Rams-Saints Betting Preview: Is New Orleans Being Undervalued?

Rams-Saints Betting Preview: Is New Orleans Being Undervalued? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Alvin Kamara, Todd Gurley

Betting odds: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints

  • Spread: Rams -2.5
  • Over/Under: 60
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: FOX

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

Betting market: This historic over/under was attracting more bets on the under in the first 48 hours of the week, but the tide has since changed with the over receiving 56% of bets as of writing (see live data here).

There hasn’t been much in terms of sharp action, though, as the total has not moved off of 60 at Pinnacle all week. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Saints are coming off road wins in Baltimore and Minnesota, two of the more difficult buildings for visitors to win in over the past decade — the Ravens have the third-highest home winning percentage and the Vikings the sixth-highest since 2008.

Teams coming home off at least a two-game road trip are covering the spread 48.5% of the time (and winning 56.7% of games) since 2006, losing bettors 38.8 units in a sample size of more than 750 games, per our Bet Labs data.

Drew Brees has made 24 career starts in the Superdome coming off at least two straight road games. He’s 16-8 straight up and 17-7 against the spread (70.8%), covering by 6.7 points per game and profiting bettors 9 units.

Since 2011, Brees and the Saints are 10-1 SU and 11-0 ATS in this spot, winning by 21.8 points per game and covering by 16 points per game. Evan Abrams

Did you know? It’s been three seasons since the NFL had a team start 8-0. (The Bengals, Patriots and Panthers did it in 2015.) That’s the longest stretch without an 8-0 team in the league since the 2003 Kansas City Chiefs started 9-0 five seasons after the 1998 Denver Broncos started 13-0 en route to winning the Super Bowl.

The Rams are also the 19th team since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule in 1978 to start a season 8-0. The previous 18 averaged 13.5 wins during the regular season and 10 ended up making the Super Bowl. Six won it all.

The last team to start 8-0 and win the Super Bowl was the 2009 Saints. Abrams

The Saints have won five consecutive games SU and ATS, making this the fourth time Brees and Sean Payton have had a five-game SU and ATS winning streak.

The first year they accomplished the feat, New Orleans won the franchise’s first (and only) Super Bowl. Abrams

A historic over/under: The Saints’ 33.4 points per game and Rams’ 33.0 points per game are good for second and third in the NFL behind the Chiefs, making this the 10th matchup of teams averaging at least 30 points per game in November or later since 2003.

The highest over/under of the nine previous matchups was 58.

The current over/under in Rams-Saints (60) would be tied for the second-highest since the NFL went to a 16-game regular season in 1978.

In the other two games, a combined 58 and 61 points were scored, right around the original totals. Abrams

Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton (center) and quarterback Drew Brees.

Biggest mismatch: Rams’ pass offense vs. Saints’ pass defense

The Saints have a receiver-friendly funnel defense that ranks second against the run but 29th against the pass.

The recent addition of 2016 first-round cornerback Eli Apple could improve the secondary, but Apple underachieved with the Giants last season (59.0 Pro Football Focus coverage grade) and allowed an 8-79-0 passing line on eight targets and 48 coverage snaps in his first game with the Saints last week.

No. 1 cornerback Marshon Lattimore has yet to regain the form that won him Defensive Rookie of the Year last season, when he allowed only 583 scoreless yards and a 53.8% completion rate on passes into his coverage. This season, quarterbacks have completed 65.7% of their attempts against him for 315 yards and two touchdowns.

Slot man P.J. Williams has been the worst of the bunch. Among all starting corners in the league, he has a bottom-two 30.7 PFF coverage grade. In just 193 coverage snaps, he has allowed a 25-352-5 receiving line on 32 targets.

And as if all of that weren’t bad enough, the Saints rank 30th in pass defense against running backs with a 27.2% DVOA. The team’s two primary coverage linebackers, A.J. Klein and Demario Davis, have given up a combined 84.4% completion rate in their coverage.

Rams wide receivers Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp, plus running back Todd Gurley, should thrive against the Saints pass defense. Matthew Freedman

Which team is healthier? Rams

The week’s healthiest matchup is also one of the best. Saints receivers Michael Thomas (shoulder) and Cameron Meredith (knee) are expected to be fine despite practicing in a limited fashion on Wednesday. The only starter the Saints should be without is first-round defensive end Marcus Davenport (toe).

Meanwhile, the Rams are expected to welcome back Kupp (knee) and might only miss defensive end Trevon Young (back).

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Lattimore didn’t play in the Saints’ matchup against the Rams last season and wasn’t asked to shadow against the Vikings this past Sunday night after the defense added Apple to the starting lineup.

The Rams’ balanced offense could again lead the Saints to stashing Lattimore on the right side of the field. This would lead to Lattimore spending most of his time on Cooks, with Apple seeing plenty of Woods. Kupp has arguably the week’s best matchup of any wide receiver, against Williams — PFF’s No. 108-ranked cornerback among 109 qualified players.

Kupp is only $6,000 on DraftKings and has a 23.1-point projected ceiling in our FantasyLabs Models. Hartitz

Bet to watch: Saints +2.5

Yes, I’m picking against the Rams. This is the week they lose.

The Rams have narrowly beaten the Packers and Seahawks, while the Vikings and Broncos kept things close. Now enter the Saints.

New Orleans is a monster on offense and Los Angeles doesn’t have the personnel to shut down the Saints’ passing-game weapons. The Saints can also run the football. Their offensive line, which is the best the Rams have faced by far, should be able to slow down Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh.

The Saints will light up the scoreboard and the Rams won’t be able to keep pace against an improving Saints defense. Geoff Schwartz

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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