New England Patriots at New Orleans Saints (-1.5, 56.5)
The last team to have an undefeated regular season looks to end the Saints' attempt at perfection Monday night in the Big Easy.
Tom Brady and the 7-3 Patriots roll into the Superdome for a clash with Drew Brees and the 10-0 Saints. The game features the top two offenses in the NFL, with both units averaging more than 400 yards per game.
The Saints opened as 3-point favorites, but heavy action on the Patriots forced some books to move New Orleans to as low as 1-point chalk. The posted total of 55.5 has moved to 56.5, with the majority of bets coming in on the over.
New Orleans has been banged up a bit in recent weeks, but hopes to have three significant starters back in the lineup this week. Running back Reggie Bush (knee), cornerback Jabari Greer (groin) and defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis (knee) are all listed as probable on the team's injury report.
The Pats aren't expected to be missing any of their star players Monday, though a number of players were limited in practice drills this week. Tackle Matt Light, cornerback Shawn Springs and running back Sammy Morris are all listed as questionable.
Saints keep marching in
The Saints continue to light up the scoreboard, leading the league with an average of 36.4 points per game. New Orleans has not been held to less than 24 points in its first 10 games, eclipsing the 40-point plateau four times.
Oddsmakers have caught on, however. Despite putting up 30, 28 and 38 points the past three weeks, New Orleans has gone under in two of those games. The lone over in that span came by half a point, a 28-23 victory over the Rams two weeks ago.
The Saints are also 1-3 against the spread in their last four contests.
Early in the season, there were questions about how long it would take Pats QB Tom Brady to shake off the rust after missing nearly all last season with a knee injury. No one's asking those questions anymore.
After throwing for 300 yards only once in his first five games, the Michigan alum has tossed for 300-plus yards in each of his past five contests, with 14 touchdown passes and just four interceptions.
“I think we’re obviously playing a lot better football as a unit,” Brady said. “My job is pretty simple when they block the way they block and Randy (Moss) and Wes (Welker) are out there doing their thing.”
In the spotlight
Playing in front of a national audience is nothing new for the Patriots. Including playoffs, New England has been on national TV 20 times in the past four seasons. The Patriots have won 11 of those contests, going 11-8-1 ATS and 10-8-2 over/under.
New Orleans has been in the national spotlight only 12 times in that span, going 7-5 straight up and 5-6-1 ATS. Nine of those 12 games went over the total.
No lead is safe
Halftime leads haven't always been safe for the Patriots this season. In all three of its losses, New England held a halftime advantage before being outscored by a combined 47-10 score in defeats at the Colts, Jets and Broncos.
That could spell doom against the Saints, who have overcome sizable halftime deficits in two of their wins. New Orleans rallied from a 24-10 hole to beat the Dolphins 46-34 in Week 7, and outscored the Panthers 24-3 in the second half of a 30-20 victory in Week 9.
New Orleans is 12-3 ATS in its last 15 games as a favourite, and 12-4-1 in its last 17 overall. The Patriots are 37-17-2 ATS in their last 56 games on the road.
The over is 4-0 in the Saints'last four Monday games, 14-3-1 in their last 18 home games and 16-4-1 in their last 21 games on field turf. The Patriots have seen the over go 8-2-1 in their last 11 games on field turf and 12-5 in their last 17 games as an underdog.