One of the best rivalries in the NFL resumes on Thanksgiving night when the white hot New Orleans Saints host the Atlanta Falcons. For the Falcons, it’s a must-win game. Atlanta won’t catch the Saints in the NFC South Division, but they still have an outside shot at a wildcard. To keep hope alive, they have to overcome a huge Week 12 Thanksgiving Thursday betting line where they’re being served up as big underdogs.
New Orleans must simply do what they’ve been doing. Led by record-breaking quarterback, Drew Brees, the Saints have been unreal since the Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, going 9-0 SU and ATS.
The Saints are the best team in the NFL right now, but this is a heated rivalry. Can Atlanta stop New Orleans? Or will the Saints continue to mow down the rest of the NFL?
NFL WEEK 12 THANKSGIVING THURSDAY BETTING
Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints
Thursday, November 21st – Mercedes-Benz Superdome – 8:20pm ET
Odds: Saints -13 (60)
Falcons Hope Matty Ice Can Win it For Them
Atlanta won’t stop the Saints from scoring, even on a short week. New Orleans has posted 45 or more in 3 straight and are averaging 37.8 per game. Just holding New Orleans to 35 would be a major accomplishment (which is a ridiculous thing to say). That means their former MVP-winning quarterback must go tit for tat with Brees for the Falcons to have any shot at the victory.
Matt Ryan has played well even though the overall team he plays for hasn’t. If Ryan had more balance around him, he might very well still be in the MVP discussion. He should eclipse 4,000 receiving yards, throw over 30 touchdowns, and throw less than 7 interceptions. Matty Ice’s quarterback rating is 111.5.
The only way the Falcons can keep up with the Saints is for Ryan to have one of those special games. Still, Ryan throwing for 4 touchdowns might not even do it. This has been a solid, statistical season for the Falcons’ quarterback, but it certainly doesn’t feel momentous by any stretch.
New Orleans Looks For Continued Defensive Improvement
When you’re the highest-scoring team in the NFL, there’s not much to discuss on the offensive side of the ball. However, their defense hasn’t always lived up to the standard required to make New Orleans a truly dominant force. They’re playing much better than they have in recent years, but there are still wrinkles that should worry Saints backers heading in to Week 12 Thanksgiving Thursday.
The Saints rank 28th teams in red zone defense. Opponents score a touchdown 70% of the time once they get to the 20 or beyond. New Orleans played well at stopping the Eagles from scoring points, but Philly is a categorical disaster right now. Also, that was a single game.
Long-term, the Saints must improve their red zone defensive efficiency. If they don’t, they could start losing games to teams like Atlanta who average over 25 points per game with weapons like Julio Jones.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Thursday Betting Analysis
As is natural, very few NFL bettors are backing the Atlanta Falcons. The line opened New Orleans -10. Since then, it’s climbed a massive 3 points to Saints -13. Even at -13, most of the action is still dedicated to New Orleans.
The trends definitely back up the sentiment. Although the underdog in the matchup is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings, the Falcons are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games against New Orleans while also being 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games in the Superdome. Atlanta’s also 1-4 ATS in their last 5 on the road and 2-6 ATS in their last 8. The Saints are an awesome 9-0 ATS in their last 9.
To put things simply, New Orleans puts up a ridiculous amounts of points while the unit that plays on the other side of the ball has gotten better. Unless the Saints implode in some way, or Brees gets hurt, they should easily cover the massive spread.
Week 12 Thanksgiving Thursday Betting Free Pick: Saints -13