Rams vs Saints : The first game up on this glorious championship Sunday is the NFC title game between the Rams and the Saints. We’ll be doing a live blog of that game here so be sure and check it out once things kick off.
In the meantime, let’s take a look at the spread and over/under for this matchup, which is a rematch of a wild 45-35 affair back in New Orleans in Week 9. At the time, the Rams were undefeated and actually came into New Orleans as 2.5-point favorites. The Saints covered easily, although it’s worth noting the large disparity in the score was aided by a very late and very long Michael Thomas touchdown that put him over 200 yards for the game.
Let’s break down everything you need to know about the odds for this game.
What’s the current line?
Saints -3 (-120): As of 10:30 a.m. ET on Sunday, the Saints are still three-point favorites, but it is an expensive three-point favorite, as the line is juiced to -120 at the Westgate. That means to win $100 you’d have to bet $120 on the Saints -3.
Over/Under 57: This has stayed pretty steady, at or around 56.5 or 57 throughout the full process. It opened at 57 and just hasn’t seen much movement.
Trends to know
Home teams in conference championship games over the last five years are 10-0 straight up and 8-2 against the spread.
The over in championship games played in domes since 2000 (arbitrary, whatever) on with an over/under of 35 points or more, the over is 6-0 in those situations. Tack on the Cardinals-Eagles game from the 2009 playoffs (retractable roof in Arizona) and the over is 7-0.
Drew Brees and Sean Payton are 6-0 straight up in home playoff games, but just 2-4 against the spread in those games.
The over is 4-1 against the number in five playoff games since the merger with an over/under of 56 or higher.
If this line closes at Saints -3, it will be the shortest favorite the Saints have been at home in the playoffs since Brees/Payton arrived.
What is the public betting on?
This game is pretty close. According to The Action Network’s public money tracker, 52 percent of the bets are on the Saints. Unsurprisingly, 52 percent of the bets are also on the over, as well as a lot more money (roughly 3x the under). This is not an end-all, be-all recap of every sportsbook’s handle for this game, but it is a very good snapshot as to what people are betting on with the NFC Championship Game.
Via Covers.com, Scott Shelton, MGM Mirage sportsbook director, said the tickets are basically split on the Saints and Rams for this game.
“This game is boring by comparison [to the AFC title game],” Shelton said. “I’ve never seen a ticket count and money count so close on the pointspread. Right now, the worst-case scenario is the Saints winning by 3.”
A Saints win by three would mean a push, which would mean no one wins money. Shelton added that if the Saints-Rams game is a low-scoring affair, the sportsbook wins big. “If it goes Over, we get our heads kicked in,” Shelton said.
Take anything a casino or sportsbook says about losing big money with a grain of salt: they’re doing just fine in Vegas. But it is an indication of where the money’s sitting.
What are the best bets for the game?
If you want the best bets, props, picks and gambling info you can possibly get, make sure and check out Friday’s episode of the Pick Six Podcast below. You can also subscribe to the pod to get a DAILY dose of NFL goodness delivered right to your favorite podcast app.
Who are the experts picking?
You can check out a full breakdown of our NFL expert picks by clicking here, including details on why certain people like certain angles for each game. Jared Dubin’s key matchups breakdown for this game is critical reading as well.