After multiple weeks of dud games on the Thursday Night slate, we finally get a watchable game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. Both 7-7 squads are looking to make a playoff push with a wildcard spot available to both and the NFC South division still in sights for the Saints. The Rams find themselves as 4-point favorites at home on a line that has held pretty firm at 4. We’ve seen some looks at 4.5 from a few markets but it is mostly -4 across the board.
It looks like both of these offenses are finally starting to sync and get healthier. Starting with the Rams, Kyren Williams is a focal point of this offense (despite 2 fumbles against Washington in Week 15) and the Rams are happy to use him as the feature back in both the running and the passing game. Further, Cooper Kupp has spoken about how he finally feels 100% healthy and the results have shown in the past two games.
With a healthy Kupp and Williams, Matt Stafford has weapons he can trust to go along with rookie standout Puka Nacua and recent career revival Demarcus Robinson. Derek Carr and the Saints have gone through growing pains the entire 2023 campaign, reaching a boiling point two weeks ago where Carr was seen yelling at his offensive lineman. Carr played mistake free on Sunday against the Giants, despite being without his top two receivers in Chris Olave and Michael Thomas.
The Saints should have Olave back for Week 16 and it looks like Carr’s explosion is water under the bridge for this Saints team. I’m not suggesting that this is the time to back the Saints for an improbable playoff run, but it does feel like the team is finally rounding into form offensively.
One drawback to the Saints, however, I think will be their defense. This is an older team that has put up good numbers so far in 2023, albeit against some low-quality opponents. The Saints have allowed just 6 points in each of their last two matchups, but these were both home against the Panthers and Giants.
This Saints team has suffered from pretty poor performances against stronger offenses in Jacksonville, Detroit, or even Josh Dobbs led Minnesota. On the road, in a short week, I don’t think this is a spot to expect the same caliber of play from this Saints defense.
I’m falling on the over here at 46, even though it’s been bet up from the opener around 44.5. The over is the right side in my opinion, getting these two offenses going as well as two overrated defenses facing off on a short week.
This is a pivotal game for both teams, and I think this will be conducive to points on Thursday Night football. We’re already seeing some markets creep up to 46.5 and I have a hard time believing that money is going to come in on the other side. We’ll bet the over 46 -110 for a 1% play this Thursday.
I’m not betting the side in this one although there is probably some value on the Saints catching this many points in a playoff type of game. That being said I’m looking to fade the Saints defense and have them rated worse than LA on offense, making the Rams a deserving favorite. 4 is a good line to me.
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