Both games were decided by one score but Carolina came out on top in Week 3 (22-14) and again in Week 17 (10-7), marking a shift from the recent series history between the two NFC South rivals. Despite that turnaround for the Panthers, the Saints are 3.5-point road favorites at Bank of America Stadium in the first leg of a Monday Night Football doubleheader. The total is set at 39.5 points, according to SI Sportsbook.
Both teams acquired new quarterbacks in the offseason: New Orleans signed Derek Carr and Carolina traded up to draft Bryce Young first overall. The veteran led his team to a 16-15 Week 1 win over the Titans while the rookie struggled in his debut, a 24-10 loss to the Falcons.
The Saints failed to cover as a three-point home favorite and the Panthers came up short as 3.5-point road underdogs.
Saints vs. Panthers Odds and Game Info
Moneyline: Saints (-161) | Panthers (+135)
Spread: NO -3.5 (+100) | CAR +3.5 (-125)
Total: 39.5 — Over (-125) | Under (+100)
Game Info: Monday, Sep. 18, 7:15 p.m. ET | ESPN, ESPN2
Saints vs. Panthers Best Bet: Saints -3.5 (+100)
Carr threw for over 300 yards in his first home game at the Superdome but he wasn’t without faults. He threw an interception in plus territory with New Orleans driving near the end of the first half and took four sacks. With Alvin Kamara suspended and rookie Kendre Miller (hamstring) out, the offense ran for worse than three yards per carry. However, the receiver trio of Chris Olave, Michael Thomas and Rashid Shaheed shined. Olave finished with over 100 yards, Shaheed scored the only touchdown of the game and Thomas had 61 yards on five catches in his return.
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The Saints’ defense hounded Ryan Tannehill, who threw three interceptions, was sacked three times and finished with less than 200 yards passing. Derrick Henry tallied over 100 total yards largely due to a 46-yard reception, but his impact as a rusher was limited. Tennessee’s only points came on five Nick Folk field goals.
Turnovers might be a problem for Young against New Orleans. The former Heisman Trophy winner threw two interceptions and recovered his own fumble versus the Falcons. He was also sacked twice and starting guard Brady Christensen (bicep) suffered a season-ending injury. Young’s longest completion of the day went just 14 yards and his leading receivers were tight end Hayden Hurst and running back Miles Sanders. Carolina had more success on the ground with Sanders and Chuba Hubbard, who each ran for 60-plus yards.
The Panthers’ defense only allowed 221 yards to Atlanta, which scored 17 of its 24 points off turnovers. Carolina sacked Desmond Ridder four times and held him to 115 yards passing but the Falcons’ run game had a day, running for 5.0 yards per carry and two scores.
Cornerback Jaycee Horn (hamstring) is expected to miss multiple weeks, which will put additional stress on the secondary. Saints receivers had five 20-plus-yard receptions in Week 1 and could rip off more chunk plays with Horn sidelined.
Key injuries along the offensive line and in the secondary further tilt this matchup in New Orleans’ favor. The Saints have the playmakers to pressure Young throughout his first home game. Given the sub-40-point over/under, this game isn’t going to be pretty. Take the more experienced team to cover in this primetime divisional showdown.
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