Should Saints be heavier favorites against Titans in Week 16?

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 08: Josh Hill #89 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with Michael Thomas #13 after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter in the game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on December 08, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 08: Josh Hill #89 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates with Michael Thomas #13 after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the second quarter in the game at Mercedes Benz Superdome on December 08, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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Saints at Titans Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Saints -3
  • Over/Under: 50.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Saints are getting plenty of love this week with more than 70% bettors backing them to cover the short spread against the Titans. This matchup has also garnered 65% of the tickets wagered on the total as of Thursday. Will bettors get a repeat of last weekend?

Our experts preview the matchup, featuring matchup analysis, projected odds and a pick.

Saints-Titans Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Both teams are banged up

Adam Humphries (ankle) continues to sit out of practice, so I wouldn’t expect him to play. I’d assume Corey Davis (ankle) and Derrick Henry (hamstring) will be ready to go even though Henry was downgraded to no practice on Thursday.

Henry didn’t practice last week, but still managed to suit up. He may be headed for another questionable tag with the mid-week downgrade. Adoree Jackson (foot) was also downgraded to no practice on Thursday.

The Saints are healthy on offense, and offensive lineman Andrus Peat has finally resumed practicing after he broke his arm. He may not suit up this week, but I’d imagine he’ll be ready to go for the playoffs.

Other non-skill players to monitor would be safeties Von Bell (knee) and C.J. Gardner-Johnson, along with offensive lineman Larry Warford (knee). Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Saints Pass Offense vs. Titans Pass Defense

Since returning from injury in Week 8, Drew Brees has completed 76.3% of his passes for an average of 291.3 yards, 2.7 touchdowns and 0.3 interceptions. Unsurprisingly, the Saints are No. 1 in pass success rate since Brees’ return (per Sharp Football Stats).

And over the past two games, Brees has an 83.9% completion rate and 328 yards and 4.5 touchdowns per game. Brees and the Saints’ passing offense are in fine form.

The Titans have a respectable defense, but it’s a total funnel, ranking No. 5 against the run but No. 22 against the pass (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric).

On top of that, perimeter cornerbacks Malcolm Butler (wrist, IR) and Jackson (foot) are both injured. Jackson has missed the past two games after suffering an injury in Week 13. Butler suffered a season-ending injury in Week 9, and since then the Titans defense has ranked No. 30 in pass success rate allowed.

If Jackson is out, All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas is likely to match up most with backup cornerback LeShaun Sims, who has allowed a 73.9% catch rate this year.

And when not facing Sims, Thomas will get aged perimeter corner Tramaine Brock — claimed off waivers just two weeks ago — and slot corner Logan Ryan, who has allowed an NFL-high 103 targets, 72 receptions and 893 yards.

On any given snap, Thomas will dominate whomever he faces, and wide receivers Ted Ginn Jr. and Tre’Quan Smith should be able to contribute.

The Titans are Nos. 22 and 23 in pass defense DVOA against tight ends and running backs. The Titans safeties and linebackers are likely to struggle against tight end Jared Cook and running back Alvin Kamara.

Against this defense, Brees could have his third straight 300-yard, three-touchdown game. — Matthew Freedman

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Saints -1.5
  • Projected Total: 47.5

Brees had a historic performance on Monday Night Football, breaking two NFL records: Passing Peyton Manning for most career touchdowns and the highest completion percentage in a game by going 29-for-30.

It should come as no surprise that the public is all over the Saints here. Despite this lopsided action, the spread was pulled down to -2.5 earlier this week. And most books still at Saints -3 are requiring you to pay -120 to -125 of juice on the Titans at +3.

This should be a red flag that the market is inviting you to bet on the Saints, and honestly, if sports betting were as simple as betting on teams that looked really good the week before, we would all be millionaires and no sportsbook would be able to sustain itself financially.

The sharp play here is to wait and see if this number can get up to +3.5, then come in hard on the Titans. Tennessee could win this game if it keeps the ball out of Brees’ hands, which would involve giving Henry all the carries he can handle.

It makes sense to pair up the Titans +3 or +3.5 with the under 50.5. Sean Koerner

Expert Pick

Freedman: Over 51

The Saints have been one of the league’s most offensively potent teams for years, and since quarterback Ryan Tannehill became the starter for the Titans in Week 7, points have flowed like wine.

  • Tannehill’s starts (eight games): 30.2 points scored, 23.4 points allowed
  • Other starts (six games): 16.3 points scored, 15.3 points allowed

In Tanny’s eight starts, the over is 7-1 (72.5% ROI).

Freedman is 520-389-21 (57.2%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.