New Orleans Saints vs Los Angeles Rams (9/15/19): NFL Betting Picks, Lines

This Week’s Results: 3-1
All Time Results: 11-5, +5.25 Units

LA Rams -2 (-110) vs. New Orleans Saints – .9 Units
LA Rams -5 (+145) vs. New Orleans Saints – .1 Units

What is the value of revenge in professional sports, and more specifically in the NFL? If history is any indication, not much.

The Saints suffered one of the most gut-wrenching losses in recent NFL memory against the Rams last year in the NFC championship game after a brutal missed call kept LA alive. The loss is perhaps only eclipsed in tragedy by the Saints 2017 playoff exit, dubbed the Minneapolis Miracle.

los angeles ramsNew Orleans’ players have made no secret this week stating that they want to avenge that loss from last year. So they will definitely be focused on this game. But wouldn’t such a big match-up against a fellow NFC contender inspire maximum effort and focus anyway? As we learned from Spinal Tap, the Amp doesn’t go past 11.

Teams playing against a team in the first four weeks of the season after losing to that team in the previous year’s playoffs have gone just 11-17-1 ATS since 1995. If anything, I suspect that the extra motivation facing the team that beat you is actually a slight distraction.

Long thought to be a dome team that shrinks on outdoor fields, New Orleans has actually has been the best road team over the past three years in the NFL, posting an ATS record of 20-7 over their last 27 road games. Similarly, they’ve been strong in the underdog role, going 18-8-1 ATS as an underdog since 2015.

Regardless, I’m going with the Rams. Despite their somewhat miraculous Week 1 win at home over the Texans, the Saints still look like a team that will take a while to reach their midseason form. New Orleans is now 2-9 SU & 1-10 ATS in the first two weeks of the season since 2014.

Drew Brees right now only has two wide receiver options that I trust to get open, Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara. While other receivers may improve their timing and coordination with Brees as the season progresses, right now I like the chances of Wade Phillips & Co. to take the Saints main threats largely out of the game.

The Saints lost to this team 26-20 in the Los Angeles Collesium in 2017. Since then Jared Goff has improved drastically and Drew Brees may have taken a slight step back.

Moreover, Goff has proven to be a different – a much better – quarterback when at home and when he has his favorite weapon, Cooper Kupp. Last season, Goff had 22 TDs to only 3 interceptions when playing in LA. Before Kupp went down in week 6 last year, Goff had perhaps the best statistical profile of any QB in the NFL with a passer rating north of 120 and an excellent 10.4 yards per attempt.  Like most QBs that didn’t play in the preseason, Goff looked rusty in week 1.  I expect him to be much better Sunday.

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Longest Touchdown Under 43.5 Yards (-115) – .46 Units

new orleans saintsThe only other game to have a “longest touchdown” prop this high in Week 2 is the Chiefs/Raiders game. Although that game has a similarily high Total, I think the chance of a Sammy Watkins-Esq 50+ yard scamper is significantly lower in this contest.

Extremely wary of their oppositions firepower, these teams will want to play bend but don’t break defense. The more snaps they force the opponent to take, the better the chance of forcing them into a game-altering mistake. Each team’s Safeties will attempt to keep everything in front of them.

We saw this in the last match-up. The longest touchdown in the NFC Championship Game last year was only 5 yards.

Drew Brees hasn’t had a 30+ touchdown pass since Week 13 of last season. He hasn’t had a 40+ yard touchdown pass since Week 9 of last season. The longest-running TD during that span for the Saints was Latavius Murray’s 30-yarder last week against the Texans.

All of last season the Saints scored just three touchdowns of 44 or more yards.

The Rams haven’t scored a 40-yard touchdown since Week 11 of last year when Jarred Goff threw a TD of exactly 40 yards in their insane 54-51 win over the Chiefs. Goff last threw a touchdown pass of >44 yards in Week 4 of last season. Including a Week 1 defense touchdown, the Rams had just 3 TDs of >44 yards all of last season.

Combined these teams have played 24 consecutive games without a touchdown of greater than 44 yards. The prospect of two of last year’s best offenses clashing promises fireworks – however, the data indicates that we are likely NOT to see a long touchdown play in this matchup.

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Born in Chicago, born for Las Vegas, Mackenzie is a graduate of Yale University with a BA in English & Creative Writting. Mackenzie runs AlternativeStats.blog, which seeks to by-pass the minutiae of commonly cited sports statistics and expose the heart of what drives athletic success. After several successful years investing in Las Vegas real estate, Mackenzie is excited to transition in 2019 into betting on sports full time, as well as documenting his thought process as he further learns the craft.

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