Last Updated: 2019-01-18
The 2019 NFL Conference Championship is just around the corner, and we can’t wait for it to start. Four best teams from the regular season will lock horns on Sunday, January 20, 2018, and first, we’ll see the Los Angeles Rams at the New Orleans Saints at 3:05 PM ET, while the Kansas City Chiefs welcome Tom Brady and the New England Patriots at 6:40 PM ET. Hereof, we bring you all need-to-know betting trends and notes for Conference Championship that will help you make the best wagers.
Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints
The NFC Championship Game will see the Los Angeles Rams (14-3; 8-7-2 ATS) at the New Orleans Saints (14-3; 10-7 ATS) for the second time this season, as the Saints overcame the Rams 45-35 in Week 9. It was the Rams’ first defeat of the season, as the Saints had spectacular first half with 35 points, while teams combined for 970 yards. Jared Goff led the Rams, tossing for 391 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, while Drew Brees had 346 yards and four touchdowns, mostly looking for Michael Thomas who ended the game with 12 catches for 211 yards and a TD.
This time, the Rams will have a couple of players who could make a difference. The experienced cornerback Aqib Talib returned from injury in Week 13, improving the team’s secondary a lot, and he’ll try to slow down Michael Thomas. Also, the RB C.J. Anderson had 123 rushing yards and a couple of TD against the Cowboys last week, signing with the Rams just before Christmas. These two guys could be an X-factor for the Rams along with Aaron Donald (20.5 sacks and 59 tackles this season) who will try to make Drew Brees’ life miserable on Sunday.
On the other side, the Saints’ defense has improved significantly over the last two months, but their offense has been slowing down lately. The Saints barely escaped with a 20-14 win to the Philadelphia Eagles last week, averaging just 19.2 points per contest over their previous six outings. However, the Saints have Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the backfield which is a great weapon, especially when they want to control the clock and keep the opponents’ offense on the sideline.
New Orleans is 6-0 straight up in its last six playoff games at home, and Sean Payton was a head coach on all these six occasions. Likewise, the Saints are 7-1 straight up and 4-4 ATS in their last eight games at Mercedes-Benz Superdome, and are 3-0 straight up and ATS in their previous three home meetings with the Rams with the average winning margin of 18.7 points. The Los Angeles Rams are 8-2 straight up and 5-5 ATS in their last ten games on the road, and are 1-3 straight up and ATS in their previous four playoff games away from home.
The Saints opened as 3-point favorites on this one with the total at 56.5 points and the Rams at +150 money line odds. It should be a really tight battle that could be finished within three points, so betting on the over seems like the best choice here. Even though the playoff games are always tough to hit the over, these two teams possess plenty of attacking potential. Interestingly, the last four NFC championship games were ended in the over.
The Pick: Over 56.5 points (-110)
The Prop: Michael Thomas over 92.5 yards (-110)
New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs
The AFC Championship Game will be a rematch of Week 6 clash at Gillette Stadium when the New England Patriots saw off the Kansas City Chiefs 43-40 in one of the most thrilling games of the regular season. Last week, both these teams showed their strength, as New England smashed the Chargers 41-28, while Kansas City thrashed of the Colts 31-13, so they fully deserved to battle for the AFC title this year. The Chiefs opened as 3-point favorites with the total at 56.0 points and the Patriots at +145 money line odds.
Patrick Mahomes had an excellent playoff debut against the Colts last weekend, throwing for 278 yards and completing 27 of his 41 passes. However, the Chiefs’ ground game scored all four touchdowns including one for Mahomes, and their defense put on a terrific performance to completely stop Andrew Luck and the Colts’ offense. This time, they will need an even better performance against the Patriots’ offense that was terrific against the Chargers last week.
Tom Brady had an excellent game, throwing for 343 yards and a touchdown while completing 34 of his 44 passes. Sony Michel led the Pats with 24 carries for 129 yards and whopping three touchdowns, and the Patriots’ ground game should be their biggest strength against the Chiefs. During the regular season, the Pats were the 5th-best team in the league with 127.3 rushing yards per game, while they racked up 155 rushing yards against the Chargers. The Chiefs’ defense has been allowing 132.1 rushing yards per game during the regular season, but they were the 3rd-best defense at home with just 17.4 points conceded per contest.
Kansas City is 11-2 straight up and 8-5 ATS in its last 13 games at home, but the Chiefs are only 1-6 straight up and ATS in their previous seven playoff games at Arrowhead Stadium. Also, they are 5-1 straight up and 2-4 ATS in their last six home meetings with New England. On the other side, the Patriots are 3-5 straight up and ATS in their last eight games on the road, and are only 1-4 straight up and ATS in their previous five playoff games away from home. On the other hand, the Pats are 7-1 SU and ATS in their last eight outings as underdogs and are 8-4 straight up in the AFC title games during the Bill Belichick era.
It’s tough to wager against Tom Brady in the playoffs, but this could be the end of the road for the Patriots if Patrick Mahomes continue to play as he did it all season long. Considering the Pats’ rushing and probable poor weather at Arrowhead Stadium, we could see a different game than that one in Week 6. However, with the home team 10-0 straight up in the last ten championship games, I’ll take the Chiefs.
The Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -3.0 (-110)
The Prop: Patrick Mahomes over 311.5 passing yards (-110)
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