Rams-Saints Betting Preview: Which Team Is Undervalued in NFC Championship?

Jan 20, 2019 07:15 AM EST

Betting odds: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints

  • Spread: Saints -3 (-115)
  • Over/Under: 56.5
  • Time: Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

>> All odds as of Sunday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market

This line opened at Saints -3.5, but with the Rams being a trendy pick throughout the week, bookmakers have moved it down to -3 across the board. LA is getting 56% of the money line bets at +158.

The over/under moved from 56 to 57 very early on. It bumped back down to 56 before settling on a middle ground of 56.5 over the weekend.

The tickets on the total are split almost exactly 50-50, but the over is almost getting 3x more money than the under. (You can check updated line moves and odds here) — Mark Gallant

Trends to know, Part 1

Drew Brees is 6-0 straight up at home in the playoffs under Sean Payton. Only one other head coach has won at least six home playoff games straight up without a loss since 2003: Pete Carroll.

If the spread on Sunday closes under -4 for New Orleans, it will be the lowest spread for Brees at home in the playoffs. — Evan Abrams

The spread tickets are split almost exactly 50-50. If the Rams get some late action, that’d be a good sign for Brees & Co.

Since coming to New Orleans, Brees is 16-7 ATS including 1-0 ATS in the playoffs when getting fewer than 50% of bets at home. — John Ewing

In his career, Jared Goff has faced six different Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks over 12 games: He’s 6-6 straight up, but 3-9 against the spread.

Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff (16).

Since Goff’s first NFL start in 2016, he’s the least profitable quarterback against the spread vs. Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks.

This season, he is 3-2 SU and 0-5 ATS in this spot, failing to cover the spread by 9.8 points per game. — Abrams

The Rams and Saints entered the playoffs ranked No. 2 and 3, respectively, in points per game.

Since arriving in New Orleans, Brees is 10-1 ATS when facing a team averaging at least 30 points per game, covering by an average of 8.9 points per game. Brees’ only ATS loss? Last season on the road against the Rams. — Abrams

Biggest Mismatch

When the Rams have the ball: WR Robert Woods vs. CB P.J. Williams

The Saints have a receiver-friendly funnel defense that ranks third in rush DVOA but 22nd in pass DVOA (per Football Outsiders). Specifically, opposing receiving production has funneled into the slot, where cornerback P.J. Williams has played almost all of his snaps since the Saints acquired Eli Apple in Week 8.

While Apple and Marshon Lattimore have respectively held receivers on the outside to 57.8% and 65.4% catch rates, Williams has been targeted a team-high 84 times and allowed receivers to haul in passes at a 72.6% clip.

His 47.0 PFF coverage grade is the second-worst mark in the league among starting corners.

Since Week 11, Robert Woods has been the primary slot receiver for the Rams in the absence of Cooper Kupp (knee, IR).

Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods (17).

During the regular season, Woods led the Rams with 130 targets, 86 receptions, 1,219 yards receiving and six receiving touchdowns.

When the Rams faced the Saints in Week 9, they targeted Williams’ coverage a team-high 11 times.

The Rams spread the ball around, so Woods is unlikely to have double-digit targets, but when he gets opportunities, he should be able to exploit Williams. — Matthew Freedman

When Saints have the ball: WR Michael Thomas vs. CB Marcus Peters

As a rookie in 2015, cornerback Marcus Peters (then with the Chiefs) led the NFL with eight interceptions. In his second season, he was a first-team All-Pro shutdown savant. Last season, he had a career-high 81.7 Pro Football Focus coverage grade.

But since joining the Rams in the offseason, Peters has been an unmitigated liability. He owns a career-low 57.9 PFF coverage grade and has allowed a 69.5% catch rate this season. His quarterback rating allowed has nearly doubled.

  • 2018: 112.6
  • 2017: 60.9
  • 2016: 65.6
  • 2015: 67.1