The New Orleans Saints have won two straight games, cashing as home favorites against the Houston Texans and Chicago Bears.  Sean Payton’s club now marches east for Sunday’s Week 4 battle against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Sportsbooks opened New Orleans as an eight-point favorite, with early wagers on Jacksonville dropping the number to 6.5. NFL odds makers first set the ‘total’ at 46.5, which has now dropped to 45.5 on most boards after initial NFL betting action. 

Maurice Jones-DrewBrees bails out Saints defense with late TDs 

New Orleans rallied from a late 26-17 deficit to pull off last Sunday’s 40-33 win as a 3.5-point home favorite against the Houston Texans.  Saints running back Mark Ingram reached the end zone from 13 yards out with 2:42 remaining, while quarterback Drew Brees tossed three touchdowns in the second half. 

Brees finished with 370 passing yards, completing 31-of-44 attempts.  The 32-year-old recorded two interceptions, while guiding the offense to 27 first downs in its 30 minutes of possession. 

The Saints’ defense surrendered 473 total yards, with 364 coming through the air.  New Orleans’ Leigh Torrence and Turk McBride logged one sack each, while linebacker Lonn Dunbar recorded a team-high six tackles. 

The contest’s combined 73 points soared ‘over’ the ‘total’ of 51.5 thanks to both foes uniting for 37 points in the fourth quarter.  Saints tackle Zach Strief left the matchup with a leg injury and is listed as “questionable” to return against the Jaguars. 

Jags unable to hold on at Carolina 

Jacksonville gave up 11 unanswered points in Sunday’s second half against the Carolina Panthers, losing the duel, 16-10, as a 3.5-point road dog.  Rainy weather conditions hindered both clubs in moving the ball, with the Jaguars unable to even reach Carolina’s red zone. 

Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert connected on 12-of-21 passes for 139 yards.  The Missouri alum made his first NFL start, tossing one touchdown in Jacksonville’s 30 minutes of possession. 

Jacksonville’s Maurice Jones-Drew piled in 122 of his squad’s 129 rushing yards.  The Oakland native added 45 receiving yards to his season-high day, making three catches. 

The Jaguars’ defense held Carolina to 158 passing yards, forcing the Panthers to punt eight times.  Jacksonville’s Terrence Knighton notched a team-high six tackles, helping to keep Carolina out of the end zone on two of its three journeys inside the 20-yard line. 

The tight affair’s combined 26 points plunged below the ‘total’ of 42.5, bringing the ‘under’ to 3-0 in Jacksonville’s first three games.  Jags placekicker Josh Scobee hit a 53-yard field goal in a 1-for-1 day. 

Back the Jags to cash as home dogs 

Sunday’s kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. (ET).  The early weather forecast at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field (Grass surface) calls for a high of 76 degrees, with 13 mph winds. 

This handicapper is taking the points with Jacksonville, looking for the Saints to miss covering with some home-road disparity. 

New Orleans piled on its last two wins at home in its dome, but should face a tougher challenge with Jacksonville’s environment.  The Saints went 3-6 ATS last year in its nine road games, while also dropping this season’s road opener in a 42-34 loss as 4.5-point dogs against the Green Bay Packers. 

Jacksonville’s sole victory this season came at home in Week 1, edging out the Tennessee Titans (Titans play the Browns in week 4), 16-14, to cash as one-point ‘chalk.’  The Jaguars’ defense held Tennessee to 43 rushing yards and kept the Titans’ offense off the field, giving their own club 40 minutes of possession. 

This spot sets up the Saints to be in for a long day, while Gabbert will have clearer weather conditions than last week to show more of what he has for Jacksonville.  The rookie should have his chances to move the ball against New Orleans, whose defense ranks 27th against the pass allowing 282 YPG. 

The Saints have historically been overvalued against lesser foes, going 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games against clubs with a losing record.  Look for the underachieving Jaguars to keep it close here, coming alive with a chance for their best game of the season.