Cavs-Warriors: 6 X-Factors that will Define Your Betting

cavs-warriors-x-factorsGame 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals series between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers starts tomorrow. And if you’re planning on betting the Finals, you can do so right here at But before you place a wager, you should check out the following 6 x-factors that will shape this series.

X-factor #1: Historic Cavs Offense vs. Stifling Warriors Defense

Golden State led the NBA in offense this past season, averaging 113.2 points per 100 possessions. Their offense has gotten even better in the postseason, with a 115.8 offensive efficiency rating through 12 playoff games.

No other postseason team is even within 5 points of the Warriors….expect for Cleveland. In fact, the Cavaliers are almost five points better than the Warriors.

They’re averaging a historic 120.7 points per 100 possessions, which is nearly 10 better than their regular season average (110.9).

They haven’t scored less than 106 points in all 13 postseason games; they’ve scored 115+ in eight contests; and they dropped 130 and 135 in two games against the normally strong Boston Celtics’ defense.

It’ll be interesting to see how this blazing offense holds up against the Warriors’ defense. Golden State stifled Portland, Utah, and San Antonio’s offense. Their defensive rating is 99.1 per 100 possessions – better than their regular season rating of 101.1, which was second-best.

X-factor #2: Warriors Strong Offense vs. Cavs Mediocre Defense

Golden State has a really good offense, and Cleveland doesn’t have a great defense. In fact, the Cavs were bad at stopping teams during the regular season, giving up 108.0 points per 100 possessions (22nd in league).

They’ve trimmed this down to 104.6 points per 100 possessions. And this isn’t bad, considering that they faced the Pacers (15th best offense), Raptors (6th), and Celtics (8th).

But as mentioned before, Golden State brings an entirely new challenge because they have the second-best offense in the postseason.

X-factor #3: LeBron James is Playing Better than Ever

Draymond Green, LeBron JamesFor LeBron James, it’s hard to elevate your play any further. But he’s somehow done it during this postseason, at age 32.

King James is averaging 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists. He’s also shooting 56.6% from the floor, and 42.1% from three-point range – both playoff career bests.

Other than Michael Jordan in 1997, LeBron is the only other player to post a 30-7-7 average and shoot over 50% in the playoffs. But the difference between these two legends is that LeBron has done it twice (2009 season).

His play has opened things up for Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, and the rest of the team to do the following:

  • Irving is averaging 24.5 PPG.
  • Love has made 38 of his 80 three-pointers in the playoffs (47.5%).
  • JR Smith has connected on 22 of 49 three’s (44.9%).
  • Channing Frye has knocked down 20 of 38 three-pointers (52.6%).
  • Kyle Korver has made 22 of 53 three’s (41.5%).

X-factor #4: Will Golden State Force Cleveland to Shorten their Rotation

kyle-korver-cavsThere’s an old coach’s motto regarding NBA playoff rotations: “Play eight players, trust seven.”

And we expect this to apply to the Cavs when they face Golden State.

Cleveland features a particularly deep playoff rotation that includes the following:

  • LeBron James – 40.9 minutes
  • Kyrie Irving – 34.8 minutes
  • Tristan Thompson – 33.0 minutes
  • Kevin Love – 32.1 minutes
  • J.R. Smith – 26.2 minutes
  • Kyle Korver – 17.7 minutes
  • Iman Shumpert – 17.4 minutes
  • Deron Williams – 15.5 minutes
  • Channing Frye – 13.0 minutes
  • Richard Jefferson – 10.6 minutes

Some of this is related to all the garbage time that Cleveland has played. And you can really trim this to nine players because Jefferson and Frye have alternated minutes in each series, depending upon the situation.

But the Warriors’ talented offense is great at exposing opponents’ weaknesses. Case in point, they went at Korver every time he was in the game during a January matchup at Oracle. If he wasn’t chasing Klay Thompson around on screens, he was trying to guard Andre Igouala on drives. The end result was Korver having a minus-12 rating.

