While some of the divisions in the NFL this season were very one-sided, there were a few that went all the way down to the wore. The NFC South was arguably the most competitive of all, with three teams battling for the title until the final week of the season, with all three of those teams eventually making it into the playoffs. It was the New Orleans Saints who came out on top, which was something of a surprise given how things have gone in the Big Easy over the last few seasons. Winning the division means getting a home game to start the playoffs, and it comes against a team that they are very familiar with, the Carolina Panthers. When you play a team twice a year, it becomes difficult to gain a real upper hand, which is the case with these two, as they have split their last 10 meetings right down the middle. This should be a great battle, and it is the Saints who have been installed as a 6 ½ point favorite, with the point total set at 48 ½. So let’s check our NFL betting prediction for this game.

2018 NFC Wild Card Panthers vs Saints Game Info & Betting Odds

When: Sunday, January 7 at 4:40 PM EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans
TV:
FOX
Radio:
WBT-AM 1110
NFL Odds:
Saints -6 ½

Why bet on the Carolina Panthers

The Panthers have been one of the more infuriating teams in the league this season, mostly because you never really know what you are going to get from them. When all cylinders are firing, this is a team that is incredibly tough to beat, but there have been too many occasions where they have not put things together. One of their worst performances of the season came in the final week when they still had a chance at stealing the NFC South crown and getting a home game in the playoffs. It was one of the worst performances by the offense in quite some time, as they managed just 10 points against the Atlanta Falcons, well below the close to 23 PPG they have been posting this season. While a home date would have been preferable, this is a team that can win on the road, going 5-3 SU and ATS in the regular season. That said, they have just 3 wins in their last 9 visits to New Orleans.

Why bet on the New Orleans Saints

The New Orleans Saints finished the season with the same 11-5 record as the Panthers, but it was their superiority against their division opponents that helped propel them to the top spot in the division. The Saints did not end the season the way they wanted, though, losing their final regular season game to the Buccaneers, so they are going to need to pick themselves up and get back to the business of winning if they are to make a deep run in the postseason.

NFL Odds: 2018 AFC Wild Card: Buffalo Bills vs Jacksonville Jaguars

If they are to be successful, they will once again be leaning heavily on the running duo of Ingram and Kamara, both of whom helped the Saints average close to 130 YPG on the ground this season. The Saints have been great at home, going 7-1 SU on the season, although just 4-4 ATS in those games.

Saints vs Panthers NFL Wildcard II

Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction

Neither team finished the season on a high note, but the advantage here has to go to the Saints on their home field. I like New Orleans to win and cover the spread, although I do believe that the point total will fall just UNDER.

Predicted Score: Carolina Panthers 20 New Orleans Saints 27