Thanks to a dominant 34-7 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, the New Orleans Saints moved back atop the NFC futures board.
A global composite of odds to win the NFC shows: Saints 2/1, 49ers 3/1, Seahawks 3/1, Packers 6/1, Vikings 12/1, Cowboys 14/1, Eagles 20/1, Rams 100/1.
Seedings are very much in flux because the first four teams have 11-3 records. New Orleans enjoys the inside track for at least a bye because it will be favored to win its last two games and has a head-to-head tiebreaker edge over Seattle. The Seahawks will host San Francisco in the regular-season finale, guaranteeing at least one of those teams will lose again.
On the heels of that colossal rout of the Colts — keyed by a 424-205 edge in total yardage, a 6.7-to-3.9 advantage in yards per play, and a historically sharp passing line of 29-30-0-307 for Drew Brees — New Orleans will likely close as a field-goal favorite Sunday at Tennessee (1 p.m., FOX).
Early money is showing interest on Tennessee at 3. The Titans have been playing much more impressively since Ryan Tannehill took over at quarterback. They also have a one-day advantage in rest and preparation because the Saints played Monday. Some sportsbooks are charging -120 vigorish to bet the Titans, meaning the Saints are even money at -3.
Monitor markets this weekend to see if books are forced to drop below the key number before kickoff.
In other games involving NFC contenders this weekend:
— San Francisco will likely close as a favorite of -6.5 Saturday against the Los Angeles Rams (8:15 p.m., NFL Network). A Rams loss or a Minnesota victory would eliminate the Rams from playoff contention. We can deduce that sharps don’t like the Niners in this price range or the line would have already moved to the key number of 7.
— Resurgent Dallas will likely close laying -2.5 points Sunday at Philadelphia (4:25 p.m., FOX). Those two are tied for first place in the NFC East at 7-7. The Cowboys did bounce back from recent losses with a 44-21 rout of the Rams last week. Philadelphia hasn’t done anything that impressive since winning big at Buffalo two months ago. Markets can’t figure out what to do with the recently erratic Cowboys.
— Minnesota will likely close as a favorite of at least -5 or -5.5 over Green Bay Monday night (8:15 p.m., ESPN). The line could rise before kickoff amid pundit chatter that the Packers have to win only their season finale over Detroit to claim the NFC North.
If you’re wondering about odds to win the Super Bowl, the Saints are now second in the NFL behind the Baltimore Ravens. VSiN’s global composite shows: Ravens 9/4, Saints 11/2, Patriots 6/1, 49ers 7/1, Seahawks 7/1, Chiefs 7/1, Packers 14/1, Vikings 25/1, Cowboys 28/1, Bills 33/1. The Patriots host the Bills on Saturday (4:30 p.m., NFL Network), and Tom Brady and company will likely close as 6.5-point favorites.