Thursday Night Football Betting: Falcons at Saints

Thursday Night Football Betting: Falcons at Saints

Prior to the 2015 season, the Week 6 Atlanta-New Orleans Thursday nighter looked like a potential mismatch. Well, it’s definitely setting up to be exactly that, only not what was originally expected. The red hot Falcons are 5-0 after sweeping the sorry NFC East, while the lowly Saints are one crazy C.J. Spiller overtime touchdown away from being winless. Under rookie head coach Dan Quinn, Atlanta is rolling on both sides of the ball. Second-year back Devonta Freeman has single-handedly resurrected the rush attack, ranking second in the league in yards on the ground. And the Dirty Bird defense is limiting the backbreaking breakdowns that have crippled the unit for years. As far as the Saints are concerned, they are awful on defense, and Drew Brees is struggling to live up to his Hall of Fame pedigree. Here’s a preview of the Thursday night matchup.

Atlanta at New Orleans +3.5

The terrorizing trio of Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and the aforementioned Freeman all rank in the Top 3 at their respective positions. That’s the good news. The bad news is Jones is battling a bad hamstring that severely limited him last Sunday; the short week obviously won’t do him any favors, so his snap count will be monitored closely. Expect the offense to lean heavily on Freeman, and to a lesser extent Tevin Coleman, against a Saints run defense that excels at not filling gaps. Believe it or not, the ATL run defense tops the league standings in yards, although they are tied for worst in touchdowns yielded with 8. Limiting big plays from Mark Ingram and Spiller should be a priority for Quinn’s charges. An abbreviated week on the road facing a division rival is an intriguing spot for the Falcons. Can they continue to beat up on bad opponents, or will they stumble? They are 5-1 ATS in their last six games away from home.

When Drew Brees’ glaring arm trouble isn’t the most pressing concern on the roster, it’s abundantly clear that the train in Nawlins is about to derail. The absence of a legit downfield threat in the passing game has stunted the offense’s ability to consistently move the chains. Jimmy Graham was a matchup nightmare for most teams. The likes of Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, Brandon Coleman, and Willie Snead aren’t scaring opposing coordinators. The fact that New Orleans ranks 7th in total yards is misleading, because they aren’t finishing drive with touchdowns. As for Rob Ryan’s beleaguered bunch, well, they just plain stink: 29th in scoring, 30th versus the run, and dead last in total yards. Pathetic doesn’t begin to describe Ryan’s defense; if he survives the season, it will be a minor miracle. New Orleans is 1-6 ATS in its last seven at home.

The teams have gone 5-5 ATS in the last ten meetings. Atlanta is 4-1 ATS in 2015, including 2-0 ATS on the road. They are also a sensational 17-8 ATS in the last 25 played inside the Superdome. A letdown is possible, but not likely.

Bet Atlanta -3.5