How to Bet the NFC Conference Championship Game
We split our divisional round picks last weekend because of the Saints slowed offensive production. But that is ok. The Patriots did exactly what we thought they would and got us back to evens.
Now we are down to four teams and two games to decide who is going to the Super Bowl. The lines have settled at the best online sportsbook, but is there any real value to be had with either of these games?
Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints -3.5
These were the two best teams in the National Football Conference all season long. And now they collide for the second time in NOLA.
Some Historical Data
These two teams perform differently ATS while taking on good teams. The Rams are only one and four against the spread when taking on teams that are over .550. While the Saints have covered five of seven against teams that are over .550. So we see a stark difference right off the bat.
New Orleans is 3rd in yards per play at home, 3rd in points per contest. Maybe even better is the fact that the Saints are 1st in the league at the defense’s time on field and 2nd in rushing yards allowed. But, despite the Rams’ inability to get road covers, they still have one of the best defenses in the League, allowing just 19.88 points per game while on the highway.
Speaking of points allowed, the TOTAL is listed at 56.5. In NFC Championship games, the OVER has cashed for four years straight. But with both of these teams having such stout defenses, this could be the year that the TOTAL stays low. 55% of the public is already on the OVER, so we may want to wait it out and see it doesn’t move to 57 or 57.5 by Saturday.
Going back to the Spread, the Saints offense is No. 2 in time on the field and No. 3 overall in scoring. We saw what happened the last time these two teams met. In fact, it isn’t just the last time. The Saints are 3-0 at home against the Rams both in victories and ATS. They have won by an average margin of 18.67 points. Over the last three in any situation, the Saints are 2-1 both ATS and in wins and hold a 10.67 margin of victory.
Ultimately, the Saints are going to nullify the Los Angeles Rams running game just like they did last time. Then it is going to come down to Goff and his core of receivers vs. Brees and his core. When we look at it like that, I have to side with the Saints to cover the number. That said, I am going to buy that hook down and take the Saints -3. I also like the UNDER on this one. Everyone is going to be pounding the OVER because it’s the Saints and Rams … but the most I see the score getting run up to is 30-20. Most likely it will be a 26-21 type game. So, wait on the line and see if you can get it at 57 or more, but 56.5 is still worth taking.
Betting Prediction: Take the New Orleans Saints -3 and UNDER 56.5 or more.
I am not making a play on the New England vs. Kansas City game just yet. Forget about the spread, as either team could gain momentum and walk away with this game. I tend to think that the Chiefs will win at home in Arrowhead, but Brady and the Pats are on a roll and well … it’s Tom Brady and Belichick. There is just too much risk. Where your money is concerned, stick with the Saints.
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