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NFL Week 15 Monday Night Football Betting - Will Saints Bury Panthers' Playoff Hopes?

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D.S. Williamson

December 17th, 2018

One of the best rivalries in the NFL resumes on Monday, December 17 when current NFC top-seed New Orleans travels to Bank of America Stadium in North Carolina to battle Came Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Saints and Panthers have yet to face each other this season. Their game in Week 15 Monday Night Football betting is the first of two in the final weeks of the regular season. New Orleans can set the tone by dominating the Panthers. The Saints, who have been unreal against the spread and straight up in 2018, want to put a dagger into the heart of Carolina’s playoff chances.

If we know anything about Carolina, they're not going to lay down simply because they've endured a horrifying month of football that's seen their post-season hopes shrivel up. Will New Orleans punish Cam and his squad the way they’ve punished so many other teams this year? Or, will the Panthers find what they need to beat one of the top teams in the NFL?

NFL WEEK 15 MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL BETTING New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers Monday, December 17th – Bank of America Stadium – 8:15pm ET Odds: Saints -6 (52)



New Orleans Must Maintain Mental Consistency

The two times the Saints have lost this season, it’s because they didn’t maintain consistency. The defense had mental lapses in the 48-40 Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Mental lapses happen when players aren’t consistent in how they react to the other team.

On defense, that means getting out of position. That’s what the Saints did in Week 1. In the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Saints sourced inconsistent mental lapses from the most unlikely of New Orleans’ players - the great Drew Brees. The future Hall of Famer made countless, critical errors that he almost never makes.

Although the Saints beat the Buccaneers in Week 14, mental errors in the first half plagued them on both sides of the ball. New Orleans entered half time down 11 points. They rallied for the win and cover, with their defense doing a lot of heavy lifting against Tampa.

If the Saints hope to continue as the 1-seed in the NFC, they can’t have mental errors against the Panthers. Carolina won’t be as forgiving as the Bucs were if New Orleans spots them 11 points. After watching the Rams inexplicably loss to Philadelphia, the opportunity to secure the top spot in the conference is right there for the taking. Focus will be everything for the Saints.

Carolina Can Not Panic

Sounds simple enough. If Carolina wants to make the playoffs, they must just end their losing streak, and to do so they must ignore the sensation of their season collapsing around them in this game. Unfortunately, just like life, that's easier said than done. For Carolina, there’s no obvious reason why they’ve lost 5 in a row after starting the season 6-2 so finding an answer to their woes isn't as straightforward as "just play better".

If anything, the Panthers should have gone the opposite way in 2018: losing most of their games in the first half of the season before turning it on in the second half. They were favored to beat Detroit, Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Cleveland. That’s 4 straight losses against teams they were giving points to and a set of defeats they just couldn't afford.

If the Panthers have it in their heads that they can’t win a football game no mater who they play, it won’t matter the strategy on Monday night. Nothing will matter if the Panthers believe they’ll lose. Losing breeds a losing mentality. This game is truthfully as big of a test of Cam Newton's leadership as there's been in recent years.

Week 15 Monday Night Football Betting Analysis

New Orleans opened at -6.5, but are now at -6. Ever since the line dipped a half a point, bets have gone to New Orleans. By kick-off, the Saints could end up -6.5 to -7.

Based on trends, the Saints should cover that spread. New Orleans is 20-6 ATS in their last 26 on the road, 4-0 ATS versus a team with a losing record, and an awesome 10-3 ATS this season. Those aren’t even the most important trends favoring the Saints.

New Orleans owns the Panthers. They’re 4-0 ATS in the last 4 in Carolina and 6-1 ATS in the last 7 meetings. Carolina doesn’t believe it can win a football game. Now, they must beat one of the top 3 teams in the league. The Saints should roll to an easy win and cover.

Week 15 Monday Night Football Betting Free Pick: Saints -6
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