Frye is also a defensive liability. And his ability to punish big men who don’t play good perimeter defense won’t be effective against the Warriors’ small lineup. That said, we could see Cleveland’s rotation shortened to Shumpert and Williams off the bench, with some Jefferson sprinkled in.

X-factor #5: Will Tristan Thompson Kill Golden State on the Boards?

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Cleveland CavaliersTristan Thompson is the Cavs’ unheralded fourth option who’s quietly putting up solid numbers. He’s averaging 9.2 points and 9.3 rebounds – the latter of which includes 4.2 offensive RPG.

During Cleveland’s Christmas Day win over Golden State, he grabbed six of the Cavs’ 18 offensive rebounds. During a January loss, he only collected two of the Cavs’ seven offensive rebounds.

Thompson’s rebounding will be key when Golden State goes small. And if he can get Cleveland extra shots – like the 18 extra attempts they had against the Warriors on Christmas – then this could tilt the series their way.

Here’s an example, where you can see Thompson bowling past Durant from a rebound and dunk:

X-factor #6: Can Andre Iguodala Stop LeBron James?

This Finals series is filled with interesting matchups, including Klay Thompson guarding Irving; Love guarding Draymond Green; James and Kevin Durant going at each other; and Shumpert sticking with Steph Curry.

iguodala-lebron-jamesBut the x-factor will be how much Andre Igoudala can slow down James. Given that LBJ plays almost the entire game, and Igoudala comes in on the second unit, they’ll see a lot of each other.

Last year, Igoudala was slowed by a bad back. This season, he’s dealing with a sore knee. If his knee issue keeps him from being 100%, then LeBron gets a break when Durant or Green aren’t guarding him. But if Igoudala can play strong defense, it means that James never gets an easy defender.

Cavs Warriors Game 1 Odds

Our lines for Game 1 are as follows:

  • Money line: Golden State -320; Cleveland +260
  • Point spread: Golden State -7: Cleveland +7
  • Totals: over/under 226 (-110)

Can Klay Thompson Step Up in the 2017 NBA Finals?

Much has been made about the Golden State Warriors’ Big 4 all season.

Adding Kevin Durant to a lineup that already includes Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green has been devastating for opponents. That said, it’s little reason why they’re favored by 7 points in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

But if there’s one chink in the armor as they face the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s been the been Thompson’s postseason drop-off.

Many analysts wondered if Curry and Durant could integrate their games together. But in reality, it’s been Thompson who’s struggling to adapt since he has the ball less.

His 2017 playoff numbers tell the story:

  • 2015-16 Playoffs – 24.3 PPG; 44.4% shooting; 42.4% three-point shooting; 18.9 shot attempts
  • 2016-17 Playoffs – 14.4 PPG; 38.3% shooting; 36.4% three-point shooting; 13.9 shot attempts

Now, compare this to his regular season numbers, which are virtually identical year to year:

  • 2015-16 Season – 22.1 PPG; 47.0% shooting; 42.5% three-point shooting; 17.3 shot attempts
  • 2016-17 Season – 22.3 PPG; 46.8% shooting; 41.4% three-point shooting; 17.6 shot attempts

As you can see, there’s been little change between Thompson’s regular seasons with Durant on the team. But the postseason has been an entirely different story.

Why have Thompson’s Numbers Suddenly Fallen?

The easy explanation for Klay’s declining production would be that Curry and Durant are taking more shots in the postseason. But one look at the numbers disproves this theory:

  • Curry Regular Season Attempts = 18.3 shots per game
  • Curry Postseason Attempts = 18.4 shots per game
  • Durant Regular Season Attempts = 16.5 shots per game
  • Durant Postseason Attempts = 16.0 shots per game

Curry and Durant are actually averaging 0.4 fewer attempts combined than they did in the regular season. Perhaps a better explanation can be seen in how the team’s overall shot attempts have been limited:

  • Golden State Regular Season Attempts = 87.1 shots per game
  • Golden State Postseason Attempts = 85.3 shots per game

This doesn’t entirely explain why Thompson is taking 5 fewer shots in the playoffs. But it at least shows that Golden State has 1.8 fewer attempts to go around each game.

