Super Bowl 53’s final four is set. This weekend the Los Angeles Rams will face the New Orleans Saints in the dome while the Kansas City Chiefs host the New England Patriots at Arrowhead. Click here for live NFL playoff odds.
2019 NFL Conference Finals Best Bets
NFC Championship Game
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints -3.5
3:05 PM ET, Sunday, January 20, 2019
Two months ago these teams combined for 80-points when they met at the Superdome. Can the L.A. Rams and New Orleans pull off a repeat offensive performance? The game total of 57-points set by oddsmakers would suggest no. Both quarterbacks have trailed off.
Early in the season, the Rams offense would line up early forcing opposing defenses to line up and play their card. Seeing the deployed defense, head coach Sean McVay can talk Jared Goff through his options before the clock runs out. Opposing defenses adjusted and disguised their defensive deployment until late in the play clock. McVay adjusted with a power rush game with C.J. Anderson. This last Saturday Todd Gurley was added to the mix. If that trend continues expect fewer snaps in the game with an oft-running clock. Moreover, the hostile New Orleans crowd will cause penalties and snap-count issues for the Rams, who went 6-2 Under on the road this season.
What’s wrong with Drew Brees? His numbers stalled on a late-season road trip and haven’t rebounded even with a couple of home games in the Dome. Last week his first pass was intercepted, and he fumbled the ball that was recovered by a teammate. Maybe it was rust after sitting out Week 17 and having a first-round playoff bye. Will head-coach Sean Payton make the safe call and run the ball with backs Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara or will Brees return to MVP-form and decimate the Rams porous secondary? The Saints under at home is 5-4 with the bulk of the UNDERs coming late in the season thanks to a rejuvenated defense.
If those trends hold, the under is the best bet for the NFC Championship game.
AFC Championship Game
New England Patriots at Kansas Chiefs -2.5
6:40 PM ET, Sunday, January 20, 2019
Raise your hand if you would have bet the house on the Chiefs at home favored by less than a field goal during the 2018 regular season. Keep your hand up if you would have wagered on a Brady-led Pats team in any playoff game in recent history if you were getting points.
The Patriots won their 2018 matchup that finished with a combined 83-points, but that was at Gillette Stadium, and it could have gone either way. Now at Arrowhead, where the high temperature is projected to be 16 degrees, the Chiefs are 2.5-point favorites and the over/under is 57.5.
Since 2000 three have been 61 games where the temperature was below 20 degrees. Out of those 61, a mere ELEVEN finished with more than 56-points combined. Andy Reid and Bill Belichick are too experienced to let this game devolve into a shoot out.
I am betting the Chiefs -2.5 and the Under. The Pats are a dismal 4-3 straight-up on conference championship weekend since 2012. And cold weather outdoor games always go under.