The Los Angeles Rams play host to the New Orleans Saints in a prime-time game Thursday night (12/21/23) with significant playoff implications. In this article, find the latest betting odds for Thursday Night Football and a full preview of the matchup. In addition, get our Saints vs. Rams best bet which is the Rams -4.
New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams Prediction
The Rams are red hot. Since Matthew Stafford returned to the lineup in Week 11, they’re 5-0 while scoring just under 30 points per game. Over that span, they have a top five offense by EPA, and the trio of Kyren Williams, Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua has been transformative. Sean McVay’s vision for the team on that side of the ball is coming to fruition just in time with the playoffs on the horizon.
The Saints are working on a two-game win streak of their own, but blowout wins over the Panthers and Giants at home aren’t exactly selling points given the state of those respective teams. Derek Carr has been playing strong football, to his credit, but I’m more concerned about this team on the defensive side of the ball with the injuries mounting.
New Orleans already has a bundle of players on the IR – DL Malcolm Roach, ED Payton Turner, CB Marshon Lattimore and S Marcus Maye. Now, on a short week, edges Cameron Jordan and Carl Granderson are listed as questionable. If either or both miss, that will hamper a Saints pass rush that already leaves some to be desired.
The Saints’ run defense is more of a red flag, however, as they rank 27th in EPA against the run since Week 11. That’s a huge issue with Kyren Williams rolling the way he is – he’s averaging just under 125 rushing yards per game since returning in Week 12. With Williams setting the tone on early downs, Stafford has been lethal on play action and carving up defenses on third downs.
Ultimately, the Rams are the healthier team with a quarterback and coach that I’m much more comfortable backing in Stafford and Sean McVay. With the NFC Wild Card race heating up in the final few weeks, let’s bet on the Rams getting the crucial home win here in prime time. I grabbed this number at -3.5 on the open, but I’d play it up to Rams -5.5.
New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams Prediction: Rams -4
New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams Best Odds
The Rams currently sit as 4-point favorites after opening at -3.5 on Sunday. 3 is the most key number in betting NFL spreads, but it’s unlikely we get back there. The over/under is hanging at 44.5 points at the time of writing, but pay attention to any line movement. With the current numbers, the implied final score here has the Rams winning by around 24-20.
New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams Key Injuries
Injuries are crucial to handicapping NFL games at this time of year, and that’s very true in this game as well. The Rams are the much healthier team in this game, although the statuses of tackle Rob Havenstein and guard Joe Noteboom are worth monitoring as both are listed as questionable at the time of writing. The Saints have a handful of key defensive players and wide receiver Michael Thomas on the IR, while right tackle Ryan Ramczyk is crucial to monitor leading up to this game.
New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Rams Key Matchups
In this Thursday Night Football game, there are some fascinating talents to take stock of on either side of the ball. Let’s break down some of the key matchups that will determine the winner of this primetime affair.
Chris Olave vs. Akhello Witherspoon
Derek Carr and Chris Olave haven’t always been on the same page this season, but he’s still very clearly the Saints’ top offensive weapon, especially with Michael Thomas on IR. Olave is a dynamic downfield receiving threat, and the Saints are a much better team when he’s on the field. He missed last week’s game against the Giants.
The Rams brought in veteran Akhello Witherspoon this offseason, and he has become the team’s top cornerback. Witherspoon has allowed just a 43.9% catch rate this season, which is the fourth-lowest of 128 qualified cornerbacks. However, he’ll have his hands full with Olave, who has 72 catches for 918 yards and four scores this season.
THIS CATCH BY CHRIS OLAVE 🤯 pic.twitter.com/Dj1bq0X3gn
— PFF (@PFF) November 12, 2023
Kyren Williams vs. Saints’ Run Defense
Despite missing four games earlier this season, Kyren Williams has 953 rushing yards, which is the fourth-most in the NFL. Williams has been one of the most impressive running backs in the NFL this season, averaging 3.51 yards after contact per attempt, which ranks sixth among 61 qualified running backs per PFF.
The Saints’ run defense has been below average for much of this season, but regression has hit even harder in recent weeks. Malcolm Roach hitting IR is especially problematic for New Orleans as he ranks 12th among 140 qualified interior defensive linemen in PFF’s run defense grades. Expect Williams to pick up chunk yardage on Thursday night.
Kyren Williams is to the #Rams offense what NZT was to Bradley Cooper in Limitless 🤯
27.0 PPG, 5.84 yards per play, 10.4 Offensive DVOA (8th), 6-4 record
14.3 PPG, 4.73 yards per play, -40.8 Offensive DVOA (32nd), 1-3 record pic.twitter.com/MV8YZQ9cGf
— Kyle Lindemann (@LuckIsMadeFF) December 18, 2023