Jason’s 2018-19 NFL picks record: 10-14 ATS, 0-2 ML (minus-2.90 units), 7-9 Totals
We’ve been shouting it to the rooftops for years now: Underdogs have all the value during the NFL playoffs. Well, maybe not all the value. There are times when the favorite is undervalued in the betting market – and that might be the case for both of this year’s conference championship games. It’s pretty close, though, judging by the NFL odds at press time.
Nevertheless, we persist. Let’s put those odds aside for a moment and take a look at some other reasons why the Los Angeles Rams might cash in as the underdogs for Sunday’s road game (3:05 p.m. ET, Fox) against the New Orleans Saints. If you’re having trouble choosing between the two sides, perhaps this will nudge you towards putting the Rams in your NFL picks this week.
The Big Breesy
For those of you who are just joining us, the general rationale behind picking the underdog is simple: Casual bettors tend to overvalue the favorites. This dynamic gets more pronounced as you get deeper into the playoffs; more and more of those “recreational’ bettors come into the marketplace, and the favorites usually have a higher profile with each passing round.
Indeed, this isn’t the Detroit Lions (-7) taking on the New York Jets in Week 1. The Saints have been public darlings since the Sean Payton-Drew Brees regime began in 2006 – with a big boost from their Super Bowl victory at the end of the 2009 campaign. Brees is one of the most popular players in the league, making the Pro Bowl 12 times and appearing in countless advertisements. And according to the internet, no team has drawn more action than the Saints over the past 30 days. It’s not even close between the Saints and the second-place Kansas City Chiefs.
There’s another small drop-off in betting volume between the Chiefs and the Rams. While Los Angeles is the second-largest television market (behind New York) in the United States, people haven’t exactly welcomed the Rams with open arms, at least not yet. They were the St. Louis Rams just three short years ago. Many of the fans who do show up at the Coliseum are ex-pats cheering for the other side. Where there’s a lack of interest, there’s a lack of attention to how valuable the Rams actually are.
This West Coast team is also just two years removed from going 4-12 in their L.A. debut. Their last winning season before the Sean McVay-Jared Goff Era was way, way back in 2003, when Mike Martz was still the head coach. Odds aside, this is a classic “fade the public’ spot with the Rams. And according to the expanded consensus reports, the sharps agree, with 51.05 percent of early bettors and 57.70 percent of the amount wagered landing on Los Angeles. Will you be joining them?