Rams vs. Falcons Prediction
Are the L.A. Rams a good bet to cover the spread as a home favorite on Saturday night when they host the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL Wild Card round of the playoffs? Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. ET.
Who Oddsmakers Like: Los Angeles. According to oddsmakers from online sports book Bovada.lv, the Rams are 5.5-point home favorites to beat the Falcons, who opened as 4.5-point underdogs when the playoff lines were first released. As for the total, the number hit the board at 49.5 but has been dropped to 48.
Who the Public Likes: Atlanta. As of Saturday morning, 51% of the betting tickets were on the Falcons to cover the spread and 57% of the money is also on Atlanta.
Who the Trends Like: The over. The favorite is 13-3 against the spread in the last 16 meetings between these two teams but the Falcons have covered in five of their last seven games against the Rams. There are no contradictions with the total, however. The over is 16-5 in the last 21 meetings between these two teams and has cashed in five of the last seven meetings when the Rams are the host.
Who We Like: L.A. The Falcons will have Devonta Freeman (knee), Alex Mack (calf), Julio Jones (ankle, thumb) and Taylor Gabriel (hamstring) for tonight's game. They're all probable. That said, guard Andy Levitre is out for the year with a triceps injury and that's a huge blow to the interior of their offensive line. That spells trouble against a Rams defense that boasts the best interior defensive lineman in the game in Aaron Donald, who could single-handedly ruin Matt Ryan and the Falcons' day.
Donald or no Donald, this isn't the same Atlanta offense as it was a year ago. Ryan has 14 completions and three touchdowns of at least 30 yards this season. That's a stark contrast to his 29 completions and 11 touchdowns of at least 30 yards last season. This offense routinely gets bogged down in the red zone and had to settle for five Matt Bryant field goals a week ago when they beat the Panthers in Week 17.
Meanwhile, the Rams led the NFL in scoring this season, increasing their scoring by 15.9 points per game from 2016. Todd Gurley also led the NFL with 2,093 scrimmage yards this season and was second among running backs with 788 receiving yards this year. The Falcons allowed the most receptions to running backs this season and they could have a difficult time containing Gurley for four quarters.
NFL WILD CARD WEEKEND PREDICTIONS: LOS ANGELES RAMS -5.5