The Detroit Lions and the New Orleans Saints are set to square off in Wild Card betting action this week at the Louisiana Superdome. But before you make your NFL picks for the big game on Saturday, check out some of the great NFL betting trends that we have for the duel!
Detroit Lions Notes: The Lions are playing in the playoffs for the first time since 1999, and they are trying to break a stretch of 21 straight season without a playoff win. Heck, RB Barry Sanders was only in his third season as a pro when Detroit last won a playoff game! This year’s team is as good as any Detroit team has been in the last 50 years, as the team was able to beat some of the better teams in the league and did so in fine fashion as well. Head Coach Jim Schwartz deserves a ton of credit for turning a team that was the laughing stock of the league into a legitimate Super Bowl contender in just a few seasons. The Lions have failed to cover four straight games against NFC foes, and they are just 0-3-1 ATS in their last four road games, including losing SU as short favorites against a Green Bay Packers team in Week 17 that didn’t play the man that will likely be the league’s MVP, QB Aaron Rodgers.
Without a rusher that had even 400 yards on the ground this season, the Lions know that they need to count on their passing game to get the job done against the Saints. QB Matt Stafford became the third quarterback this season and the fifth in the history of the league to throw for 5,000+ yards in a season after his huge game in Week 17 in which he threw for over 500 yards. The argument could be made that he should be the league’s MVP this year since the Lions were able to play playoff ball with him staying healthy for the full season for the first time in his career. Watch out for WR Calvin Johnson, who led the league in receiving yards this year with 1,681. He also had at least 200 yards receiving in three of his last four games, and he had over 550 yards receiving in his last three games combined.
Megatron does have an Achilles tendon injury, but it won’t keep him out of this one, just like the slight ankle injury won’t keep RB Kevin Smith sidelined either. Aside from that, the team is as healthy as it is going to be for the rest of the season, as there are no other notable injuries. RB Jahvid Best has been out of the fold since November with a concussion, and that is really why the team hasn’t been able to find a viable running back option.
New Orleans Saints Notes: It wasn’t just a record breaking season this year for the Saints. It was a record shattering season. QB Drew Brees became the first man to throw for 5,000 yards in two different seasons, and he absolutely smashed the record for the most passing yards in a single season finishing the year with 5,476 yards. The offense for the Saints averaged 34.2 points per game this year, but in spite of that fact, the team was only good enough for the No. 3 seed in the NFC. New Orleans didn’t lose a game at home all season long, going a perfect 8-0, and it had one of the best ATS records in the league as well at 12-4. The Saints have covered eight games in a row, and they are 11-1 ATS in their last 12 home games. Of course, they are trying to erase the horrid memories from last season’s collapse in the playoffs against the Seattle Seahawks, a game in which they were favored by the same 10.5 points in which they are favored by this year in this game against the Lions. New Orleans is also 20-7 ATS in its last 27 games against teams with a winning record, and last year, it didn’t run into a team that had even a .500 record, as those Seahawks were just 7-9.
We’ve already talked about how remarkable Brees was this year, but his receivers deserve a lot of credit as well. TE Jimmy Graham came up just short of setting records for the most receptions and yards by a tight end, falling just shy of TE Dallas Clark’s receptions record of 100 and TE Rob Gronkowski’s yardage record of 1,327. That being said, the rest of these receivers did a remarkable job as well. WR Marques Colston only played in 13 games and came up just shy of 1,000 receiving yards, while WR Lance Moore, RB Darren Sproles, and WR Robert Meachem all had at least 590 receiving yards as well. Sproles set the record for the most all-purpose yards in a season, and he was clearly worth every penny that the Saints gave him in the offseason to replace the departed RB Reggie Bush.
There are some questions to say the least for the Saints this week on the injury front. RB Mark Ingram was just put on IR with a toe problem, and both of the backup tight ends to Graham, David Thomas and John Gilmore are likely out of the fold in this one. Moore has a hamstring issue that will probably keep him on the bench in this one, and Meachem has a knee injury that has left him as questionable. LB Jonathan Vilma has a knee injury, but he should be ready to go come Saturday.
Head To Head: Earlier this season, the Lions came into the Superdome and were beaten 31-17 in a game that they let get away thanks to some stupid penalties. The Saints have won three in a row in this series both SU and ATS, and Detroit’s last win here in the Bayou came in 2002. Though many love the ‘over’ with these two high flying offenses, it must be noted that seven of the last 10 in this series have stayed below the ‘total’, including man games in which the ‘total’ was posted in the 30s and 40s, not in the high 50s as is the case on Saturday.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.