Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints Preview: Prediction, Best Bets, Odds, Depth Charts (12/10/23)
The New Orleans Saints (5-7) host the Carolina Panthers (1-11) this Sunday (12/10/23) at 1:00 p.m. EST in week 14 of the 2023 NFL season. Betting odds have the Saints as the favorites at -5.5 against the spread, while the over/under is set at 37.5 total points.
This article provides Panthers vs. Saints analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the Saints -5.5.
Panthers vs. Saints Prediction & Best Bet
The Carolina Panthers are the worst team in the NFL and it’s not particularly close. The decision to give up DJ Moore and their 2024 1st-round pick for the right to draft Bryce Young has been disastrous so far. Not only has Young struggled while No. 2 pick CJ Stroud has had one of the greatest rookie seasons by a QB in NFL history, but that 1st-round pick they gave up is likely to be the No. 1 overall pick in a much stronger QB draft class.
Head coach Frank Reich has already been fired from Carolina, and GM Scott Fitterer should be next.
After losing 3 games in a row, the Saints are fortunate to draw the Panthers this week in a must-win situation to maintain their hopes of winning the NFC South. QB Derek Carr is questionable for the game, but even backup QB Jameis Winston should have no issue leading the Saints to a victory at home over the lowly Panthers.
Besides the injury situation, one of the biggest hesitations with backing the Saints in this game is their terrible record against the spread under head coach Dennis Allen. New Orleans is 1-8-1 ATS when favored this season, and they are 3-12-1 ATS overall since Allen became the head coach. They are also 0-4 ATS as home favorites this season after going 2-2 in that situation last season after Allen became the coach.
Of course, the Panthers have not been much better ATS, as they are just 2-8-2 on the season and 1-5-1 on the road. They did get their first road cover of the season last week against the Bucs, but we don’t expect them to make it 2 in a row.
The Saints will lean on Alvin Kamara in this game, who was suspended when the Saints beat the Panthers 20-17 on the road in week 2. RB Tony Jones Jr. had 2 touchdowns in that game, and now Kamara gets to feast on a run defense that is dead last in both DVOA and EPA. Given the Saints’ inconsistency this season, you might have to sweat it out, but taking the Saints and laying the points is still the best bet in this game.
Panthers vs. Saints Prediction & Best Bet: Saints win 20-13 | Best Bet: Saints -5 (-110 at DraftKings)
Panthers vs. Saints Betting Odds
The spread in this game has held steady at Saints -5.5. It has briefly moved 0.5 points in both directions, and it’s likely to close within that range.
It’s been a similar story with the over/under, which is set at 37.5 and has not moved more than 0.5 in either direction.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Saints winning 21-16.
Panthers vs. Saints Key Injuries
There were a whopping 29 players across both teams on the first injury report of the week. Of those the most notable is Saints QB Derek Carr, who is in the concussion protocol and is also dealing with rib and shoulder injuries. Other key Saints starters whose status bears monitoring include WR Rashid Shaheed, QB/TE Taysom Hill, and DEs Cam Jordan and Isaiah Foskey.
For the Panthers, some of the key players to monitor include three DBs – S Vonn Bell, S Jeremy Chinn, and CB Jaycee Horn – as well as C Bradley Bozeman and TE Hayden Hurst.
Panthers vs. Saints Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Panthers vs. Saints below.
Alvin Kamara vs. Panthers’ run defense
As noted above, we expect the Saints to lean heavily on Alvin Kamara in this game. Not only is Derek Carr questionable for the game, but the Panthers’ defense is also much more vulnerable against the run than they are against the pass. They are still not great against the pass – 20th in DVOA and 17th in EPA – but that is still much better than their bottom-dwelling run defense.
Kamara is enjoying a monster season, averaging over 21 touches per game and over 102 yards from scrimmage per game. While his efficiency numbers are low relative to past seasons, he is still turning most of his touches into successful plays and doing so with a massive workload.
He has been especially dangerous through the air, averaging a career-high 6.7 receptions per game through 9 games. It will be interesting to see how well he can do as a receiver against this Panthers defense that is allowing the 4th-fewest receiving yards to opposing running backs this season.
Chuba Hubbard vs. Saints’ run defense
Chuba Hubbard has been the Panthers’ most effective offensive weapon over the last few weeks as he has seized the lead RB role away from struggling veteran Miles Sanders. The Panthers’ best hope in this game is to establish the run to help take some pressure of Bryce Young and keep their defense off the field.
There is reason to be optimistic that Hubbard can be successful against the Saints’ defense. The Saints are just 25th in DVOA against the run, and they are 23rd in EPA allowed per rush over their last 5 games (since week 8). Over that same span they have allowed the most yards per carry against zone runs, and 58% of Hubbard’s carries this season have come in zone blocking schemes.
Panthers Depth Chart
Saints Depth Chart
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