How will Thompson Play in the 2017 NBA Finals?

klay-thompson-2017-playoff-strugglesThompson’s numbers have gotten worse as the playoffs have progressed. TNT analyst Charles Barkley noted this point when predicting that the Cavaliers will win the Finals. Here’s what Barkley had to say on Thompson:

“I think Klay is the best 2-guard in the league … If you go and actually look, I’m watching games and I’m watching things … The problem is that he doesn’t get the ball anymore. He has become the guy who never gets the ball.

“He can’t get in rhythm. Listen, the guy saved them against Oklahoma City last year. He didn’t get bad all of the sudden. He’s a great shooter, but he cannot get in rhythm because of those guys. And listen, I just think the Cavaliers, LeBron is on a mission. I like the Cavs in six.”

Perhaps Barkley’s point about Thompson not getting in rhythm is the key. And given his plunging shooting percentage – including 32.7% during the San Antonio series – something has changed from the regular season.

In addition to being out of rhythm, Thompson has likely lost confidence. He started the playoffs shooting poorly against the Trail Blazers, hitting 38.8% of his attempts. Then Thompson rebounded against Utah to shoot 46.2%. But the relapsed against San Antonio.

It’s hard to say which Thompson will show up for the 2017 NBA Finals. But Golden State will certainly be hoping that it’s the Thompson they’ve come to trust.

Warriors vs Cavs Odds

If you haven’t already bet on Cleveland vs Golden State, keep in mind that you can do so right here at Assuming you’re looking for betting advice, refer to this article, where we discuss why the Cavaliers will win the NBA Finals in six games.

And no, we didn’t just rip this prediction off from Barkley!

Cavs vs Warriors 2017 NBA Finals Odds & Betting Advice

cavs-warriors-2017-finalsThe 2017 NBA Finals are here, and nobody is surprised about the participants. Most analysts predicted a Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors rematch before the season began.

And the Warriors are better than ever, having added former MVP Kevin Durant to a lineup that already features Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Steph Curry.

Given the firepower that the Warriors possess and how they have home-court advantage, it’s little surprise that they’re favored.

Of course, the Cavaliers are hardly anybody to overlook, especially with the way that they rolled through the Eastern Conference.

Can the Cavs pull off the upset? Or is Cleveland just another speedbump in the Warriors’ pursuit of a second title in three years.

2017 NBA Finals: Cavs vs. Warriors
Game 1 Betting Line: Cleveland +7, Golden State -7
Over/Under: 226 (-110)
Other Betting Lines: Check

Series Schedule:
Game 1 @GSW: Thursday, June 1 at 9:00 pm on ABC
Game 2 @GSW: Sunday, June 4 at 8:00 pm on ABC
Game 3 @CLE: Wednesday, June 7 at 9:00 pm on ABC
Game 4 @CLE: Friday, June 9 at 9:00 pm on ABC
Game 5 @GSW: Monday, June 12 at 9:00 pm on ABC (if necessary)
Game 6 @CLE: Thursday, June 15 at 9:00 pm on ABC (if necessary)
Game 7 @GSW: Sunday, June 18 at 8:00 pm on ABC (if necessary)

Golden State Warriors NBA Finals Preview

kevin-durant-nba-finalsIt’s kind of ridiculous that the Warriors open the Finals as a 7-point favorite when considering how well Cleveland has played. But then again, this is a historic team that set a postseason record by starting 12-0. They’ve also won 10 of these contests by double digits, including four victories of 20+ points.

Golden State’s dominance was on full display against San Antonio in the conference finals. Of course, Spurs star Kawhi Leonard went down with an ankle injury. But the way that the Warriors played – winning the final three games by an average of 20.7 PPG – Leonard might not have made enough of a difference in the series.

So what has these Warriors looking even better than last year’s squad, which won a record 73 games?

Steph Curry is playing the best basketball of his career right now, averaging 28.6 PPG, 1.92 steals, and shooting 50.2% in the postseason. Durant is having no trouble fitting in this season, averaging 25.2 PPG and shooting a sizzling 55.6%.

