Redskins-Saints Betting Preview & Pick: Is Washington a Live Dog?
Freakin’ Joe Flacco.
Another perfect Sunday eluded me but I did go 2-1 yesterday with my picks, improving my season record to 18-5-1 ATS.
What I got right on Sunday:
“Matt Ryan has been sensational since that dud performance in Philadelphia on opening night. Calvin Ridley is the real deal and Freeman is back this week. But what makes anyone believe this will be the week Ryan and Co. out-score their own defense? They couldn’t at home against the Saints and Bengals the last two weeks, so why should I assume they’ll do it now that they have to go on the road?”
“I was a huge Rosen fan before this year’s NFL draft and I’m going to back him on Sunday when he and the Cardinals face C.J. Beathard and the 49ers. In fact, why is a C.J. Beathard-led team favored by over a field goal against any opponent?
San Francisco is banged up along its offensive line and defensively. This Arizona team is bad but not as bad as it showed the first three weeks when a disinterested Sam Bradford was leading the charge offensively. I see major value in the dog here and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Cards pulled off the outright upset.”
What I got wrong:
“That said, they traveled cross country last week to Oakland, played in overtime, and then came back to Cleveland to get ready for Baltimore. For as opportunistic as this Browns defense has looked at times this year, guys like Myles Garrett are playing a ton of minutes early in the season. Thus, in my eyes, I’m getting the better team in the Ravens and the one that is more well-rested, too. Oh, I’m also getting the better coaching staff, which has proven beneficial when fading the Browns for two years now.
Sharper bettors may view this game as a trap with Baltimore only laying three and back the home dog. If the spread were higher, I’d lay off completely but I see the Ravens pulling away in the fourth quarter and winning by a touchdown.”
Week 5 wraps up on Monday night in New Orleans where Drew Brees and the Saints host the Redskins. Is Washington a live dog? Let’s break this down.
477 Washington Redskins at 478 New Orleans Saints
- Spread: Saints -6
- O/U: 52
- Time: 8:15 p.m. ET
The Saints opened as seven-point favorites but the line dropped a full point to 6 at all online and Las Vegas sportsbooks. There are some places where you can find reduced juice on the Redskins, meaning instead of the normal -110 vig, it’s only -105. That could mean the spread will jump back up to 6.5 but there’s no guarantee.
As for the total, the number opened at 51 but has climbed to 52 or 52.5 depending on which sportsbook you view.
While the Saints are receiving most of the betting tickets online (53 percent), 62 percent of the money wagered is on the Redskins. That said, both the ticket count (82 percent) and money wagered (65 percent) is on the over.
Adrian Peterson (ankle) was removed from the Redskins’ injury report and will play, as will receiver Paul Richardson (shoulder). Josh Doctson, however, is questionable after seen in a walking boot on Friday. It’s unlikely he’ll suit up tonight. The biggest injury impacting Washington is left tackle Trent Williams (knee), although he practiced and should be good to go.
As for the Saints, receiver Ted Ginn (knee) is out but they’re otherwise healthy. Guard Andrus Peat (ankle), tackle Terron Armstead (knee), running back Alvin Kamara (knee) and receiver Cameron Meredith (knee) are all are all probable.
The Redskins are a perfect 6-0 against the spread in their last six meetings against the Saints. They are also 4-0 at the betting window in their last four trips to New Orleans. The underdog is 4-0 against the number in the last four meetings in this series, while the over cashed in all five of the last five meetings.
Perception versus reality. The perception is that the Saints fixed their defense last week in East Rutherford. The reality is they were playing a Giants team that, before Sunday in Carolina, hadn’t scored more than 30 points in a game since 2015.
The Saints rank dead last in pass defense DVOA, surrendering 311.0 passing yards per contest (which ranks 30th). Entering Week 5, they allowed the fourth-most points per game to opposing offenses (30.2 PPG). They do rank third in the league in run defense, allowing just 79.5 rush yards per game, but that stat is misleading. Why run the ball against New Orleans when you can move the ball through the air?
Clearly, Andy Reid and the Chiefs made the right decision to trade up for Patrick Mahomes two years ago and send Alex Smith to Washington this offseason. That’s not to suggest Smith is a bad quarterback, however. In fact, I love when Smith-led teams are an underdog. He protects the football as well as any starter in the league, he’s surgical in the short-to-intermediate passing game and will often take what the defense gives him, often running for first downs when given the opportunity. That’s not a recipe to win in the playoffs (hence why KC moved on to the electrifying Mahomes), but we aren’t in the postseason, are we?
The key tonight is that the Saints own the 31st-ranked pass defense versus running backs. Chris Thompson has been one of Smith’s favorite targets to start the season and he should have a big game tonight. As previously mentioned, I do not believe New Orleans has fixed the defensive issues that we saw earlier in the year and Washington, while not dynamic on paper, has the ability to move the ball methodically, which should frustrate the high-powered Saints.
Let’s flip to the other side of the ball. We know Drew Brees, Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram will have their moments, especially playing at home. That said, the Redskins have played well defensively. They rank 12th overall in Football Outsider’s DVOA, including third against the pass. They also rank fifth overall when squaring off against an opponent’s No. 1 receiver and are a respectable 11th in pass defense versus running backs. This Washington defense is by no means capable of completely shutting Brees and Co. down, but I do expect the Redskins to come up with a few stops.
Finally, while the Saints are coming home off back-to-back road games, the Redskins had their bye last week. That means they had two full weeks to prepare for this game, which means 14 full days to put together a game plan to slow down Sean Payton’s offense. Give me the points in what I envision to be a 31-27 game.
Pick: Redskins +6
ATS Season Records
- Week 1: 5-0
- Week 2: 3-2
- Week 3: 4-1
- Week 4: 3-1-1
- Week 5: 3-1
- Overall: 18-5-1
Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images.