NEW OR­LEANS over Carolina

Playbook Football (Midweek Alert) - - Nfl -

Same-sea­son re­matches in the NFL play­offs aren’t rare. They just aren’t all that prof­itable (90-79-4 ATS since 1990). It’s note­wor­thy in this con­test, though, as the Saints took the Pan­thers be­hind the wood­shed twice this sea­son. Still, Carolina is 5-2 SUATS as an un­der­dog this sea­son, and the Pan­thers are 4-0 SUATS in play­off games against foes com­ing off a loss. The prob­lem is Su­per­man (re: Cam New­ton) has been over­dos­ing on too much kryp­tonite of late as the black cats have been out­gained in 5 of their last 6 games. In ad­di­tion, Carolina finds it­self in a sim­i­lar role to Buf­falo in that away teams in the NFL play­offs, fol­low­ing a sea­son-end­ing away game, tend to strug­gle in open­ing-round games. That’s con­firmed by a dis­mal 22-55 SU and 24-48-4 ATS mark since 1980. The ques­tion is can the Saints, who are 6-1 SUATS ver­sus .600 or greater op­po­nents this sea­son, take ad­van­tage as they, too, are stum­bling at the fin­ish line. Since its 8-game win streak from the end of Septem­ber to late Novem­ber, New Or­leans is just 3-3 SU, as well as 2-4 ATS and ITS, in its last 6 games. Look­ing in­side the stats in this game – as we like to do each week in the MID­WEEK ALERT – Carolina was out­yarded by -35 net YPG dur­ing the se­cond half of the sea­son, while New Or­leans was also out­gained dur­ing the fi­nal six games of the cam­paign. With no ma­jor edges ei­ther way, we’ll lean to the dou­ble-aveng­ing di­vi­sion dog with the bet­ter de­fense.

SUN­DAY - JAN­UARY 7 4:40 PM ET - FOX TV OPEN­ING LINES: NEW OR­LEANS -5.5 / 48

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