City. Both those losses are acceptable in the market and even predictable and now the Saints are getting some credit for being “battle-tested” against two playoff-bound teams. While strength of schedule counts for something, there is a difference between being competitive in those difficult games and getting torched not once but twice in two games. In Minnesota, the Saints were outgained 470-344. The Vikes may not put up 470 again this year. On 3rd down, Minnesota went 9/14 for a 64% success rate, which further emphasizes how soft this Saints defense truly is. The 29-19 final in Minnesota was flattering to Sean Payton’s group. In Week 2, New Orleans allowed Brady to throw three TDs in the first quarter for the first time in his career. That game was over before the first hot dog of the day was sold. Sean Payton is an offensive-minded coach that pays no attention to defense and so this is a defense that can’t get off the field. Every time the opposition has the ball, the Saints’ chances of getting a stop are weak. They don’t stop anyone. We cannot and will not trust the Saints to counterpunch every time. This is a bad football team that got more exposed in Week 2 than they did in Week 1 and it likely continues here. Play Carolina.
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CAROLINA -5½ -105 (Risking 2.1 units - To Win: 2.00)