Green is playing a nice overall game, averaging 13.9 points, 8.7 rebounds, 7.2 assists, 2.1 blocks, and 1.9 steals.

klay-thompson-jr-smithThe only star who’s off right now is Klay Thompson, who’s averaging 14.4 points on 38.3% shooting. But everybody knows that Thompson can get hot quickly.

Given the record and the way that Golden State is playing right now, there’s little reason to doubt them heading into this series.

Warriors ATS: Golden State is 8-4 against the spread in the playoffs, including 2-4 at home. Given how bad they’ve been at home ATS, we like the Cavs in Game 1.

Cleveland NBA Finals Preview

kevin-love-cavsCleveland power forward Kevin Love can’t believe how underrated Cleveland is going into this series.

“At the end of the day, we are defending our title,” he said. “We’re trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. I think we will use it as fuel, we will use it as motivation, but the idea of playing into it? It’s tough for me to say that is the case. I don’t feel like we’re underdogs. We match up well with them, and I think they’d say the same about us.”

Even Warriors coach Steve Kerr – who might not coach in the Finals due to back surgery complications – agreed with Love.

So how can Cleveland prove that the defending champs need to be respected?

The truth is that they’ve already proven they belong, winning their playoff games by an average of 13.6 PPG. This compares to Golden State winning their contests by 16.3 PPG.

The Cavs may not have added Durant in the offseason, but their stars are playing better than ever.

lebron-james-dunk-nba-finalsLeBron James is living up to his billing as the “best player in the world,” averaging 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.2 steals, and 1.4 blocks. For good measure, James is even shooting 56.6% from the field.

Kyrie Irving is the perfect scoring sidekick, averaging 24.5 PPG and delivering huge moments when Cleveland needs them. He led the Cavs back against Boston in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals, scoring a playoff career-high 42 points.

Perhaps the biggest barometer of Cleveland’s success is what Kevin Love has done. In his third season with Cleveland, he looks more comfortable than ever, averaging 17.2 points and 10.4 rebounds. He’s also shooting better than anybody in this series from the three-point line, hitting 47.5% during the postseason.

The Cavs have a cast of role players who should also play a big part in the Finals, including Tristan Thompson (9.2 PPG, 9.3 RPG), Channing Frye (7.8 PPG), J.R. Smith (6.6 PPG), Kyle Korver (6.4 PPG), and Deron Williams (5.6 PPG).

Cavs ATS: Cleveland is 7-4-2 against the spread in the playoffs. But they’re 5-0-2 on the road, providing confidence that they’ll play well at Oracle.

Final Thoughts on Cavs vs. Warriors Playoffs Betting

Golden State certainly has a good chance to avenge their Finals loss from last season, when they blew a 3-1 lead to the Cavaliers. After all, they have a quartet of stars who make it hard to shut down this well-oiled machine. But does this mean that Cleveland can’t compete?

Not in the slightest because the Cavs have plenty to bank on themselves. Many consider LeBron to be the world’s best player, and he’s proving it this postseason. Love has never looked more comfortable in his role, and he’s shooting lights-out from beyond the arc. Then there’s Kyrie Irving, who’s gotten hotter and hotter in the playoffs.

We haven’t seen the Warriors deal with any true adversity this year, outside of a brief stretch where they lost some regular season games when Durant hurt his knee. And the Cavs are by far the best team that Golden State has faced all season.

How will they respond to a team that’s playing just as well as them right now? Who will take the clutch shots? Will they crumble in tight games?

If you ask our prediction for the 2018 NBA Finals champion, then it’s the Golden State Warriors thanks to another year of gelling with Durant. If you ask us now, we think that the Cavs are ready to pull off the “upset.”

And from a betting perspective, expect Cleveland to fare well against the spreads and moneyline.

Series Prediction: Cavaliers win 4-2

7 Crazy Records from Cavs Warriors 2017 NBA Finals Matchup

cavs-warriors-nba-finals-recordsThe Golden State Warriors have become accustomed to setting records over the last two seasons.

