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Winners of the NFC South each of the last two seasons, the New Orleans Saints enter the 2019-20 NFL betting season with a major chip on their shoulder. Rewind to the late stages of the NFC title game when a non-call ultimately proved to cost Sean Payton’s squad a trip to the Super Bowl after it went on to fall to the Los Angeles Rams in overtime. The landscape of the NFL will now seemingly be changed forever with every call or non-call now being up for debate – thanks a lot Bill Vinovich’s crew! With Drew Brees once again at the helm for a 14 th straight season calling the shots for the Saints offense, it hardly comes as a surprise to see the team installed -187 chalk at online sportsbooks to win the NFC South as well as +375 choices to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LIV.
The Saints offense needs no introduction. Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael and Payton have each been calling plays successfully for years. That’s likely not going to change this upcoming season, but for the unit to reach its true juggernaut potential, Brees is going to need to bounce back from a disappointing season. While his 74.4 completion percentage was up from the past few seasons, he threw for less than 4,000 yards for the first time since 2005-06. While much of that had to do with the offense looking to the tandem of Alvin Kamara and the now departed Mark Ingram more often, that was the case the previous season as well and he threw for over 4,300. With another road grading offensive line once again in place, its possible Brees’ numbers continue to fall off. Even if it happens, he must step up when needed. Just feed Michael Thomas - it’s that easy!
The Saints defense ended up ranked No. 14 both overall and in points allowed and proved to be a monster in the sack department once again. It was also a stone wall defending the run in conceding an average of just 80.2 yards per game ( No. 2 ) at a league-best 3.5 yards per carry. There was however one glaring weakness, and it must be rectified if the team is to 3-peat as division champs and get back to the Super Bowl after being robbed of it last season. The pass defense was simply brutal as it got shredded for just under 270.0 yards per game ( No. 29 ) and allowed 7.4 yards per pass attempt ( No. 28 ). It also gave up nearly 2.0 passing touchdowns per contest! Marshon Lattimore hardly looked like the player that took Defensive Player of the Year honors the previous season. He along with the rest of the secondary best get back up to snuff if they plan on shutting down the potent passing attacks they’ll run up against in divisional and non-conference play.
The first month will be very telling of just how good the Saints will be this season. They open with the Texans on Monday night, and then go to Tinseltown for their grudge match with the Rams in the Coliseum. After that, it’s a visit to the 12 th Man where Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks await. Their second prime time matchup of the year will then go in Week 4 back home against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. Anything less than a split will no doubt have over backers holding their breath the rest of the way as the Saints try to eclipse a lofty 10.5-game season win total at top rated sportsbooks. The betting markets aren’t buying into what the Saints are currently selling with heavy -142 juice currently attached to the under. The way the Saints closed the regular season and bowed out in the playoffs, it’s tough to argue with that stance. Could a heavy dose of negative regression be in store for the Who Dat Nation?