NFL Week 13 Picks: New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons
Head coach Mike Smith is a very important figure to handicap when making your against-the-spread (ATS) picks this week, as the Atlanta Falcons (10-1) host the New Orleans Saints (5-6) on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome, with the opening kickoff scheduled for 8:20 p.m. ET on the NFL Network.
The Falcons are currently 3.5-point home favorites in the Week 13 pro football betting odds (courtesy of SBR Forum), while the total sits at 56 in the market.
Smith improved to 11-0 when facing a first time head coach during his time in Atlanta, as the team captured a 24-23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week. He lands back in this situational spot, as New Orleans is led by Joe Vitt, who is filling in for Sean Payton on an interim basis.
Let's take a closer look at this NFC South divisional matchup from a betting perspective, while offering a first-half prediction along the way.
New Orleans Saints
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
The New Orleans Saints have won 11 of 13 meetings with the Atlanta Falcons since 2006, but they land in a difficult spot after falling under .500 for the season in dropping a 31-21 decision to the San Francisco 49ers as one-point home underdogs last week.
Sports bettors will also find that the Saints are 0-2 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 7 points since 2010.
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
The Atlanta Falcons have covered the spread in both of their opportunities when playing on Thursday night, as they've outscored opponents by a 37-0 combined margin in the first half of those contests.
I believe the team's season schedule of not playing back-to-back home or road games will prove to be beneficial in this short turnaround spot on Thursday night.
Las Vegas Perspective
I reached out to Jimmy Vaccaro earlier this week about this high-profile affair. He serves as the public relations director for William Hill U.S., and here's what he had to say:
The Saints just scored. Bet the game over. It's going to be a high-scoring game where nobody stops anybody. No field goals. We're talking 80 percent scoring coming in the form of touchdowns. I truly believe the loser of this game will score in the 30s.
I'm going to recommend that readers back the Atlanta Falcons in the first 30 minutes of play Thursday night, as they will draw off their crowd's energy in seeking revenge from a 31-27 loss to the New Orleans Saints earlier this month.
NFL Week 13 Pick: Atlanta Falcons -3 First Half