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Columns - Magazine

The Gambling Solution: 10/15

by Jeff Baldwin
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Even with no Andrew Luck the Colts still managed to defeat the Texans last Thursday night by a touchdown.  Jeremy and Jeff split their selections as Jeremy nailed the Colts, but dropped his under pick.  Jeff came up empty with the Texans, but hit his over selection.  This Thursday night features an NFC South clash between the Falcons and Saints in New Orleans.  Can the Falcons remain unbeaten?  Let's get to the picks.


Thursday night record

Jeremy: 1-1 (last week); 5-3-2 (season)
Jeff: 1-1 (last week); 3-5-2 (season)

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Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) at New Orleans Saints

Total Points: 51.5

Jeff: The Falcons travel to New Orleans looking to make it a perfect 6-0 after defeating the Redskins in overtime thanks to an interception return for a touchdown.  The Saints dropped to 1-4 as they lost to the Eagles 39-17.  The big question mark for this game is whether WR Julio Jones suits up.  There have been multiple reports that he may sit this game out due to a lingering hamstring injury.  Regardless, the Falcons will continue to pound the ball with RB Devonta Freeman as he has been on a tear the past three games rushing for 362 yards and seven touchdowns.  If Jones doesn't play, look for the Falcons to lean that much more on Freeman.  WR Leonard Hankerson is also banged up with bruised ribs, but all signs point to him playing.  As for the Saints, they couldn't build off their first win of the season against the Cowboys as the Eagles put up 519 yards of total offense.  The Saints aren't the same team when they play on the road.  They return home for this key divisional game versus the Falcons.  I expect them to play better this week as they always seem to come up with a strong effort in prime time games at home.  QB Drew Brees will need to limit his mistakes after throwing an interception and losing two fumbles against the Eagles.  The emergence of WR Willie Snead gives Brees another weapon along with WR Brandin Cooks.  The Saints need to be effective on the ground with RB Mark Ingram if they expect to have any chance to win this game.  Look for the Saints to keep this game close with an outright win not out of the question.  As for the total, it sits at 51.5 which I think is on the high side.  I expect this game to be relatively high-scoring, but I think the total will fall in the upper forties.  Three out of the last four games in this series have gone under the total.

Pick: Saints +3.5
Total points: Under 51.5

Jeremy: The undefeated Atlanta Falcons travel to New Orleans to take on the 1-4 Saints. Atlanta is coming off a stirring overtime victory over the Redskins in which it was their defense that saved the day with a pick-six and not their vaunted offense. Atlanta’s defense has been better than expected giving up less than 80 yards rushing while holding opponents to 22 PPG. That unit will present a difficult challenge for the Saints whose offense has looked out of sync.  The running game is averaging only 85 yards per game while passing for more than 320. Overall, the team has scored just 20 PPG after averaging at least 25 the last five years. QB Drew Brees has developed a strong chemistry with rookie WR Willie Snead who has nearly 400 yards receiving on the season. Despite piling up a ton of yards in the passing game, New Orleans has thrown for just six TDs in five games. They will have to be better in this one to keep up with the Falcons who come in scoring 32 points per game. The difference with this Atlanta team is they now have a dangerous ground game to go with their impressive passing attack. RB Devonta Freeman has been on an incredible run having scored seven touchdowns while racking up 539 total yards over the last three games. I expect him to have another big game against the Saints who are giving up 135 yards on the ground and have allowed at least one rushing touchdown in each game this season. Atlanta may need to rely on the running game even more this week as star WR Julio Jones has been hampered by hamstring and toe injuries. Jones has practiced but wasn’t at 100% against the Redskins and if he does play, won’t be this week either. The posted total for this game is 51.5. Whether or not Jones plays, I see this game going over that number. The Saints are soft defensively and the Falcons will have little issue moving the ball on them. New Orleans, while not as prolific offensively as they once were, still has dangerous weapons and will look to get back on track in front of their home crowd. Atlanta is on a roll and coming off an emotional win while New Orleans is coming off one of the most embarrassing losses under Sean Payton. I like Atlanta to win this game and cover.

Pick: Falcons -3.5
Total points: Over 51.5

Jeff Baldwin
Jeff Baldwin has written Rotoworld's 'Gambling Solution' on Season Pass since 2011. He can be found on Twitter @JeffBaldwin4.