New Orleans Saints vs. Indianapolis Colts (12/16/19): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

This Week: 5-0
All Time Results: 92-79-2, +12.53 Units

Indianapolis Colts +9 @ New Orleans Saints -.1 Unit

Stat: Over the last calendar, the Saints are 3-10 ATS in games that Drew Brees starts.

Counter-Stat: Drew Brees has the highest average QBR in the NFL over the last two seasons.

The Saints’ failure to reward their gambling backers over the last year with Brees under center is not because Drew Brees is not good.  He has played excellently throughout most of this time span.  Although he didn’t seem to have his fastball at the end of last season, this year has been a different story.  He has been nearly perfect over the course of the last month, posting 75+ QBRs in 3 of his last 4 games.  So why aren’t the Saints covering?

Saints are 5-3 SU with Brees this year.  5-0 without him.

Was there some sort of lightning in a bottle this season when Teddy Bridgewater filled in?  I have no doubt that Drew Brees is the better QB, but I wonder if overcoming Brees’s absence may have sparked a mandate within the team to go out and beat expectations.  With Brees back in the fold, things are just a little bit tighter around the organization – and that might not always be good for week-to-week performance.  There’s a little more to lose from here on out.  With Brees back, it’s Super Bowl or bust for the HOF QB and his team.

Indianapolis Colts +7.5 (+108) @ New Orleans Saints – .1 Unit

Stat: From 2008-2014, the New Orleans Saints went 34-14-2 ATS at home, a 71% hit rate, covering the spread by almost 6 points per game.

Counter-Stat: The Saints are under .500 ATS at home since 2000, 76-83-5, including dropping 8 of their last 11 at home against the spread.  Take out 2008 to 2014, and the Saints are only 37% ATS at home this century.

So let’s look at that magical corridor of home dominance, during which the franchise won its only World Championship.  Here were a few things going on around the franchise at that time:

  1. Rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
  2. Drew Brees & Sean Payton’s third year together after joining in 2006.
  3. 2009 SB
  4. Bounty Gate (2009-2011) + 2012 Sean Payton Suspension + 2013 Sean Payton return.

I’m not sure exactly why this confluence, or jambalaya, of circumstances created the high watermark of home performance for this often moribund 50-year old franchise.  But it makes sense to me that it did.  And I’m not we can expect that blip of dominance will be indicative of the Saints HFA going forward.

The old theory was that New Orleans HFA correlated with whether or not it had a good team.  But these past two years have arguably been its most successful regular-season run and they’ve been below .500 ATS in the Super Dome.  They’ve been a better road team recently.

In a season, where road dogs have dominated ATS, I think we have value here, fading perhaps the most lauded HFA in football.

Additionally, New Orleans has failed to cover 4 out of their last 5 home MNF games, racking up a negative ATS margin of -4.6.  The one exception to this recent trend, Week 5 last year, the Saints had a special reason to celebrate when Drew Brees claimed the all-time passing leader record in a win over Washington.

Overall, the Saints have dropped 6 of their last 8 MNF games ATS.

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Brissett Over 1.5 Passing TDs (-110) – .1 Units

Saints’ excellent D-line will dissuade Colts from trying for goal-line dives. Look for Frank Reich to bring out some tricks in the red zone to try and cash drives in early without getting into goal-to-go situations.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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