Each week, CLE Picks is coming in hot with a bet on an NCAA and an NFL total. This week, he's breaking down where bettors can find value on the new-look New Orleans Saints.
By: CLE Picks
Hey everyone, CLE Picks here with an offseason edition of “CLEs Totals.” Just like last year, this season I will be giving you my favorite weekly totals in both the NFL and NCAA Football. Today we will be traveling to the NFC South for one of my favorite win totals down on the Bayou with the New Orleans Saints.
Big changes in the Big Easy
The Saints are coming off a disappointing 7-10 season that saw them finish in a three-way tie for second in the division, one game behind the Buccaneers. In the offseason, New Orleans made a significant change at the quarterback position. Out is Andy Dalton and in is former Raiders starting quarterback Derek Carr. Now I am not saying Carr is the next Drew Brees, but he is definitely an upgrade from Dalton. Yes, there is some concern about the suspension length of Alvin Kamara, but the Saints did bring in Jamaal Williams from the Lions, who had a breakout 2022 season and led the NFL in rushing touchdowns with 17. To me, the key to New Orleans' success might be the health of its wide receiver position. Michael Thomas must stay healthy this year. Chris Olave was great in his rookie year, and he must stay healthy and take that leap in year two. We all know about the versatility of Taysom Hill, and the Saints added Foster Moreau. When they get Kamara back, Carr should have plenty of weapons.
In the draft, the Saints addressed their defensive line, taking former 5-star defensive tackle Bryan Bresee in the first round and then defensive end Isaiah Foskey in round two. The Saints secondary is still led by corner Marshon Lattimore and vet Tyrann Mathieu at the strong safety position.
Favorable Schedule for New Orleans
Now lets look at the schedule. Obviously, the NFC South is down this year with quarterback questions on all the three other teams in the division. Carolina is starting #1 pick Bryce Young, but how long does it take to get him acclimated? The Falcons have Desmond Ridder, but who knows how that’s going to turn out -and Tampa Bay is starting mediocre journeyman Baker Mayfield. The Saints cross over into the AFC with the weakest division in that conference, the AFC South, on their schedule. While the Saints do have 2 Thursday Night games, one is at home and the other is late in the year at the likely non-competitive Rams.
All in all, I really do like this Saints team. The addition of Carr will definitely help and the schedule is extremely favorable. If Michael Thomas can stay healthy, then even with out Kamara for some time, I think they can do some very good things. I feel like they are the best team in this division and should be hosting a playoff game in the Wild Card round this year.
My Plays: Saints o9.5 wins (+105) To win the NFC South (+120)