There are three games left in the NFL season, which should make any die-hard football fan sad. Championship Sunday is a fantastic display, however, and this year’s slate includes the four best teams in the league by any objective measure. That makes for a lot of intrigue and, in this space, we will fulfill our task of seeking value in the point spread as we have all season long.
Last week wasn’t perfect, thanks in no small part to the lack of resistance from the Chargers defense. Regardless, we press on to the finish line and, before the picks for this week arrive, let’s glance at the season-long progress.
- Divisional Round: 2-3
- 2018 Season: 49-41-4
Come get these winners.
Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints UNDER 57 points
There are a couple encouraging trends to the under here, from the way the Saints have operated their offense down the stretch to the way the Rams have struggled offensively away from home. The game is taking place within a controlled environment in New Orleans and that, in short, is frightening for the under. With that said, everyone will be on the over in this game and there is value (at the current number, at least) in the pursuit of field goals and punts. It won’t be fun to root for but, all things considered, I think it’s the side.
Los Angeles Rams (+3.5) over New Orleans Saints
The hook is now widely available, making this a fairly easy decision for me. Is it a “best bet” kind of angle? No. Still, the Rams are fully capable of hanging around here and, on a neutral field, I’d take Los Angeles. Don’t get me wrong, the Saints should be favored here and they would be my straight-up pick if forced to give one. The line value does matter, however, and Los Angeles could even backdoor for us in the closing seconds.
Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots UNDER 27.5 points in the first half
If you were able to snatch the opening total in this game, congratulations to you. Now that the value from that is gone, I lean toward the first half over the full game, even if I would definitely play the under in the full game if forced to choose. These are two impressive offenses but, in the recent past, the Chiefs have been a bit better defensively and the Patriots have been grinding in the ground game. New England should be able (and willing) to run the ball in the first half, taking time off the clock, and I’m expected a “feeling out” period in the early going.
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) over New England Patriots
We elected to fade the Patriots last week and … that was the wrong decision. In fact, it was a vintage performance from Brady, Belichick and company, completely out-scheming an opponent on the way to a dominant postseason win. Naturally, we’ll go back to the well with New England’s opponent. This time, though, the Chiefs are at home and, in my view, the better team. Yes, it’s terrifying to bet against the Patriots in this spot and I wouldn’t blame you for sitting this one out entirely. With that said, remove the mystique and you have a dynamic offense in Kansas City playing in a great environment at home. I think you just have to take it at three points or less.