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Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints (13-3) vs. Los Angeles Rams (13-3)

NFL Football: Sunday, January 20th @ 3:05pm ET (Mercedes-Benz Superdome)

Moneyline: Saints -170, Rams +170

FREE NFL Football Pick: New Orleans Saints vs.
Los Angeles Rams

It’s Conference Championship time! While there were a few NFC teams throughout the season who looked like they might challenge for the throne (the Panthers early, the Cowboys and Eagles late), this has always been about the two clear-cut best teams: the Saints and the Rams.

The New Orleans Saints, led by 40-year old (!!!) Drew Brees, had an absolutely monster year. After dropping the first game of the season, New Orleans rattled off 10 straight wins – including over the previously undefeated Rams – and ended the year as the #1 seed in the NFC. Behind a possible MVP campaign by Drew Brees, a record-setting season from young receiver Michael Thomas, an outstanding running game thanks to the two-headed monster of Kamara and Ingram, and a second-half defense as stout as any in the league, the Saints have been favorites all year long. What can I say about this team and its stars that hasn’t been said already? Brees threw for 32 TDs against only 5 picks, Michael Thomas’ 125 catches were good for 5th all-time, and Kamara and Ingram combined for over 1,500 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. Their less-talked about but nearly-as-dominant defense (particularly against the run, which ranks 2nd in the NFL) has also been a key to their success, but their star defensive tackle, Sheldon Rankins, tore his achilles last week against the Eagles, which is a huge blow for the Saints as they try to stop the Rams’ dynamic running game.

The Los Angeles Rams, meanwhile, are a juggernaut basically on par with the Saints. Goff and Gurley both slowed down a bit in the second half, but garnered legitimate MVP buzz as the Rams steamrolled the rest of the league through the first three quarters of the season. And in one of the crazier silver-linings stories in recent memory, Gurley’s minor knee injury through the last couple regular season games forced the Rams to pick up CJ Anderson off the NFL scrap heap, and all he’s done is go for 100+ yards in 3 straight games with 4 rushing touchdowns. With Gurley fully healthy now, the Rams have their own two-headed rushing monster, which should have a field day against the Sheldon Rankins-less Saints defense. Add in Goff’s ability to throw deep – and star receivers Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks to outrun anyone in their path for long receptions – and you’ve got a recipe for some serious fireworks from LA’s side of the ball this Sunday.

FREE NFL Football Pick: Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints

OK, enough of the nitty-gritty already! You’re all here for one reason, and that’s for some betting advice. Specifically, I’m here to guide you on whether you should pick either of these teams on the moneyline. As you’d expect in a conference championship game between a 1 and 2 seed who ended the season with the same 13-3 record, the lines are very close. The Saints are 3.5 point favorites at home, and the moneyline is the same for both teams (-170 for New Orleans; +170 for Los Angeles). The last time these teams played, the Saints beat the 8-0 Rams 45-35 in one of the three best games of the year (shocker, the other 2 were between the Pats and Chiefs, now playing for the AFC championship, and the Rams and Chiefs, who could face off in the Super Bowl). I personally think the Saints, who always play out of their minds at home in the Superdome and have one of the greatest QBs of all time leading the charge will beat the young and exciting Rams. However, from a betting standpoint it does feel like a toss-up whether a line of -170 is enticing enough given the likelihood of it being a close and high-scoring affair. The choice is yours…

The Pick: Saints -170 (and you should consider parlaying it with the Over of 57 for better value)