Baltimore Ravens (3-0 SU, 3-0 ATS, 1-2 O/U) vs. New Orleans Saints (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS, 0-3 O/U)
NFL: Thursday, August 31, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. EST
The Line: New Orleans Saints -2.5. Total: 37.
The New Orleans Saints and Baltimore Ravens will put in their final preparations for the regular season when they clash at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans on Thursday night. Baltimore is off to a perfect 3-0 start to its preseason campaign. The Saints are coming off consecutive victories over the Rams and Texans.
Waiting for the regular season
Ravens’ starting quarterback Joe Flacco has not taken a snap in the preseason and that will remain the same when Flacco’s team takes the field for its final game prior to the real thing. The veteran QB and the rest of the starters will be riding the pine until Week 1 against Cincinnati. Flacco is dealing with a back injury, so backup Ryan Mallett and third-stringer Josh Woodrum will continue to handle duties under center on Thursday. Pro Bowl guard Marshal Yanda participated in one preseason game but won’t on Thursday. Offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley practiced on Monday for the first time since Aug. 12 and is not ready for game action. Tight ends Dennis Pitta and Crockett Gillmore have already suffered season-ending injuries, as has linebacker Albert McClellan. Head coach John Harbaugh announced on Monday that McClellan has a torn ACL.
“We are looking forward to putting it all together and having all our guys out there,” Harbaugh said on Monday, referring to the Sept. 10 opener. “We’ve been missing guys pretty much all the way through.”
Will the Saints actually play some starters in their fourth and final preseason contest? It is not out of the question, because running backs Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson have not taken the field yet and the offense looked flat in last Saturday’s date with Houston. With quarterback Drew Brees at the helm, New Orleans managed to score only three points while gaining 124 hards before the veteran exited late in the second quarter. Brees finished 11-of-15 for 76 yards in the 13-0 victory.
“In the first half, (the offense did) just okay,” head coach Sean Payton noted. “It was not up to our standards. The games can vary according to how they’re being played. It’s a good defense you’re seeing, but I think there’s still a lot of work for us to do with regards to our timing. There’s still a lot for us to work on.”
The Baltimore Ravens are:
- 1-6 ATS in their last seven road games
- 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 games on fieldturf
- 4-1 Over in their last five overall
The New Orleans Saints are:
- 10-3 ATS in their last 13 overall
- 5-2 ATS in their last seven games on fieldturf
- 10-3-1 Over in their last 14 home games
Baltimore is not playing its starters and the Saints might. The home team will also have a little bit of extra incentive in front of its fans, even though a preseason contest is meaningless for the most part aside from getting through it without injuries. The Ravens are 1-6 ATS in their last seven on the road and 8-17-1 ATS in their last 26 on fieldturf. New Orleans is 10-3 ATS in its last 13 overall and 5-2 ATS in its last seven on fieldturf. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.