Hurricane Ida made landfall in the U.S. on Sunday and wreaked havoc, causing huge amounts of damage and threatening lives. While real-life implications are clearly the main story when it comes to a major storm like this, Hurricane Ida affects sports as well, and the New Orleans Saints find themselves without a home.
How does this affect their opening game against the Green Bay Packers? What implications does it have on their prices in the futures markets? We’ll take a look and see if we can note the potential impact.
Hurricane Ida Displaces Saints’ Home Opener
The Saints had been scheduled to open their 2021 campaign with a highly-anticipated matchup of two 2020 Super Bowl contenders. The Packers were supposed to travel in and play at the newly minted Caesars Superdome.
However, the timing of Hurricane Ida rendered this impossible.
The Saints, having already moved to Dallas to conduct practices — a hindrance in its own right — may now play “host” in their adopted venue. Dallas’ own opening road game makes this possible. Edit: New reports from NFL Network say AT&T Stadium will not, in fact, serve as the host venue, and another must be found. The Saints will play their first home game in Jacksonville.
Meanwhile, the Saints have received nothing but bad news. Not only has their practice schedule been disrupted, but superstar WR Michael Thomas has been ruled out for several weeks after being placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.
DraftKings Sportsbook briefly took the Week 1 line, which had moved to Packers -3, off the board. Less than an hour later they reposted it back at … Packers -3. However, steam instantly began pouring in on the Pack. Not more than a few minutes later, they sat at -4.5.
Keep in mind if you got in on the Packers early, your sportsbook likely voided your bet. Most sportsbooks won’t honor prior bets if a change in venue occurs.
Will Hurricane Ida Have Long-Term Effects?
The lack of a Week 1 home game seems straightforward enough. Take away the home-field advantage point(s) you ascribe to the Saints. Then build in whatever nebulous hit you think they take from the massive schedule disruption and inability to stay and train in the comforts of home.
Voila, you’ve got the new line for Saints/Packers and you can decide from there where and if you see value.
Will Hurricane Ida cause longer-term effects, though? Local writer Jeff Duncan reported that the Saints expect to be away from home for the entire first quarter of the season. Here’s how their early schedule shakes out following the Green Bay game, with opponent’s spread listed:
- at Carolina ()
- at New England ()
- vs. New York Giants ()
It may be fair to expect the Saints’ performance to take a hit early on given their practice and scheduling disadvantage. Don’t be surprised if these spreads nudge in the direction of New Orleans’ opposition in the coming weeks.
Keep in mind that the Saints, as an NFC team, already entered 2021 with an unbalanced schedule of nine games away and eight at home. They now face a definite uphill climb, potentially losing two more home games.
Getting outside of a game-by-game look, many NFL bettors enjoy playing futures markets and regular season totals. Have those markets changed? Should they?
The Historical Precedent: Hurricane Katrina
One recent precedent that may provide hints as to the effect of hurricane displacement on an NFL team comes from the 2005 New Orleans Saints. That team played all its “home” games outside of the Superdome, popping into a few different spots and even just straight up having one in the opponent’s home stadium.
According to Pro Football Reference, the market had some optimism the team would be competitive. Coming off an 8-8 season, the market tabbed them for 7.5 wins, with an admittedly long Super Bowl future price of +6000.
Maybe you can blame Hurricane Katrina, or maybe the team simply didn’t have the talent level expected. Either way, they vastly underperformed their win total and wound up 3-13.
Regular Season Wins And Futures Movements
Back in March, the Saints sported a win total of 9, with TheLines noting them as one of the bigger projected losers relative to 2020 performance.
Fast forward to August and DK Sportsbook currently lists the Saints with a win total of…9, albeit juiced to the under at -120.
However, not everyone quite shares that level of optimism. FanDuel Sportsbook has a -145 number on that same under.
Note that you can find a best available number of if you’re looking for an over bet on New Orleans.
As for Super Bowl futures, pessimism appears to have steadily built on the Saints. They opened +1500 at DK Sportsbook and now sit at . The best available price on them is .
Add in the Michael Thomas news and the fact that it’s anyone’s guess where the Saints will be spending the early portion of the season, and those numbers only figure to get longer in the coming days.