Take The Points When Betting Saints at Rams Preseason NFL

Doug Upstone

Thursday, August 7, 2014 7:04 PM UTC

Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014 7:04 PM UTC

While this and all the other NFL games this month are exhibitions, coaches are building the best roster possible for the upcoming season. Sportsbooks will be paying close attention for odds adjustments.

As will NFL football handicappers, looking to discover nuisances about each team, trying to gain an edge against the betting odds for themselves and their customers. Here is one such contest with two supposed quality teams that will generate interest. 


Two NFC Clubs with Higher Expectations in 2014
New Orleans is a strong favorite to win the NFC South, while St. Louis is looking for real improvement coming off a 7-9 campaign. 

The Saints are currently the fourth choice to win the NFC according to Bookmaker.eu at +650, while the Rams are much further down the line playing in the best division in football and setting their sights on toppling those ahead of them. 


Saints Look to March Further This Season
New Orleans was 11-5 last season (8-8 ATS) and their big improvement was on defense where they jumped all the way to fourth in yards allowed. Where they were especially effective was in the passing game, with a quality pass rush and much improved secondary. 

Because defensive coordinator Rob Ryan had such a strong secondary, he was able to utilize his exotic blitz packages more effectively and New Orleans ended up being second in pass defense. Adding former Buffalo safety Jairus Byrd, to go along with safety Kenny Vaccaro and cornerback Keenan Lewis only makes this unit stronger. 

Ryan also has a deep and talented defensive front that can get up the field, but to move up the ladder in the NFC, they will have to do better than be 19th against the rush, especially if they were to run into Seattle, San Francisco or Green Bay in the postseason. 

No problems with the offense with Drew Brees at the controls. With Brees entering his 14th season, Sean Payton no doubt wants improve the running game to take some of the pressure off his quarterback. If this can be accomplished with the offensive line, the New Orleans offense becomes absolutely lethal with all the perimeter weapons, starting with tight end Jimmy Graham.

Rams Attempt to be a Factor in the NFC West
The last time St. Louis had a winning season the No.1 song on the Billboard Top 100 was “In da Club” by 50 cent. That was 11 years ago and Jeff Fisher was not brought in to coach the Rams and have the losing continue.

Now in his critical third season, Fisher has to overcome some mighty big NFL odds to become relevant, with the two best teams in the conference in his division and Arizona coming off a very good 10-6 campaign.

But Fisher, like Pete Carroll, has his roots in old school football and after a 1-3 start last year, St. Louis changed gears to a power running game and relied on its front four on defense to raise havoc. Though the Rams did not become an attractive choice for making sports picks, especially when QB Sam Bradford went down, they established a physical tone like both the Seahawks and 49ers and look to build on this style.

Their draft choices also fit what the Rams are trying to establish, being a rough and tumble outfit that can go toe to toe with anyone. St. Louis might not start the season with everything in place, but they will be given strong consideration by those generating NFL picks this upcoming season.

Betting Odds and Expected Quarterback Rotations 
Sportsbooks established St. Louis as a three-point home favorite with a total of 37.5 and the number has held, with the total up slightly to 38. 
There is some question about Brees playing at this juncture since he’s missed practice time this week. The same is true with Sam Bradford, but for different a different reason, coming off surgically-repaired knee. However, here is the anticipated rotation of quarterback play. 
New Orleans: Drew Brees, Luke McCown, Ryan Griffin
St. Louis: Sam Bradford, Shaun Hill, Austin Davis

What to Watch For
New Orleans is preparing for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and his blitzing tendencies just like the ones he used to use with the Saints and he’s employing with St. Louis. “Yeah, we were just watching,” Graham told reporters after Wednesday’s practice. “It was like zero blitz like four times out of nine. So it’s going to be great work for the quarterback, for the O-line, for the tight ends; I mean for everybody across the board. 

The Rams will want to test the New Orleans defensive front with the power running game and mix in play-action passing. 
New Orleans is 8-1 ATS the past couple of August’s and is typically sharp away at certain numbers with a 19-4 ATS record in a road games when the total is between 35.5 and 38 points. I’ll advise to take the points. 

NFL Preseason Winner: New Orleans +3

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