St. Louis Rams (6-6 SU, 9-3 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (9-3 SU, 5-7
ATS), Week 14 NFL, 4:05 p.m. EST, Sunday, December 12, 2010,
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La., TV: FOX
by Badger of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: STL +9.5/NO -9.5
Over/Under Total: 47
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The St. Louis Rams have come a long way this season and have
surprised a lot of folks around the league with their 6-6 record and
the fact they are tied for first in the weak NFC West, but this
Sunday well see just how far theyve really come when they travel South to take on the Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints in the Superdome.
The Rams come in with a two-game win streak after slipping past the Arizona Cardinals last weekend in one of the uglier games of the
season, using a lone Steven Jackson touchdown run to end the kicker showdown between Josh Brown and Jay Feely and put the Rams ahead for
good, 19-6. The Rams still have games remaining against the Seahawks
and 49ers, so the NFC West title chase is far from over, but this
week will be a great measuring stick to see if St. Louis is really a
Meanwhile, the Saints continue to prove to the league that they are
not going to go away easily, winning their fifth game in a row and
second consecutive game in come-from-behind fashion last week in
their, 34-30, victory over Cincinnati. After driving the length of
the field in the closing minute to set up at least a game-tying field
goal, the Bungals jumped offside on a fourth-and-goal with 30 seconds
left to give the Saints the game-winning touchdown instead.
They may not be the high-scoring blowouts the Saints used last season
en route to their first-ever Super Bowl win, but a win is a win, and
New Orleans continues to need them all to try and keep pace with the
Atlanta Falcons in the NFC South race.
The guys in Las Vegas setting the betting odds are not all that
impressed with the Rams, opening the Sunday afternoon game with the
Saints as large 9-point favorites at home in the Superdome. The
betting public doesnt seem to believe in the upstart Rams all that
much either, since most of the early action at the window has cause
the point spread to jump to 9.5 at most sportsbooks, with even a few
as high as 10 or 10.5 (Sportbet) in favor of New Orleans.
The over/under total opened at 47 and has yet to move in either
Part of the reason people might be having a hard time taking the Rams with all the points this week is because of the differing styles of
offense these two teams possess.
Last week the Rams were only able to muster 288 yards of total
offense against the weak Cardinals defense, and even though rookie
quarterback Sam Bradford has played well at times (2,653 yards, 17
TD), hes still a rookie and is still prone to miscues (only 60.6
comp. %, 10 INT) that have the Rams offense stuck in the latter half
of the league at just 314.7 yards per game (25th) and 19.3 points per
game (also 25th).
On the other hand the Saints offense seems to be hitting their stride
right now, averaging 30.4 points per game during the five-game win
streak, which is nearly a full touchdown better than their season
average of 24.9 (8th). Its still the Drew Brees show as the Saints
rely heavily on the arm of Drew Brees to move the ball in the air (290.9 ypg 3rd), but the addition of rookie Christopher Ivory along with
the return of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas in the backfield could
help the Saints get more balance to their offense down the stretch.
One thing both of these teams can play is defense. The Rams unit is a
little more of the bend but dont break style since they allow 333
yards a game (14th), compared to the Saints unit that allows 307.1
(9th). But both of them are very effective once the field gets
shorter in the Red Zone, as the Rams scoring defense is 10th in the
league allowing just 19.8 points per game, while the Saints are 5th
at 18.9 per contest.
The Rams defense is coming off of one of their best games of the
season too, holding the Cardinals to just 224 yards of offense and
six points, mainly because they allowed the Cards to run only 48
snaps on offense with just 14 first downs. Theyll be facing a
different beast in the Saints this week though.
The Saints struggled a little to beat the Rams last year during their
Super Bowl run, winning by just a 28-23 score on the road in St.
Louis as 14-point favorites. In fact, the Rams seem to have the
Saints number because they actually beat the Saints 37-29 back in
2007 in their last visit to the Superdome as 10-point underdogs. You
actually have to go back to the 2000 season to find the last time the
Saints beat the Rams at home, and even then it was by a field goal,
All told the Rams are 3-2 SU against the Saints since 2001, and are
4-1 ATS during the same stretch. Two other betting trends are also
pointing in the Rams favor, with the road team a solid 7-3 ATS in the
last 10 head-to-head meetings and the underdog at 5-2 ATS in the last
The over wager is also looking like a solid play this week, since the
over is 6-1 in their last seven meetings overall and a perfect 3-0 in
the Rams last three trips to the Superdome.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Saints are a different team on the carpet in the
Superdome, and the Rams are still a young team learning to win
period, yet alone on the road in this league. All of that makes me
lean toward the Saints here, but Im scared away by large 9.5-point
spread that seems to keep going up. So Im going to play the trend
and take the over in this game hoping the Rams are forced to score to
play catch up. Take the over of 47.
Don’t forget to check out our college bowl picks! We’ll be posting them as our writers turn them in!