New Orleans Saints (7-9) at New England Patriots (13-5)
|Date & Time||Thursday August 11, 2016, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: New England Patriots -4 -- Over/Under: 39.5
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The New England Patriots host the New Orleans Saints in Foxborough as both teams kick off their 2016 NFL preseason schedules.
The New England Patriots prepare for life without Tom Brady, as the Pats quarterback is suspended for the first four games of the regular season due to his part in Deflategate. This means that coach Bill Belichick will turn the reins over to third year backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Even without the future hall of famer through week 4, the Patriots still remain one of the top teams in the AFC finishing 3rd in points per game, and in the top 10 in points allowed per game and yards allowed per game. Along with the likes of tight end Rob Gronkowski, and with the majority of the starting defense from last year’s defense returning this season, the Pats look like they could be in line for an eighth consecutive AFC East crown. The key to this season for New England is staying healthy as they went with a patchwork offensive line for most of last season, and have had injury problems in their receiving core for the last few years to guys such as Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman and the aforementioned Gronk.
The New Orleans Saints look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2013, and to finish better than 7-9, the same record that they have ended up with the past two seasons. It’s no secret that last year, the Saints were a mess. Even though they finished in the top 10 in points per game offensively, finishing 31st in defensive yards allowed and dead last in points allowed per game is no recipe for a successful season. Not to mention that 2016 looked like a Sean Payton and Drew Brees-less year for New Orleans but luckily that won’t be the case. Some wonder if they’ll also be able to stun the NFC South and dethrone the defending NFC Champion Carolina Panthers, and with explosive pieces on their roster like wide receiver Brandin Cooks, defensive tackles Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins, this Saints squad could be one to watch this year.
The Saints are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 overall, and 6-2-1 ATS in their last 9 on turf. The Patriots are 18-7-2 in their last 27 home games, while the over is 53-23 in their last 76 games on turf and 40-19 in their last 59 home games. The home team is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
I’m personally not a fan of trying to play spreads in the preseason as anything can happen with position battles going on for starting or even 2nd string spots. The safer play here is on the total, which should go over by the 3rd quarter.