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Attack of the Killer Brees: NO Saints host Panthers

The New Orleans Saints are fresh off a win and a bye week, yet it’s the Carolina Panthers that are the online NFL betting favorites on Sunday, October 16th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Here are the football betting site odds for the match-up:

Panthers    -2½ (-115)  53 (-115)    -145
Saints         +2½ (-105)  53 (-105)    +125

The Panthers have been tamer than Bagheera around Mowgli in a textbook case of the Super Bowl Shakes. The most recent example is their 14-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 5. Carolina tight end Greg ‘Jimmy’ Olsen had a career-best 181 receiving yards on nine catches while running back Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for two TDs, but the Panthers had four TOs – three by backup QB Derek Anderson (subbing for a concussed Cam Newton). Additionally, a 15-yard facemask penalty on defensive Kony Ealy – that’s what happens when you save money on a Kony instead on spending a little more on a legit Sony. Carolina has won three NFC South titles in a row, but online NFL betting fans might not want to put their money on a fourth.

The Saints finally rallied behind Drew Brees to win their first game of the season, 35-34 over the San Diego Chargers. Brees went 23 of 36 for 207 yards and two interceptions, but also threw two TD passes in the last four minutes of the game; a 4-yard touchdown pass to full back John Kuhn – who also scored on a 1-yard run, as did running back Mark ‘6285’ Ingram – and a 5-yarder to wide receiver Michael Thomas. Defensive end Daryl Tapp and inside LB Nate Stupar recovered a couple of crucial fumbles. Chargers QB Philip Rivers was Brees backup in the latter’s stint in San Diego, so it’s safe to say that Rivers is still under Brees shadow.

The Panthers were without five starters against the Bucs, including Newton – though the QB returned to practice earlier this week and might (might) return on Sunday. Could he bring redemption with him, like another guy who also returned on Sundays? You know, Tony Soprano. Injuries aside, Carolina’s biggest problem has been turnovers. They had four – out of 14 overall – versus the Bucs alone, and have thrown nine interceptions so far this season. The Panthers are going to have to play nearly-perfect football if they want to make good on those online NFL betting odds.

In particular, they shouldn’t be fooled by Brees’s ripe old age of 37; this swarm of brees still has some sting left. The veteran ranks second in the league in yards (317) and TDs (2.5) per game, and has 799 yards, 7 scores, and only one interception at home. A young group of receivers, which includes Brandin Cooks, Willie Snead, and Thomas, has rejuvenated Brees. Which is not to say that he’s got some sort of New Orleans voodoo spell on them. Thomas leads the Saints with 21 receptions for 229 yards and two scores. Both Panthers and Saints are 1-4 and have lost three straight at some point in the season.