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NFL odds Week 15: How to bet Falcons-Saints

The Atlanta Falcons square off against the New Orleans Saints in a Week 15 NFL matchup. 

Both of these squads are well rested after bye weeks. 

Here’s everything you need from a betting perspective on the Falcons-Saints game, from the point spread, moneyline, total Over/Under and insights (odds via FOX Bet):

NFL Week 15: What should you bet for the Falcons and Saints matchup this weekend?

NFL Week 15: What should you bet for the Falcons and Saints matchup this weekend?

See who Sammy P likes in this matchup!

RELATED: Week 15 lines

Falcons at Saints (1 p.m. ET Sunday, FOX)

Point spread: Saints -3.5 (Saints favored to win by more than 3.5 points, otherwise Falcons cover)
Moneyline: Saints -213 favorites to win (bet $10 to win $14.69 total); Falcons +160 underdogs to win (bet $10 to win $26 total)
Total scoring Over/Under: 42.5 points scored by both teams combined

Atlanta Falcons


New Orleans Saints


Insights from FOX Sports Gambling Expert Warren Sharp:

The Falcons don’t really throw the ball often or short. When they do throw, they tend to throw deep. 

No team threw a lower rate of passes between 1-5 air yards than the Falcons (20%). 

And they also ranked 29th in percentage of throws that went 1-9 air yards (38%). 

But they ranked first in percentage of throws that went 20-plus air yards (18%) and first in percentage of throws that went 10-plus air yards (43%). 

That’s right, they were the only team in the NFL to throw 20-plus yards downfield nearly as often (18%) as they threw 1-5 air yards (20%). 

And they were one of only three teams to throw 10-plus yards downfield more often (43%) than they threw 1-9 air yards (38%). 

But the problem with throwing deep was that Mariota was terrible when doing so. In fact, he was basically the worst QB in the NFL when doing so. 

Out of 40 QBs in the NFL with at least 100 attempts this season, when passing over 20 yards downfield, Mariota ranked: 

  • 40th in accuracy
  • 39th in completion rate
  • 38th in yards per attempt
  • 35th in success rate
  • 34th in EPA/att

In other words, he was one of the worst QBs in the NFL.   

Enter Desmond Ridder.   

Atlanta won’t need Ridder to do too much. After all, Atlanta ranks 32nd in early-down passing rate in neutral game state. So this isn’t a case where Ridder will be chucking the ball a lot. 

But Atlanta doesn’t need to chuck the ball a lot to score points. 

On the season, Atlanta scored the 15th-most points per drive, the 17th-most touchdowns per drive, had the fourth-fewest three-and-outs per drive and ranked ninth in red-zone efficiency. 

So they shouldn’t be considered a bad offense that didn’t score because they didn’t pass the ball. They actually rank as the 12th-best offense overall and were above average in scoring points. 

It’s actually the perfect offense to insert a rookie quarterback into, particularly after a bye and particularly late in the season.   

So if Marcus Mariota was supposedly the better QB, what does Desmond Ridder bring to the table? 

Although the sample size is really small, here is what Ridder did throwing over 20-plus yards to guys that wouldn’t make the team in the preseason vs. Mariota.  

  • Ridder: +0.95 EPA/att, 44% success, 21.0 YPA, 67% accuracy rate
  • Mariota: -0.13 EPA/att, 23% success, 7.2 YPA, 49% accuracy rate

For Ridder, these passes he threw were targeting primarily third-stringers and players cut, including Frank Darby, Jared Bernhardt, Cameron Batson, Parker Hesse, John Raine, Feleipe Franks and Damiere Byrd.   

Over the second half of the season, the Saints defense improved enough to rank average in pressure rate after being one of the worst teams in the NFL. And their run defense has likewise improved to rank league average in EPA/rush and opponent yards before contact per rush.   

But with a bye week to prepare, I expect this offense will be creative enough to see success against the Saints defense. 

On the other side of the ball, I expect big things from this Saints offense. 

While that sounds like an oxymoron, the reality is no offense in the NFL played a tougher schedule of defenses over the second half of the season than the Saints. They played the following: 

Every one of those teams ranks above average, most are top-10 defenses.   

Meanwhile, the Falcons defense has done nothing since Week 8 but play bottom-10 offenses.   

The Saints aren’t a good offense, but finally playing the No. 30 defense, they’ll look competent. And when the Saints have faced bottom-10 defenses, they are averaging over 28 PPG. Atlanta has allowed opponents to score on 51% of their drives on the road this season, the highest rate in the league. 

I’d look towards the Over but wait to see if you can grab 42.5 should this get bet lower.

Are you ready to make an NFL bet? If so, head over to FOX Bet for all your wagers.

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