NFL odds: Saints, Panthers meet for critical NFC South clash in prime time

The Panthers (3–6) and Saints (4–5) have more in common than their position behind the Falcons in the NFC South race this year.

Both teams are struggling to protect their home field this season, a trend worth considering as the Panthers enter this week’s Thursday night game as 3.5-point betting favorites against the Saints at sportsbooks monitored by

Coincidentally, both Thursday night combatants are coming off of home losses last week to AFC West opponents vying for that division’s title, as the Chiefs and Broncos pulled off upsets of the Panthers and Saints, respectively, as small road underdogs.

Last year, Carolina was the only team in the NFL that finished undefeated at home en route to winning the NFC championship.

To kick off this week’s NFL betting action, New Orleans will attempt to cover the spread for the seventh time in its last eight divisional games. The Saints have lost three of their last four trips to Bank of America Stadium, but they have covered in the two most recent games, including a 27–22 loss last season as 10-point underdogs, according to the NFL point spreads.

In fact, the road team has gone 21–9 against the spread in the past 30 meetings between these two teams, which have combined to win six of the last eight division titles. The Falcons also won the NFC South twice during that stretch.

The Panthers currently own the third-worst record in the conference ahead of only the Bears and the 49ers, making this game a must-win if they are going to make a run at a fourth straight division crown and qualify for the playoffs again.

Last week, they blew a 17–3 lead by surrendering 17 points in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs. Kansas City’s Marcus Peters stripped Carolina receiver Kelvin Benjamin with 20 seconds remaining to set up the game-winning field goal.

In New Orleans, the Saints had the go-ahead extra point attempt blocked and returned for two points by the Broncos with 1:22 left to fall 25–23 in another shocker that came down to the wire.

This article originally appeared on