While Tom Brady might go down as the GOAT among NFL QBs because of his six Super Bowl rings, Drew Brees has an argument as the league's top regular-season quarterback in history: He ranks first all-time in most major passing categories. Yet Brees has reached just one Super Bowl ring and never won a regular-season MVP Award. Now he has to compete in the same division with Brady. In perfect irony, the legends open the 2020 season against one another Sunday in New Orleans. The Saints are 3.5-point favorites on the NFL odds. New Orleans is 0-5 against the spread in its past five home openers and 0-6 ATS in its past six Week 1 games overall.
Brees is expected to retire after the 2020 campaign -- Coach Sean Payton has said as much -- as he will be 42 in January and already has a gig with NBC lined up. Can Brees go out on top like John Elway did? Brees missed five games due to injury in 2019, but the Saints got a quality backup for him this year by signing former Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston to a one-year deal. Although the Saints currently list Taysom Hill as the No. 2 QB.
Brees is 133-83 straight up as the Saints' starter and 117-95-4 against the spread, a 55.2 cover percentage. The Saints on average were 3.3-point favorites. As an underdog anywhere, Brees is 36-24-1 ATS, a 60.0 cover percentage. The Over-Under is 112-96-8 in Brees' Saints career with an average total of 49.1.
The toughest stretch of the Saints' 2020 schedule begins Week 12 in Denver with three road games in a row and then home tilts against the Chiefs and Vikings. On the bright side, the Saints close the regular season at Carolina, the NFC South's worst team.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS BETTING PROFILE
2019 record: 13-3 (first, NFC South)
2019 against the spread: 11-5 (best ATS mark in NFL)
2019 ATS margin: +3.1
2019 Over-Under: 9-7
2020 strength of schedule: 24th-toughest; Saints' opponents combined for a .490 winning percentage last year (125-130-1).
WILLIAM HILL 2020 NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FUTURES ODDS
Win total: 10.5 (-110 both ways on moneyline)
To make playoffs: Yes -330, no +260
Division: -120 to win NFC South
Conference: +600 to win NFC
NFL MVP: Drew Brees +1800, Alvin Kamara +7500, Michael Thomas +10000
Defensive Player of the Year: Cameron Jordan +4000, Marcus Lattimore +5000
Defensive Rookie of the Year: Zack Baun +5000
Coach of the Year: Sean Payton +2500
SportsLine Model's projection: 10.4 wins (Lean is Under)
Week 1 vs. Tampa Bay, 4:25 PM ET: New Orleans has been at least a 3-point favorite in its past 14 at home versus the Bucs.
Week 2 at Las Vegas, 8:15 PM ET (Monday): This is the Sin City debut for the Raiders; the Saints are just 3-7 ATS in their past 10 September road games as favorites (they will be).
Week 3 vs. Green Bay, 8:20 PM ET: Eight straight meetings had gone Over the total until the 26-17 Saints' road win in 2017 (last meeting).
Week 4 at Detroit, 1 PM ET: The home team has been favored in the past seven meetings, with the Saints going 5-2 ATS.
Week 5 vs. LA Chargers, TBA ET (Monday): Brees began his career with the Bolts; The Saints are 4-0 SU & ATS in thier past four before their bye week.
Week 6: BYE. Bit earlier than teams would like.
Week 7 vs. Carolina, 1 PM ET: The Saints won 34-31 last year at home but are 0-3 ATS in their past three at the Superdome vs. the Panthers.
Week 8 at Chicago, 4:25 PM ET: New Orleans is 3-0 SU & ATS in its past three in Chicago following a 36-25 win last year.
Week 9 at Tampa Bay, 8:20 PM ET: The Saints have been favored three straight times in Tampa (2-1 SU & ATS).
Week 10 vs. San Francisco, 4:25 PM ET: New Orleans has one cover in its past seven vs. the 'Niners: a 2016 road win.
Week 11 vs. Atlanta, 1 PM ET: The NFL's second-biggest upset last year was the Falcons (+14) winning 26-9 in New Orleans.
Week 12 at Denver, 4:05 PM ET: The Saints have dropped the past five in the series and their only cover was in 2008.
Week 13 at Atlanta, 1 PM ET: The Saints are 4-1 ATS in their past five at Atlanta following a 26-18 Thanksgiving win last year as 7-point faves.
Week 14 at Philadelphia, 4:25 PM ET: Including the playoffs, the Saints' only loss in the past six meetings was their last trip to Philly in 2015.
Week 15 vs. Kansas City, 4:25 PM ET: Could the Saints be rare home dogs? They are 0-6 ATS in their past six as December home dogs.
Week 16 vs. Minnesota, 4:30 PM ET (Christmas): Rare Friday game! Including the playoffs (see below), the road team has covered three straight meetings.
Week 17 at Carolina, 1 PM ET: New Orleans has just one ATS loss in its past six at Panthers (12-9 win in 2018).
EXPERT PICK FROM FORMER VEGAS BOOKMAKER MICAH ROBERTS: Under 10.5 wins (-110)
The Saints have won 11 or more games the past three seasons and went 5-1 in the South last season, finishing six games above the Bucs and Falcons. But I think both those teams will be better, making it tougher on the Saints to roll through the division again. Their division opponents last season finished a combined minus-32 in turnover margin -- it's impossible to be that giving again. And their schedule is brutal with the two games against the Panthers being their easiest. I could easily see a 4-4 home record. Plus three straight road games without a bye!? Ouch. Under 10.5 wins is the play.
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