The New Orleans Saints had a tough time on the road this season, going 3-5 straight-up, 1-7 against the spread and averaging 17 points per game less than when they played in their beloved Superdome.
That's one reason their NFC Wild Card victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia on Saturday came as such a surprise. Now, the Saints head into maybe the toughest place in the league to play at the moment, CenturyLink Field in Seattle.
And they are steep underdogs for an NFC Divisional Round battle with the top-seeded Seahawks on Saturday afternoon.
Saints vs. Seahawks point spread: Seahawks opened as 9.5-point favorites; the total was 47.5. (Line updates and matchup report)
Odds Shark computer prediction: 30.6-25.9 Seahawks
Why the Saints can cover the spread
New Orleans struggled a bit down the stretch this season, losing three of its last five games, giving up the lead in the NFC South in the process.
But now the Saints are coming off an inspired performance, a tough 26-24 win over Philly in which they won the physical battle on both sides of the line of scrimmage.
They out-rushed the Eagles 185-80 while holding the ball for almost 35 minutes. If the Saints can run the ball anywhere close to the way they did Saturday against Philly, they'll have a chance.
If not, they'll be in trouble against Seattle's top-ranked defense, which is hard and physical against the run and speedy and athletic in coverage.
They just won their first playoff road game since 1980 and now look to snap an 0-4 ATS streak when getting eight points or more.
Why the Seahawks can cover the spread
As the team that posted the best record in the conference this season, Seattle is coming off a bye week and should be rested and raring to go.
The Seahawks just thrashed New Orleans on this same field a month ago, 34-7, out-gaining the Saints by 240 yards, easily covering the spread as six-point favorites.
In the process, the Seattle defense snapped Drew Brees' streak of 43 games in a row with at least 200 yards passing. Seattle is very tough at home and covering spreads at a 20-6 ATS clip since 2011.
The Seahawks got a wake-up call a couple of weeks ago when they lost a home game to Arizona, but sometimes a good slap in the face can be a great motivator.
The Odds Shark NFL computer is predicting a Seattle victory, but a New Orleans cover in a game that plays OVER its total.
The Saints won the physical battle against Philly last Saturday, but Seattle ain't Philly. The Seahawks will be juiced, and the crowd at that band box will be crazy loud.
Seattle out-rushed opponents this season by a 137-102 yards-per-game margin, while New Orleans got out-rushed by 20 YPG. On the season, teams that out-rushed their opponents covered the spread in 62 percent of games.
Give the points and go with the Seahawks against a Saints club that is just 5-10 ATS in the playoffs since 1988, according to the Odds Shark database.
- Seahawks are 5-2 SU and ATS vs Saints since 2000
- UNDER is 7-1 past eight Saints games overall
- OVER is 5-1 past six Seattle playoff games
- Saints are 0-4 ATS past four games as underdog of 8 or more points since 2005
- Saints just 5-10 ATS in playoffs since 1988
- Seahawks have won five straight playoff home games SU
The past five New Orleans road games went UNDER
The past five Seattle games went UNDER