Saints vs. Panthers Week 17 betting odds, picks and more

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 22: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates the touchdown of running back Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints during the third quarter against Tennessee Titans in the game at Nissan Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 22: Quarterback Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints celebrates the touchdown of running back Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints during the third quarter against Tennessee Titans in the game at Nissan Stadium on December 22, 2019 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) /
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Saints at Panthers Picks, Predictions & Betting Odds

  • Odds: Saints -13
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: FOX

The Saints have plenty of motivation heading into the final week of the regular season as they have a chance to finish with the NFC’s No. 1 seed and get home-field advantage. As of Thursday, the Saints have received 77% of spread bets wagered on the game.

Can they cover this double-digit spread on the road? Our experts preview the key matchups to watch and what bets to make in this NFC South showdown.

Saints-Panthers Injury Report

Which team is healthier? Panthers

The main injury on the Panthers is D.J. Moore (concussion). It appears he won’t be ready for this game as he’s still in the concussion protocol. His potential absence would free up 24.5% target share.

The Saints had Drew Brees (knee) and Michael Thomas (hand) on their injury report on Wednesday. The Saints said Brees is just dealing with some knee inflammation, but is expected to be OK.

Thomas wasn’t seen at the open portion of practice on Thursday, so it’s worth monitoring as the week progresses. Justin Bailey

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

Biggest Mismatch

Saints Run Offense vs. Panthers Run Defense

The Panthers are #NotGood against the run: They have a notable funnel defense that ranks No. 8 against the pass and No. 32 against the run (per Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric).

The Panthers have been without run-stuffing Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Kawann Short (shoulder, IR) since Week 3, and in his absence, they have been a ground game sieve.

The Panthers have allowed a league-worst 351-1,909-25 rushing stat line to opposing backfields this season, and they are No. 31 in running back rush success rate allowed (per Sharp Football Stats).

In Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray, the Saints have one of the league’s best backfield duos. Against the Panthers in Week 12, they combined for 118 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries.

And in Taysom Hill, the Saints have perhaps the league’s best “offensive weapon”/wildcat quarterback.

As big favorites, the Saints seem likely to rely on the running game, and against the Panthers, Kamara, Murray and Hill could combine for 200 yards rushing and two touchdowns. — Matthew Freedman

Expert Pick

Freedman: Saints -13

The Saints are in the running for the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and the Panthers have lost seven straight games. Last week, in third-string rookie quarterback Will Grier’s first NFL start, the Panthers suffered a pathetic 38-6 defeat at the hands of the mediocre Colts.

Since head coach Ron Rivera was dismissed after Week 13, opponents are 2-0-1 against the spread (70% ROI) against the Panthers.

How have top-tier teams with something to play for historically done at the end of the season against bottom-feeder divisional rivals with limited motivation?

If we look at Week 17 divisional matchups between teams that are at least .650 and teams that are no greater than .350 — and if we exclude underdogs with strong records, since they are likely to be resting players — we get the answer: 21-14 ATS (18% ROI).

Freedman is 542-411-22 (56.9%) overall betting on the NFL. You can follow him in our free app.