Sunday brings us an incredible set of two games to decide who will meet in the Super Bowl. First, the Saints will host the Rams in a rematch of a 45-35 regular season shootout won by New Orleans. Then the Patriots will head to Kansas City looking to replicate the result of their 43-40 regular-season win over the Chiefs.
We’ll take you through both games to reveal how our experts picked the lines for the conference championships as well as some key prop bets you should consider. Let’s get to it.
Who wins the AFC and NFC Championship Games? And which sides of the spread can you bank on in well over half of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that has beaten 98 percent of experts over the past two years.
Rams at Saints
- Time: Sunday, 3:05 p.m. ET (FOX), stream on fuboTV (Try for free)
- Open: Saints -3, Over/Under 57
- Current: Saints -3, Over/Under 56.5
I have a strong record of success in handicapping these teams, the Rams in particular, boasting a 20-5 spread mark in games involving the Rams over the past two seasons. Last week, I advised SportsLine members that Los Angeles (-7) would have success running the ball against Dallas and that this factor would be the difference in the outcome. The Rams did just that, piling up 273 yards on the ground in their eight-point victory. Which side am I taking in this matchup? Head on over to SportsLine and find out (promo code WHITE gets your first month of access for just $1).
“While we know what these offenses can do, the game will almost certainly be decided by the defenses. And that, coupled with the advantage the Saints will enjoy playing at home in front of a raucous crowd desperate to get back to the Super Bowl, means the Rams will have a lot of work to do.” — Ryan Wilson, who’s while the Rams cover the spread
“The Saints, meanwhile, have one of the best rush defenses in the league. They’ve allowed 3.6 yards per carry, which is tied with Houston for the fewest in the league. They will not have Sheldon Rankins in this game, which hurts, but I believe the Saints defense will focus on limiting Todd Gurley’s impact as much as possible, making Jared Goff beat them. … if the Saints can limit Gurley’s impact, it will limit what the Rams offense can do overall, and that will lead to a lower-scoring affair than expected.” — Tom Fornelli on why the Under in this game is
“The one man who really has the potential to wreck the New Orleans passing game is Aaron Donald, who is the best defender and possibly best player in the entire league. But we’ve seen teams like the Bears figure out a way to at least hold Donald in check, double-teaming him on almost every pass play and getting the ball out as quickly as humanly possible when he’s got single coverage. That’s where Kamara comes in, as a quick release valve for Brees that can also make any defender miss in space and create yards after the catch.” — Jared Dubin on why he’s taking the Saints to cover in for this game
Patriots at Chiefs
- Time: Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET (CBS), stream on CBS All Access
- Open: Chiefs -3, Over/Under 57
- Current: Chiefs -3, Over/Under 56
A renowned data scientist who co-founded Accuscore, SportsLine data engineer Stephen Oh is on an amazing 22-6 heater involving NFL spread picks. He’s also shown an uncanny beat on the Patriots. In his last 18 against the spread picks involving New England, Oh has been correct 13 times. Anyone who has followed him is way up. He’s locked in a pick on the AFC Championship Game, which you can check out by heading over to SportsLine.
“I just think the Patriots are cresting at the right time, which will not be a good thing for the Chiefs. Pats coach Bill Belichick and defensive coordinator Brian Flores will come after Patrick Mahomes. That will force a key turnover or two. I think Tom Brady will get the best of this quarterback battle with a constant flow of short, quick throws. Take the points.” — Pete Prisco, who will be joined by a cavalcade of NFL betting experts on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET for SportsLine’s NFL preview, where the team goes through the NFL slate each week and shares what you have to know before placing your bets. Be sure to join them on Sunday over at CBS Sports HQ, your 24/7 home for news, analysis, Fantasy and gambling insight, and more.
Legendary handicapper Hammerin’ Hank Goldberg enters Conference Championship Sunday scorching hot: He’s lost just two best bets over the past month! That’s 8-2-2 (80 percent) against the spread, if you’re counting. He’s grabbed the Over in this game as part of his bets bets over at SportsLine, saying, “The Chiefs’ defense is not going to show up this week the way it did against the worn-out Colts.” See which other picks he’s putting into his three-leg parlay this week over at SportsLine.
“I think it’ll be a close game. But I’m putting my trust in Mahomes at home instead of Brady on the road. That might seem strange, to be taking a first-year starter over the greatest quarterback of all time, but that’s how good Mahomes has been this entire season. He’s better than Brady at his very moment. And if Mahomes is at his best, the Chiefs should win. That might seem overly simplistic, but that doesn’t make it untrue.” — Sean Wagner-McGough on whyto cover
Props and futures bets
Josh Nagel is a Nevada-based expert who has more than 20 years of experience in the sports wagering industry. He is one of SportsLine’s most successful handicappers across all sports, and he has hit 64 percent of his NFL spread selections over the past two seasons. What’s more, he has a record of 28-14 (67 percent) in prop-bet specials. He likes Tom Brady to go Over his posted total of 291.5 yards for the 10th time in the past 11 playoff games, and he has several more prop bets you should think about playing over at SportsLine.
The Chiefs are +250 to win the Super Bowl, and Will Brinson thinks that’s an excellent value on the team he’s projecting to win their next two games. “There will be questions about Andy Reid’s playoff issues in terms of clock management, and we might see something insane — a second-half onside kick? — from Sean Payton at some point,” Brinson wrote in. “This game will go back and forth, because neither team is out of it with the offense they have.”
Will Brinson: “I’m going to put $25 on Alvin Kamara to lead everybody this weekend in receiving yards. That will pay out at 25-to-1, so I would get $625 if that happens.”
R.J. White: “Yeah, I kind of like that because I think they’re going to dump it off to him a lot, and who knows? He runs through the defense, gets a 50-yard gain, a 45-yard gain, a couple of those –”
Pete Prisco: “That’s a desperate man looking to make a move.”
Brinson: “That’s exactly what it is. I mean, he’s had — and granted, it was against Atlanta and Tampa Bay, both of those in dome games — where he’s had 20 targets and 12 targets, caught 15 passes and nine balls, been over 100 yards. I think he’s obviously going to have to get over the 100-yard threshold to win that bet, but when you look at the people involved here, if you told me at the end of the weekend Alvin Kamara had more receiving yards than Kelce, Hill, Edelman and Thomas, I wouldn’t be stunned. I think there’s a little bit of value there at 25-to-1.”
White: “Pete was talking about Aqib Talib is going to match up with Michael Thomas, he thinks. If you think that’s the case, and they’re going to take Thomas away a little bit, then who’s gonna catch balls for New Orleans? It’s gotta be someone.”
That’s from Friday’s edition of the Pick Six Podcast, hosted by Will Brinson five days a week and featuring nothing but NFL talk, from recapping games to insider buzz to picks and everything else you want to know. Listen to the divisional round picks pod below and subscribe!