Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints kicks off Sunday (12/03/23) at 1 p.m. EST in New Orleans as a home game for the Saints. Get Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints predictions and best bets below. Our best bet is on the Saints to cover the +4.5 spread.
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints Prediction & Best Bet
Are the Detroit Lions starting to show who they really are? After a hot start to the season, the Lions have ranked dead last in Def DVOA over their past three games. That includes a game-winning field goal against the Los Angeles Chargers, a game-winning touchdown against the lowly Chicago Bears, and a dismantling at the hands of the Green Bay Packers. Three middling teams who have their own offensive struggles, yet had no issue moving the ball against the Lions defense.
Their overall metrics don’t spell out how bad it is. They did play well in their first five games. Still, their defensive metrics are steadily dipping and now rank 13th in Def Pass DVOA. Their dip in pass coverage comes from their inability to stop opposing short throws, dipping down to as low as 27th in Def Pass Success Rate. Aaron Glenn’s system is simply not working against capable passing units, anchoring their linebackers in place and dropping their safeties back.
That opens up the short throw behind the linebackers and in front of the safeties, giving up chunks at a time through the air. That is exactly what Derek Carr and the Saints pass attack needs as they have struggled to move the ball down the field through the air. They currently rank 22nd in Pass DVOA, 20th in Pass Success Rate and 21st in Pass EPA. Better yet, Alvin Kamara’s dual-threat presence brings added stress to an already anchored linebacking group, potentially forcing them to creep up which creates even higher quality passing lanes.
On the other side of the ball, the Saints now get a reeling Jared Goff who has coughed up just six turnovers in his past two games. Goff is in a position to struggle once again as the Saints coverage ranks 11th in Def Pass DVOA, ninth in Def Pass Success Rate and 11th in Def Pass EPA. Pressure has been an issue, yet the Lions offensive line is hobbled by injuries and just got routinely pushed back against a weak Packers front four.
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints Prediction & Best Bet: Saints +4.5
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints Betting Odds
With the Lions looking like their former struggling selves, oddsmakers pegged this in the Saints’ favor by opening the Lions as a +1 underdog. Bettors believe that was a gross over reaction, backing the Lions up to as high as -4.5 in some shops. Passing through the key number of three was certainly a surprise, yet the Saints offense is dealing with key injuries that may hamper their chances.
As for the total, oddsmakers believed points would be scored at a moderate pace as they opened the total at 46.5. Bettors slightly lean toward the overs favor, backing the total up to 47 as of this writing. That’s surprising when correlating Goff’s struggles with the Saints covering, meaning points may come at a premium on the Lions end.
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints Key Injuries
The Saints pass catchers dominate the injury news with Michael Thomas on IR while Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed are listed as questionable on the injury report.
Detroit Lions vs. New Orleans Saints Key Matchups
Can the Saints front seven contain the rushing duo of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs?
LDetroit ions Rush Attack vs. New Orleans Saints Front Seven
Until Jared Goff can round back into form, the Lions may revert to a heavier dose of the run off the backs of David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs. They have been their lone source of consistent success, ranking fourth in Rush DVOA and ninth in Rush Success Rate.
David Montgomery fantasy managers are very pleased after this TD 🔥pic.twitter.com/1OuAncfFQO
— Fanatics Sportsbook | PB (@fanaticsbook_pb) November 23, 2023
That makes for an intriguing battle against a Saints front seven who ranks sixth in Def Rush Success Rate. Should they limit the Lions ground game on early downs, that puts pressure on Goff and the regressing pass attack to convert at a farther distance on third downs. That lessens the quality of conversions, potentially leading to stalled out drives which gives the Saints offense extra possessions to pull ahead and cover the spread.