2012 New Orleans Saints Odds & Preview
- Updated: August 1, 2012
2012 New Orleans Saints Betting Preview
The NFL has handed out some stiff penalties to teams and players in the past, but nothing like what it’s given out to the New Orleans Saints for the “bounty” program allegedly run by members of the coaching staff and defense. We’ve never heard of a head coach being suspended for an entire season. The Saints will still field a talented team this fall; after all, they went 13-3 last year before losing in heart-breaking fashion in the divisional round of the playoffs. But there’s no way their performance on the field this season won’t be affected by the residue of this controversy.
Last Season in Review
New Orleans lost its opener last season at Green Bay, then won four in a row. Then, in a three-week span, the Saints lost to Tampa Bay and St. Louis, two defeats that would come back to haunt them. New Orleans then turned it on and won its last eight in a row, four of those over playoff qualifiers, to finish at 13-3 and atop the NFC South.
The Saints then dumped Detroit on Wild-Card weekend, but because of those puzzling losses then had to travel to San Francisco, where they lost an instant-classic divisional-round game to the 49ers.
Then, over the off-season, the shit really hit the fan.
New Orleans led the league in offense last year, setting a new NFL record for yardage at 467 YPG, and ranked sixth in rushing at 133 YPG.
On defense the Saints ranked 24th at 368 YPG, but 12th vs. the run at 109 YPG, although some of both those numbers might have had to do with opponents throwing the ball trying to catch up.
So overall New Orleans ranked second in the league in total yardage +99 YPG, ninth in total rushing at +24 YPG and fifth in average time-of-possession at +3:32 per game.
Around the league last year teams that outrushed their opponents covered the spread 69 percent of the time, and teams that won the TOP battle covered 66 percent of games. The Saints went 12-4 ATS, which was a really neat feat considering they were favored in all but two of their games, nine times by a touchdown or more.
Also, New Orleans led the league with its +13 PPG differential.
As Saints games averaged 55 points, second-most in the league, they “only” went 9-7 on the totals, because their games were lined so darn high.
Individually QB Drew Brees completed 71 percent of his throws last year and set a new league record for passing yardage in a season with 5,476. On the receiving end TE Jimmy Graham caught a ridiculous 99 balls for 1,300 yards and 11 scores, and WR Marques Colston grabbed 80 passes for 1,100 yards. And free-agent pick-up Darren Sproles scooted for 1,300 yards from scrimmage. No wonder this outfit was so tough to stop.
Over the off-season New Orleans lost OL Carl Nicks but replaced him with former Ravens G Ben Grubbs. The Saints also parted ways with a couple of defensive starters, but signed former Broncos DT Brodrick Bunkley and three linebackers; former Falcon Curtis Lofton, former Seahawk David Hawthorne and former Ram Chris Chamberlain.
Those signings were necessary because New Orleans won’t have Johnathan Vilma for the entire season, unless his lawyers can get him off.
The Saints defense will also be learning a new defensive scheme under new DC Spagnuolo.
Finally, New Orleans didn’t have a pick in the draft until the third round, when they took Louisiana State DE Akiem Hicks.
2012 Saints Schedule
Going by last year’s W/L records New Orleans will play the 12th-toughest schedule in the league this season. The Saints only have six games vs. teams that made the playoffs last year, but also dates with the Chargers, Eagles and Cowboys, and of course two with the Panthers. Within a 10-week period in the middle of the season New Orleans plays the Packers, San Diego, the Broncos, Philly, the Falcons, Niners, Falcons and Giants.
2012 New Orleans Saints Betting Odds and Predictions
Bovada is listing New Orleans at +125 to win the NFC South this season, 17/2 to win the NFC and 18/1 to win the Super Bowl, while Bookmaker has tagged the Saints with a regular-season wins ‘over/under’ of 9.5 (O -140/U +110).
This will be one strange season for this team. Even their active head coach, Joe Vitt, is suspended for the first six games. We can’t help but think that all the hub-bub will have an affect on this team, so we’re leaning toward the ‘under’ 9.5 wins on the Saints this season.