Who Will Punch Their Tickets To Super Bowl 53?
After an upset-filled wildcard weekend in which all the underdogs covered the spread, the NFL playoffs returned to the norm in the divisional round as favorites covered in three of four games.
For bettors, things won’t get any easier in the conference title games. The two games have betting lines and NFL Odds that are eerily similar — the spread and over/under is separated by a mere half-point in both. Here’s the exact , per Bovada:
Over/under 57 points: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (-3.5)
Before we give out any NFL picks, it’s important to preface both matchups are rematches from the regular season. Way back in week 6, the Patriots outdueled the Chiefs 43-40. In week 9, points were also abundant in the Saints-Rams meeting, which New Orleans eeked out 45-35. The latter victory earned the Saints a precious tiebreaker in the NFL standings, giving them home-field advantage in this grudge match despite an identical record with the Rams.
Should we expect deja vu on Sunday? Not quite. Points should be harder to come by this time around, at least in the NFC Championship contest. In its past six games, New Orleans has topped 30 points just once. However, it’s defense has picked up the slack, allowing an average of 18.5 points per game in that same span.
Los Angeles has steamrolled through its NFL schedule, but they’re running into a brick wall in this one — quite literally. The Saints’ defensive success comes from its run-stopping front line, which is giving up the second-least rush yards (80.2) per game. For a Rams team that lives and dies off getting Todd Gurley going in the run game, that’s a tough matchup.
New Orleans will surely challenge third-year signal caller Jared Goff and beg him to beat them through the air. That’s a tall order, especially when one of the greatest to ever suit up in Drew Brees is on the other sideline.
Pick: New Orleans (-3.5) and under 57 points
Over/under 57.5 points: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs
For all the doom and gloom that followed them this season, classic New England showed up in the divisional round against the playoffs, stomping the LA Chargers 41-28. Amazingly, this is now the Pats’ eighth straight appearance in the AFC title game. Speaking of history, let’s start there.
Andy Reid, for all his regular-season success, has a well-established reputation for coming up short when it matters most. He’s 1-4 all-time in conference championship games. Hardly better, Reid’s head-to-head record against Bill Belichick is 2-6.
Betting is very much about trust and there’s no tandem more reliable than Tom Brady and Belichick — no matter how watered-down their supporting cast is. Expect Brady to be surgical on Sunday, dissecting a Chiefs defense that gave up the second-most yards over the regular season.
Though, Patrick Mahomes, the runaway MVP choice, should keep things interest (and the point total high). After a 50-touchdown year and playing at home, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Reid, though? Not so much. He’ll make that one costly mistake that will give this game to New England. Again.
Pick: New England (+3) and over 57.5 points
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