The three-game division gauntlet to open the season for the New Orleans Saints (1-1) comes to a close this weekend as they travel to take on the Carolina Panthers (0-2). The Saints are coming off of a disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and looking to rebound in Week 3. The Panthers are downtrodden to start the season with new quarterback Baker Mayfield under center, but a relatively healthy Christian McCaffrey at running back will always keep the team competitive.
Going into this one, the Saints are favored by 2.5 points in this road game at Tipico Sportsbook. This is notable as New Orleans has won each of its last five games when favored on the road. In fact, since 2017 the Saints are 31-11 (same record against the spread) as road favorites and have outscored opponents 26.7 – 18.5 on average.
With quarterback Jameis Winston and the Saints offense struggling to find their rhythm early this season, the hapless Panthers may be the “get right game” New Orleans needs. One way the team can establish that rhythm and identity early could be with its run game. The Saints run an average of 29.3 times for 127.8 yards in games where they are favored on the road. That’s a heavy run share.
So far this season, New Orleans ran 19 times against the Atlanta Falcons to open the season, and then only 20 times against the Bucs the following week. A run-heavy approach on the road could do the Saints some good this weekend, especially if the defense continues to perform well.
But the Saints will need their offense as well. As Locked On Panthers host Julian Council shared, the Panthers are 1-25 in games in which they allow 17 or more points. Conversely, they are undefeated (9-0) when they hold opponents to 16 or fewer points scored. With the Saints’ averaging over 26 points per game in their last 42 games as road favorites, things are looking up for a bounce back performance.
It is worth mentioning the New Orleans’ last loss as a road favorite was in the same stadium and against the same team they will face this weekend. The Panther pulverized the Saints 26-7 at Bank of America Stadium in Week 2 of last year. However, in that matchup, the Saints were without several coaching staff members due to COVID protocols. Without them, Winston and the Saints offense struggled. Hopefully, the improved unit and personnel, with a full coaching staff at the ready, see a rebound this weekend.
Provided by Tipico Sportsbook; access USA TODAY Sports Scores and Sports Betting Odds hub for a full list.