TNF Betting Preview | Saints @ Falcons (This Line Jumped Back Up to Falcons -2.5

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Quite a few Thursday Night matchups this NFL season have been lackluster to say the least, but the same cannot be said for this week. The start to Week 14 offers up a very meaningful game within the NFC South when the New Orleans Saints (9-3) travel to play the Atlanta Falcons (7-5).

When: 8:25 PM ET, Thursday, December 7, 2017

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia

TV Coverage: NBC, NFL Network

Currently Betting Line: Saints -1.5 Total: 52.5 (as of Thursday evening this line had moved back up to Falcons -2.5)

It’s tough to say who this game means more to. The Saints are currently atop the NFC South division with their sights on a bye into the Divisional Round of the playoffs, with home field advantage throughout still in their grasps. Did you see my article earlier in the week talking about the Saints and Super Bowl props that my bookie was offering?

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The reigning NFC Champs are fighting for their playoff lives at 7-5, one win behind the current Wild Card holders (Seahawks and Panthers). Thankfully (maybe) for the Falcons, they have another date set with the Saints in New Orleans on Christmas Eve with a Week 17 tilt against the Panthers in Atlanta. Their fate is in their own hands.

Atlanta had been rolling until their meeting last week against the Minnesota Vikings. They had won three in a row, and 4 out of five when the league’s second ranked defense shut Matt Ryan and the offense down, holding them out of the endzone for the first time since the Panthers shut them out on December 13, 2015. This also ended Ryan’s streak of 30 straight games with a touchdown pass.

When I talk about the Saints two words come to mind…defense and rushing. The Saints got back on track after suffering their first loss in nine games to the Rams in Week 12, beating the Carolina Panthers 31-21 last week. New Orleans has been getting it done on the ground, and surprisingly, with defense.

Not long ago were the days when the Saints were the opposite team, when their defense was among the worst in football and they had to win games with Drew Brees throwing it all around the field. Not now. They rank 12th in total team defense and second in total team offense, lead by running backs Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram and of course Brees. They have run for a 3rd best 1711 yards this year, including a league leading 5 yards per carry.

These two division rivals obviously know each other very well, but as stated earlier this is the first matchup between the two this season. Looking back over the past 10 games when these two play it’s basically a photo finish, with both being 5-5 both straight up and against the spread. On top of that, the total is 4-5-1.

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This one opened with the Saints a 4-point road favorite, but has been bet down to 1.5 at most top sportsbooks. The total opened at 54.5, but was also bet down anywhere from 52.5 to 51.5, depending on where you shop. How many books do you shop at? I have 4 I check out often, but love the Live lines at America’s Bookie.

Do you like to look at betting trends? Here are a few that caught my eye. The Saints are 12-2 ATS in their last 14 against the NFC South and 13-3 ATS in their last 16 on the road. On the flipside, the Falcons are 6-1 in their last seven Thursday games, however, they are 1-4 ATS in their last five following a straight up loss and an ATS loss.

I think we’re in for some fireworks on Thursday night, and I am leaning towards bucking the current trend and going OVER. Atlanta has been too inconsistent this year, and the Saints are playing like they have something to prove.

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