They famously finished 73-9 last year, which is the best regular season mark in NBA history. The Warriors are also the first team in history to finish with the most regular season victories 3 years in a row.

But Golden State isn’t the only team setting records as we roll into the 2017 NBA Finals. In fact, they and the Cleveland Cavaliers have combined for some incredible feats, which we’ll cover below.

Record #1: First Time 2 Finals Teams have Met 3 Straight Years

Dating back to the 2014-15 season, the Cavaliers and Warriors have met three seasons in a row.

The first time, Golden State won, taking the 2015 NBA Finals by a 4-2 margin. Last year, Cleveland became the first squad to come back from a 3-1 Finals deficit.

This season?

Most are predicting Golden State to triumph because they added Kevin Durant to an already stacked team. Of course, we have our own opinion on the matter.

One big problem is that we’re in uncharted territory, making it hard to guess what will happen in this rubber match. Anybody’s best guess is that that will be a close series.

Record #2: Golden State is First Team to Start 12-0 in Playoffs

warriors-vs-spurs-2017Since the NBA changed the first round of the playoffs to a best-of-seven format in 2003, no team has gone undefeated up to the Finals. But this changed in 2017, with the Warriors ripping through their competition en route to a 12-0 record so far.

Of Golden State’s two wins, 10 have been by double digits. And their 16.3-point margin of victory speaks volumes about their dominance so far. Given this, it’s no wonder why many predict a Warriors victory.

Record #3: Best Combined Playoffs Record Among NBA Finalists

The Cavaliers haven’t been too shabby either, finishing the first three rounds with a 12-1 record. It’s actually a surprise that they didn’t go undefeated as well, losing one game in the conference finals to the Boston Celtics.

Boston lost Isaiah Thomas for the year in Game 2, but an undermanned Celtics squad still won the following game in Cleveland. However, they offered little challenge in the last two contests.

The end result is a combined 24-1 postseason record for both the Cavs and Celtics.

Record #4: Cavs Have Multiple Postseason Offensive Records

Cleveland’s strength all season long has been their offense. And this hasn’t changed much during the postseason because they’re shredding opposing defenses.

They’re scoring 120.7 points per 100 possessions, which is the highest since the NBA started counting turnovers in 1977. This should serve Cleveland well because they’re facing the league’s top defense.

Record #5: LeBron James is First Player to Average 30, 7, 7 while Shooting 50%

LeBron James is currently averaging 32.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.0 assists, showing that he truly does it all for the Cavs. On top of this, LeBron is also shooting 56.6% from the field, which puts him in a class all by himself.

He’s one of only two players to average 30, 7, and 7, while shooting over 50%. The other player? Michael Jordan in the 1988-89 season.

But James is the only one to do it twice because he also put up these numbers during the 2009 playoffs.

Record #6: Curry Has the Best Ever Plus-Minus Rating

Some think that Steph Curry’s play has dropped off while he figures out how to play with Kevin Durant. But one telling statistic that says otherwise is his plus-minus rating in the playoffs.

Curry is +215 through 12 games, which is the best since the league began tracking this stat in the 1996-97 postseason. Curry now ranks ahead of Kobe Bryant’s +213 in the 2001 season, and James’ +209 last year.

Record #7: Cavs Have made Most Three-Pointers in Playoff History

Cleveland has embraced the era of three-point gunning, averaging 14.6 makes from beyond the arc in the postseason. This is 1.8 more than any other team in playoff history, which is impressive considering that the Houston Rockets also participated in the playoffs this season.

Final Thoughts on Records in 2017 NBA Finals

While the first three rounds of the playoffs have been largely non-competitive for the Cavs and Warriors, the Finals should be a different story.

We expect some of these records to disappear in what will be a highly competitive series. But the key is that these record-setting titans should make for one unforgettable finale.

If you’re interested in betting on the 2017 NBA Finals, be sure to visit

Will Chris Paul Sign with San Antonio?

The San Antonio Spurs’ season is over, ending in less-than-dramatic fashion. Kawhi Leonard’s injury in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals all but sealed the team’s fate. Following his injury, they were swept 4-0 by Golden State, losing the final three games by an average of over 20 points.

