After bagging both of their two regular-season meetings, Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will look to avoid the big upset when they take on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers in their third meeting against their longtime NFC South division rivals in their NFC Wild Card opener this coming Sunday.
Carolina Panthers Vs New Orleans Saints Spread & ATS Pick
Carolina Panthers (11-5) at New Orleans Saints (11-5)
When: Sunday, January 7, 2018 at 4:40 PM ET
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
NFL Odds: Saints -6.5
Why Bet Carolina Over Atlanta
Carolina had their three-game winning streak snapped in their 22-10 regular-season finale at Atlanta but the Panthers are one of the hottest teams remaining as they enter the postseason having won seven of their last nine games overall. Unfortunately for the Panthers, their only other loss during the stretch was a 31-21 road loss at New Orleans in Week 13.
Why Bet Atlanta Over Carolina
The Saints hit the playoffs coming off a surprising 31-24 road loss at Tampa Bay that almost no one saw coming, so they should have plenty of motivation against Carolina to pull off the rare three-peat. However, it should also be noted that the Saints have lost three of their last six games by falling to the Falcons 20-17 in Atlanta in Week 14 and losing on the road to the Rams 26-20 in Week 12. The good news is that the Saints beat the Panthers at home 34-13 in Week 3 and have topped the 30-point plateau against Carolina in both of their meetings this season.
Carolina Panthers Vs New Orleans Saints ATS Pick
If you’re worried about the Saints being able to beat the Panthers for the third time this season, you should know that, since 1990, there have been sixteen times when a team was swept in the regular season and then met that opponent a third time in the playoffs. The team that swept the regular season went 11-5 (8-7 ATS) in the postseason. That says the saints have a great chance of beating the Panthers for the third time this season.
However, the Panthers are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight-up loss and an encouraging 7-3 ATS in their last 10 road games. While the Saints have gone 13-4 ATS in their last 17 games against their NFC South division rivals, New Orleans is also 2-5 ATS in their last seven games.
Last but not least, while Carolina has gone 1-4 ATS in their last five road dates against New Orleans and a winless 0-6 ATS in their last 6 meetings, the Underdog in this NFC South rivalry has gone 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings while the road team is a consistent 23-10 ATS in their last 33 meetings. This game has the unmistakable look and feel of a classic field goal finish to me. Back the Saints to win but the Panthers to cover the chalk!
Pick: Carolina +3