MetroBet takes a look at where to place your money for the Saints versus Panthers showdown on Monday Night Football.
New Orleans Saints (-6.5) at Carolina Panthers
Moneyline: Saints -280, Panthers +230
Betting Total: 50.5 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 8:15 p.m., ESPN
After avenging their Week 1 defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday, the Saints will head to Carolina to take on the Panthers on Monday Night Football to wrap up Week 15.
Cam Newton and company have essentially played themselves out of the postseason, losing five straight games, three of which were against sub-.500 opponents. They failed to cover in all five of those contests. Even though they play this game at home, where they are 5-1 this season (4-2 against the spread), it’s hard to have any faith in Carolina right now.
The Panthers’ most effective weapon this year has been Christian McCaffrey, the feature back on the NFL’s third-best rushing attack by yards per game. Even during this five-game slide, McCaffrey has accounted for eight total TDs. Despite his recent excellence, he could be held in check on Monday night, as New Orleans brings their top-rated rush defense to Bank of America Stadium.
The Saints’ stoppers also excel at creating turnovers, while the Panthers can’t seem to stop coughing up the ball lately. New Orleans has a plus-8 turnover differential in their last five games, while Carolina has a minus-6 turnover differential in the same span.
Regardless of venue, the Saints have been a solid wager, as they’ve covered in seven of their last eight road tilts. Drew Brees has regressed in recent weeks after throwing his hat into the MVP ring in midseason, but his 2018 numbers are still incredible, especially his 31-4 TD-INT ratio. Cam Newton, who is nursing a sore shoulder, has thrown five INTs in his last two games alone (compared to just two TDs). Brees shouldn’t struggle all that much against the Panthers’ 20th-ranked secondary.
Alvin Kamara appears due for a big game too. New Orleans’ top tailback has been kept out of the end zone in three straight contests but accounted for two TDs on 126 all-purpose yards against Carolina in their most recent meeting.
The choice against the spread is clear, but there are conflicting trends regarding the totals market. The Under has cashed in five of the last six Saints road games, but the total has been exceeded in each of the last five Panthers home games. These clubs have gone Over in seven of their last eight meetings, but significant betting action has seen the total slide down four points over the course of the week, which is highly unusual. Avoid the totals market, but lay the points with the Saints.
Prediction: Saints win, 30-17
The play: Saints -6.5