That said, you have to wonder if San Antonio can really push the ultra-talented Warriors in a seven-game series.

But what if they were to replace Patty Mills at point guard with a 9-time All-Star?

Like, say, Chris Paul?

Paul is currently a free agent and exploring his options. At 32 years old, he’s running out of time to win a championship, and San Antonio is one of the few places where he can truly contend.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe discussed this during his latest episode of the Lowe Post Podcast. Here’s an excerpt from the show:

“There’s been a lot of rumblings about Chris Paul, and I think that’s real. I think there’s mutual interest there. I don’t know how real it is given the Clippers can offer a gigantic amount of money and are also a really good team; and the Spurs, like I said, have no sort of cap flexibility to get there. I’m very curious about what they do this summer and who’s on the team next year.”

Why Paul going to the Spurs Makes Sense

chris-paul-san-antonioThe reasons why this opportunity works for both sides are obvious.

San Antonio’s point guard situation isn’t amazing with the trio of Mills, Tony Parker, and Dejounte Murray. This isn’t to say that it’s a bad combination. But can any of these players lead the Spurs past Golden State next year?

Paul gives them a much better opportunity to do so next season. He still puts up solid regular-season numbers with 18.1 PPG, 9.2 APG, and 1.9 SPG. Paul elevated his game for the postseason, scoring 25.3 points, dishing out 9.9 assists, and getting 1.7 steals.

Beyond stats, he’s the league’s best floor general and also plays good defense – which would be instrumental in checking Steph Curry. One more thing CP3 can do is make the entire lineup better, which would help LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol tremendously.

On Paul’s side, signing with the Spurs makes sense because this is the only legitimate championship contender that lacks a star point guard. If he wants to win a ring, San Antonio gives him a better chance than the Clippers do, especially since the latter can’t make it past the first or second round.

Why Paul to San Antonio Won’t Happen

chris-paul-sign-spursThere are just as many reasons against this deal becoming a reality as there are reasons for.

First off, Paul stands to make far more money by re-signing with the Clippers. He can ink a 5-year, $205-million deal by staying in L.A. The most he can get with the Spurs is a 4-year, $152-million deal.

Paul headed the players’ union during negotiations for the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that changed the Over 36 rule – limiting max contracts for players who turn 36 during their deal – to the Over 38 rule.

And the reason why Paul and LeBron James fought so hard for this is because it gives them the ability to sign a max five-year deal with their current club (Paul would turn 36 during his Clippers deal).

This being said, why would he give up the chance to get an extra $53 million? Especially when he fought so hard for the new CBA?

Signing Paul also presents problems for San Antonio because they would need to get rid of Gasol and Tony Parker. They’d also have to let Mills go in free agency.

Getting rid of Parker would be next to impossible because he’s guaranteed $15.4 million in 2018. San Antonio could cut Parker and stretch his salary over three years ($5.13m per season). But this is the most anti-Spurs move anybody could think of.

One More Option: Get Paul to Sign for Less

If CP3 is really serious about playing with San Antonio, he could take less money. Paul could even sweeten the deal for himself by including an opt-out clause that allows him to go elsewhere after three or four years.

However, this seems like an unlikely move. Paul can get a giant payday with his current club, so why risk this when L.A. is also a good playoff team?

The 12-year veteran will meet with multiple teams this summer, but it’s likely between the Clippers and Spurs. Too much needs to happen in the San Antonio scenario, so don’t be surprised if Paul dons the Clippers uniform in 2018.

Saints Futures: Adrian Peterson Looks Like Old Self in OTAs

adrian-peterson-saints-2018NFL organized team activities (OTAs) have officially begun. And one of the hottest stories has been how Adrian Peterson is faring in New Orleans.

After spending 10 seasons with the Minnesota Vikings, Peterson will play for a new team for the first time in his NFL career. And if the OTAs are any indication, his transition to the Saints will go smoothly.

