Ben Rolfe (@benrolfe15) previews Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Rams and provides us with his best bets for Sunday’s NFC championship game by analysing team news, potential line-ups, head-to-head, key stats and facts and more.

  • Season Record: +59.07pts on 106 selections
  • Playoff Record: +5.73pts on 31 selections

Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints Betting Preview, Odds & Tips

  • Date: 20/01/19
  • Time: 20:05
  • Venue: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans
  • Channel: Sky Sports USA (possibly Main Event as well)

This week we have two games which are rematches from the regular season. On the NFC side these two teams met in Week 9 and the Saints emerged victorious by 10 points. However, the Rams came back from a 21-point deficit in that game to level it at 35-35 before the Saints scored the last 10 points to take victory.

The Rams come into this game on the back of some extremely strong weeks running the ball. Last week they set franchise playoff record with 273 yards rushing and 459 total yards. Over the last three games the Rams have rushed for 697 yards, and C.J. Anderson has over 120 rushing yards and a touchdown in each of those games. They also welcomed back Todd Gurley last week and he should be an even bigger factor this week. However, they face a very tough Saints run defence this week, although the loss of Sheldon Rankins may be a factor there. If the Rams are forced to throw the ball on third down and long situations this could be a tough game for the Rams.

The Saints offence has struggled somewhat in recent week, but over the course of the season they have been excellent and extremely well balanced, ranking in the top-10 in the majority of passing and rushing statistics. The previous game against the Rams saw them put up their third highest total yards and fourth most passing yards. This time we will see Aquib Talib back in the Rams lineup and it will be interesting to see if they use him to try and shut down Michael Thomas. Last week they managed to come back from a 14-0 deficit and stopped the Eagles scoring in the final 50 minutes of the game.

The Saints offensive line will be the key to this game. If they cannot stop Aaron Donald and that defensive line getting pressure on Brees immediately, then the Saints will be forced to rely on short quick passes and not be able to make the big plays they managed to make when they needed to against the Eagles.

Team News

The Saints will be without defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins in this game. Rankins has been an above average run defender this season and his absence may allow the Rams to have more success on the ground than earlier this season. The Saints also have three offensive linemen coming into the game with injury issues, and that could have a big impact on the game. Other questionable players are Benjamin Watson and Keith Kirkwood, which will just reduce the number of options Drew Brees has in the game.

The Rams com into the game reasonably healthy and having Todd Gurley back to virtual full health is a big relief for them in this game.

Head To Head

  • The Rams are 41-33 all-time against the Saints.
  • The last six meetings between these teams have all been won by the home side
  • The only postseason meeting, in 2000, was a 31-28 win for the Saints in the Superdome.
  • The teams last met Week 9 this season, the Saints won 45-35 and Michael Thomas had 211 receiving yards in that game.
  • In the two games played in New Orleans since the Rams moved back to Los Angeles the Saints have scored 40-plus points, and average 47. The Rams average 28 points scored in those two games.

Key Stats & Facts

  • The Rams are 1-4 on the road in NFC championship games.
  • The Saints have won the last 7 home playoff games, including all six with Drew Brees and Sean Payton.
  • Last week was the first time the Saints have won a postseason game when scoring under 25 points.
  • Michael Thomas has the joint most postseason receptions in his first three games (27, Wes Welker).

Betting Odds

  • Los Angeles Rams 6/4
  • New Orleans Saints 3/5

The Verdict

This game is extremely close to call and I think the Rams have a real chance to win. It is extremely hard to beat the same team twice and the Rams run game should be better than it was in Week 9. I can see this game coming down to the final minutes of the fourth quarter, and for that reason I am only leaning to the Rams getting 3.5 points.

I think we see both teams at least in the high 20-point region in this game, and probably into the low-30s. Therefore, I would bet the over on total points at 56.5. I would also look to take the over on 6.5 touchdowns to be scored, with both teams showing they are willing to go for it on fourth downs last week.

In terms of anytime touchdown scorer Dan Arnold is the best value at 20/1 and Jared Goff at 16/1 has to be in contention after he demonstrated a willingness to put himself on the line to get the ball into the end zone. In terms of prop bets, I expect to see more of Todd Gurley this week and over 65.5 rushing yards is available at 10/11 with Betfair.

Recommended Bets

  • 1pt – Over 56.5 points – 19/20 (Ladbrokes)
  • 1pt – Over 6.5 total touchdowns – 10/11 (Skybet)
  • 1pt – Anytime touchdown scorer: Dan Arnold – 7/1 (Skybet)
  • 1pt – Anytime touchdown scorer: Jared Goff – 16/1 (Bet365)
  • 1pt – Todd Gurley over 65.5 rushing yards – 10/11 (Betfair)