Probably the most interesting of this weekend’s wild-card games takes place Saturday night in Los Angeles, as the Falcons go against the upstart Rams at the Coliseum (8:15 pm ET, NBC). Atlanta may be the defending NFC champs, but it’s LA who’s favored for this contest.
Most of the NFL playoff betting odds opened Los Angeles at -5, with an over/under of right around 49. The Rams quickly got bet up to -6.5, but that spread came back to -5.5, where it sat about 24 hours before kickoff. And the total dipped to 48.
The Falcons could also be found getting upwards of +200 to win this game outright on the moneyline.
NFC Wild-Card Match-Up
Atlanta (10-6 SU, 7-9 ATS) started 3-0 this season, then lost three of its next four games. The Falcons then won three straight, lost to Minnesota, won two more then lost to New Orleans. Atlanta then closed with a 22-10 victory over Carolina to clinch its fifth playoff berth in the last eight seasons.
The Falcons outgained the Panthers 371-248, held a 35-25 advantage in time of possession and won the turnover battle 3-0.
Atlanta is 3-5 both SU and ATS against teams that made the playoffs this season.
After going 4-12 last season Los Angeles (11-5 SU, 9-7 ATS) won the NFC West this season, earning the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2004. The Rams started 3-2, then won six of their next seven games to announce themselves as playoff contenders. LA then lost a crazy game to the Eagles, but won its next two, including that blowout of the Seahawks in Seattle, to clinch the division title. The Rams then rested starters in their finale, a meaningless 34-13 loss to San Francisco.
LA is 3-3 both SU and ATS against playoff teams this season.
These teams met back in Week 14 of last season, a 42-14 Atlanta victory also in LA. But that game played a bit fluke-ish; the Rams muffed the opening kickoff, leading to a Falcons touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, and Atlanta scored twice on defense. Los Angeles is a much better team now than it was that day.
Also, that game played over a total of 44 even though the teams only combined for 598 yards of offense.
Unders are 11-5 in Falcons games this season, which are averaging 42 points.
Overs are 11-5 in Rams games, which are averaging 50.5 points.
Free NFC Wild-Card Picks
The Rams are a hot item, as is reflected by the inflated spread. But Atlanta quietly ranks No. 9 in the league in total defense this season. Plus, the Falcons definitely hold an edge in playoff experience. We’re taking the points with Atlanta here.
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