Speaking with ESPN’s Mike Triplett, Saints fullback John Kuhn doesn’t see any drop-off in Peterson’s athletic ability – even after AP suffered a torn meniscus last season.

“Strange? It’s not strange. I’ve been dreaming about a day like this for a long time,” said the former Green Bay fullback, who was an NFC rival to Peterson’s Minnesota teams.

Kuhn added, “He looks the same way he looked when I was watching him from the other sideline for all those years. He looks like the same old AP, and I’m just excited to see him in the same team colors.”

Triplett was on hand for New Orleans’ OTAs and agreed with Kuhn’s opinion, noting that Peterson “looked plenty fast and fluid on the practice field Thursday during the first Saints OTA practice session that was open to the media.”

Here are a few more notes from Triplett:

  • Peterson was running at full speed during the OTAs. And Saints coach Sean Payton noted that he’s been with the team throughout the offseason workout program – a change from his Vikings days, where he did spring training on his own in Houston.
  • AP took most of the first-team snaps because Mark Ingram was sidelined with an unspecified injury.
  • New Orleans used a nickel offense, where Peterson caught several passes from QB Drew Brees.

Payton is Happy with Peterson’s Performance

Most expect Peterson to play a big role in New Orleans’ offense. But it’s reassuring that coach Payton also likes what he sees so far.

“He made a few catches today that looked pretty good,” said Payton. “I think he’s comfortable catching the ball in space. He was on top of the protections, much the same way you’d expect Mark or any of those backs to have a variety of things that they can do.”

Payton added, “Listen, he’s picked things up well. He’s been here through the whole offseason program. So it’s good to be able to get out and do some football movements and get that timing down. But he’s done well.”

Peterson Looking to Disprove “After 30” Running Back Stereotype

AP wasn’t available to the media after practicing with New Orleans. But he did a conference call in April and discussed how he doesn’t want everybody focusing on his age (32).

“It’s kind of crazy to hear people even comment on how many years I have left and compare me to other running backs, when I’m just my own individual,” said Peterson.

“This is one thing that I really dislike about the NFL is how people kind of put guys in a box — especially running backs after that [age] 30 mark. So in my mind, I feel like I have a lot of years left.”

Payton agrees, noting that Peterson is unique since he gained 2,097 yards and won the 2012 NFL MVP one season after tearing his ACL.

“I think he would be the one guy that you would say already has really gone against conventional wisdom. So I would agree with him,” said the longtime Saints coach. “I think that not only his skill set, but his physical ability and the way he trains and his athleticism, I think he’s excited to get back and return healthy.”

Ingram and Peterson Sharing Carries Won’t be a Problem

peterson-saintsIt’ll be interesting to see how carries are split between Peterson and Ingram. But Payton doesn’t think there’ll be any issue with finding enough reps for both players.

After all, he expertly managed the situation between Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush in 2006.

Kuhn thinks that the timeshare will be fine too. In fact, he’s pumped to block for both players, as well as rookie Alvin Kamara.

“We’re just excited because we felt we made great strides last year as a run offense,” Kuhn explained. “There’s a lot of weapons in there right now. And you talk about the young guy, Alvin, some of the stuff that you see him able to do right now. And let’s not forget that workhorse 22 [Ingram] — he’s a beast. So there’s gonna be a three, four, or five-headed monster this year.”

Kuhn added, “What I love about it is you stack a whole bunch of weapons in an offense with Coach Payton, he’s kind of like a mad scientist in there. He’s so great at being able to get people into positions for the things that they do best. And with all those weapons we have, with Drew, with Coach Payton, some great minds creating some fun matchups, it’s gonna be fun to watch.”

2018 New Orleans Saints Futures

Thanks to the addition of Peterson, New Orleans has a strong offense that also includes Brees and Ingram. However, the Saints aren’t getting much love at online sportsbooks.

Our futures have them at +6000 for winning the 2018 Super Bowl, and +3000 for winning the NFC. Contrast this to Dallas and Green Bay, who both have +500 odds of winning the conference.

Nevertheless, it should be an interesting season for New Orleans with Peterson onboard.

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