NFL Football Betting: New Orleans Saints at Seattle Seahawks

We’re nearly nine years removed from the Beast Quake game, which gave us a Marshawn Lynch highlight that will no doubt make an appearance during Sunday’s broadcast. A few players from that game, such as Earl Thomas and Golden Tate, remain in the NFL. None are still playing with New Orleans or Seattle, with one notable exception.

Well, sort of. Drew Brees is technically still on the roster, but a thumb injury early in the Saints’ loss to the Rams will have Brees on the sidelines for at least six weeks. Now the offense belongs to Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill, which means it will look completely different. The question is if any of those changes are for the better.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AT SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
LINE: SEAHAWKS -4.5
TOTAL: 44.5

Were Drew Brees the starter, it would be fair to point to a rough history in Seattle during the Pete Carroll era. The Saints are 0-3 straight-up and 1-2 ATS when playing the Seahawks on the road since 2010. Two of those were playoff matchups. The one that wasn’t was a 34-7 loss on a Monday night in 2013.

But the Saints haven’t visited Seattle since a playoff loss later that same 2013 season when the Seahawks went on to win the Super Bowl. Teddy Bridgewater is the presumed starter, but his lone start against the Seahawks didn’t go well either. That was a 38-7 home loss as Minnesota’s starter in December 2015, when the Vikings’ only score came on a Cordarrelle Patterson kickoff return. Taysom Hill has never faced the Seahawks.

The good news for New Orleans is Sean Payton is one of the best coaches in the league. He should have Bridgewater playing better on Sunday and he’ll no doubt have some creative uses for Hill. Perhaps Alvin Kamara, whom Bridgewater didn’t see open for a few easy checkdowns, will be more involved.

Whatever Payton’s plan is, it will have to be good. In Seattle’s last 30 home games in September, they’re 27-3 straight-up and 22-7-1 ATS. Under Carroll, they’re 15-0 and 12-3 ATS. One trend in favor of a New Orleans bet is the fact that Seattle is just 2-3 ATS in their last five September home games. That includes Week 1 of this season when Seattle beat the Bengals 21-20 as 9.5-point favorites.

While New Orleans lost a star player to injury, the Seahawks could see one return. Defensive end Ziggy Ansah is set to make his Seahawk debut this week, meaning this is the first time we’ll see Ansah and Jadeveon Clowney on the field at the same time. Ansah had 12 sacks in 2017 and is a dangerous pass rusher when healthy. With the Seattle crowd behind them, the Seahawk pass rush could be a major problem.

Though they won’t have the home crowd to help, the Saints’ pass rush is probably their biggest asset in this game. New Orleans led the league in sacks entering Thursday night, though they were passed by Jacksonville after the Jaguars sacked Marcus Mariota nine times. 

Seattle’s offensive line is allowing four sacks per game, which is tied for 25th in the league. Per Football Outsiders, Seattle is 28th in adjusted sack rate. If Russell Wilson spends the whole game running for his life, the Saints have a much better chance.

PICK: SEAHAWKS -4.5

It’s not hard to envision the Saints keeping Russell Wilson relatively in check considering their advantage in the trenches. It’s a bit harder to envision the Saints offense putting up a ton of points. Neither Teddy Bridgewater nor Taysom Hill has ever taken a snap in Seattle and not even Drew Brees had much success there. 

Sure, it’s possible Sean Payton pulls a rabbit out of his hat and comes out with an unexpected game plan that Seattle can’t stop. It’s more likely we see a slightly improved version of the offense that managed just three field goals against the Rams. At -4.5, the Seahawks are the better bet.

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