Daily Bet: Saints-Falcons UNDER 55

Oh, sure, now UCLA decides to show up. Some 48 hours after losing 70-68 to Cal Poly as a 19½-point home favorite, the Bruins last night blasted Cal-State Northridge 82-56, easily cashing as a 14½-point favorite—the same Cal-State Northridge that had covered the spread in eight straight games. Clearly, one of UCLA’s student-managers slipped a roofie into the Gatorade bottle of coach Ben Howland—that’s the only way to explain the Bruins actually playing up to their potential.

On to this under play in tonight’s Saints-Falcons showdown. Now, the history books tell you that seven of the last 10 matchups in this rivalry have soared over the total. Those history books also tell you that, going back to 2009 the total has flipped-flopped in the season series—which I bring up because the Saints’ 31-27 home win over Atlanta on Nov. 11 hurdled the 54-point total. Not only that, but the last three Saints-Falcons clashes in the Georgia Dome have stayed under the total, with final scores of 26-23 (in overtime), 17-14 and 26-23. In fact, you have to go back to 2003—long before Drew Brees landed in New Orleans—for the last time these teams combined for more than 55 points in Atlanta.

More stats for you: The under is 4-1 in Falcons home games this year, with the last three contests ending with scores of 23-19, 19-13 and 23-20 (the only over in Atlanta this year was a 30-28 shootout against Carolina, and that one cleared 56 points only because of a miraculous Matt Ryan-to-Roddy White Hail Mary with less than a minute to play that set up the game-winning field goal). Also, the Saints’ defense has been playing much better over the last month. Take away Brees’ two interceptions returned for touchdowns in Sunday’s 31-21 loss to San Francisco, and the Saints’ D has allowed 17, 17, 27 and 13 points in the last four games. Finally, prior to Thanksgiving, we had 12 midweek NFL games and not one of them had more than 53 combined points—hell, only two of those 12 contests had had more than 44 combined points.

This number’s inflated more than Coco Austin’s breasts—play it low.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Wednesday’s Result: Cal-State Northridge +14.5 at UCLA (loss)

Record: 68-57-1