Atlanta Falcons vs. New Orleans Saints betting odds preview, pick

Chris Graythen

Atlanta has lost 11 of 14 meetings with New Orleans and are underdogs on the Week 1 NFL odds menu against their NFC South foes. See the trends, odds and prediction.

The Atlanta Falcons have struggled against the New Orleans Saints over the years, but they are favored in their Week 1 matchup and the trusty Odds Shark computer is picking them as well.

The NFC South battle happens Sunday at the Superdome in Louisiana, with New Orleans a 3-point home favorite according to most sportsbooks.

However, despite their 3-11 SU mark in 14 clashes with the Saints, the computer picks the Falcons in a 33-26 final.

Atlanta finished the 2012 regular season with a 13-3 SU record, tied with Denver for the best record in the NFL, with a respectable 9-6-1 ATS record to go along with it. With a 36-12 SU record over the last three seasons, the Falcons have been one of the league's most consistent regular season performers over that span.

And with RB Steven Jackson joining an already loaded offense featuring Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and Julio Jones, there is no reason to expect a step backwards this season.

But will the Falcons be able to fend off the New Orleans Saints? With Sean Payton suspended for the 2012 season, the Saints went just 7-9 SU and 8-8 ATS despite finishing the year with the best passing attack in the NFL.

Payton's return and a new defensive coordinator in Rex Ryan are expected to give the Saints the boost they need to return to prominence. Drew Brees passed for 5,177 yards and 43 touchdowns last season, and should once again be one of the league's top passers in 2013.

While Atlanta has been dominating most of the NFL over the last few years, the Falcons still haven't been able to solve the Saints. Despite the fact that these are two of the elite passing games in the NFL, the total has gone UNDER in three of the last five games between Atlanta and New Orleans.

This one could go either way, and both teams are built similarly with tremendous offenses and question marks on defense.

But with emotions riding high in Sean Payton's return to the sideline at home, look for the Saints to outshoot their rivals.

PICK: New Orleans -3.0 - follow Mike Pickett on Twitter

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