There are just three remaining games in the NFL season with the AFC and NFC Championship games to take place this weekend. NJ sports betting players wanting a chance to win while taking in the action on Sunday have a lot of tough decisions to make. Using NFL lines from BetStars NJ, we provide ATS picks on each game along with a teaser you can hope to cash in on as well.
Betting On The NFL For Sunday, Jan. 20
The NFL’s conference championships pit the league’s top four teams against each other as the No. 1 seeds host the No. 2 seeds in each matchup. Kansas City welcomes in New England as 3-point favorites while the Los Angeles rams travel to New Orleans as 3.5-point underdogs, according to BetStars Sportsbook.
These are the four highest scoring teams in the league, as evidenced by the Patriots’ 43-40 win over the Chiefs in Week 6 and the Saints’ 45-35 victory over the Rams in Week 9. Both games are expected to be thrillers, with not only small spreads but totals set in the mid-50s. The fact of the matter is when you get this far down the road, every game is a virtual toss-up. There is a case to be made for each team, all of which are capable of advancing to play for football’s biggest prize. Here on BonusSeeker, we will point out what gives each conference finalist a chance to
NFL Conference Championship Picks By Brian Sausa, Lines Courtesy of BetStars NJ Sportsbook
BetStars’ lines as of Jan 18th at 11pm*
Two Jars of Sauce: Picks Against The Spread (ATS) For Championship Sunday
Los Angeles Rams @ New Orleans Saints (-3.5) - 3:05 pm
HOW THEY GOT HERE: By record, these were the two best teams in the NFL This season at 13-3. The Saints have the home-field advantage in this game because they hold the tiebreaker due to a 45-35 win over Los Angeles in Week 9. After earning a bye, New Orleans overcame an early 14-point deficit against Philadelphia in the Superdome. Just when it looked like they may be the latest victim of Nick Foles’ magic, the Saints got a late turnover to seal a 20-14 win and earn a trip to the NFC title game. The Rams came out of their bye and took care of the Cowboys on the ground, racking up 273 rushing yards and three scores in a 30-22 victory. Los Angeles proved they could play with New Orleans by overcoming a 21-point deficit in the Week 9 loss, but is now forced to bring the show on the road for a second time to reach the Super Bowl.
KEY TO VICTORY FOR RAMS: The Rams are a complete team with strengths on both sides of the ball. Aaron Donald is the best defensive player in the league and Aqib Talib returns at cornerback, but this is going to be about their offense keeping up with New Orleans, who will inevitably score. Todd Gurley led the NFL with 17 rushing scores during the regular season and leads an attack that can wear down a defense and keep the Saints’ offense off the field. Los Angeles’ offensive line dominated for Gurley and recent addition C.J. Anderson, who actually led the team with 135 yards and two scores against Dallas. A repeat performance up front could take a ton of heat off Jared Goff and give the Rams a chance to control the game while continuing to put up points, which the Eagles couldn’t do in the dome.
KEY TO VICTORY FOR SAINTS: The Saints’ defense buckled down when it needed to and didn’t allow another point after falling behind by two touchdowns. It may prove much tougher to stop the aforementioned rushing attack of the Rams, and a few stops on defense would go a long way. Even still, this is about offense for the Saints as well. Drew Brees threw 32 touchdowns and just five interceptions during the regular season and has a myriad of weapons at his disposal. In the Week 9 matchup at the Superdome, Michael Thomas absolutely torched the Rams for 211 receiving yards and Alvin Kamara notched three touchdowns. Even when New Orleans blew a huge lead, the offense marched right back down the field to seal the victory. Although this game may not quite total 80 points, the Saints will be nearly impossible to beat if they impose their will in any way similar to the first meeting.
THE PICK: Although the Rams are more than formidable, the Saints are a different team in the Superdome. The offense is a well-oiled machine helmed by Sean Payton and Drew Brees with all the pieces necessary to light up the scoreboard on any defense. The Rams will play better on defense and attempt to keep Brees & Co. off the field, but the future Hall of Famer isn’t going to let the road team leave the dome with the NFC title. New Orleans wins, 33-26. The Saints cover the BetStars 3.5-point spread.
Pick: New Orleans Saints -3.5
New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs (-3) - 6:40 pm
HOW THEY GOT HERE: The Chiefs are giving the Patriots three points on the BetStars app, so what led us to this point? The Patriots got here by doing what they always do, dominating the AFC East yet again en route to its eighth consecutive conference title game. New England went 8-0 at home and earned another bye as the No. 2 seed. Some, myself included, very wrongly thought they were susceptible to being beaten by a strong Chargers team last week, but the Patriots put up nearly 500 yards of offense as they bludgeoned Los Angeles in a game that wasn’t as close as the final score of 41-28. The Chiefs won the AFC West behind first-year starter Patrick Mahomes and a dynamic offense. After Kansas City’s bye, it jumped out on top of the Colts early and sailed to a rather easy win. The Chiefs’ defense stepped up in a way it hadn’t in a 43-40 loss to the Patriots in Week 6, which was one of the most exciting games of the regular season. However, this time around, the setting switches from Foxboro to Arrowhead, and that may make all the difference.
KEY TO VICTORY FOR PATRIOTS: The Patriots masterfully dominated possession of the game and kept the Chargers off the field for what felt like the entire afternoon. New England totaled 155 yards running the ball and Tom Brady completed 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards, 151 of them to Julian Edelman. Los Angeles had no answers and no adjustments; in fact, they seemed resigned to their fate midway through the first half. The Patriots likely know that a shootout similar to the Week 6 affair in Foxboro isn’t conducive to them winning this game. A strategy of Brady neatly moving down the field a few chunks of yardage at a time is likely the recipe. Simply put, keeping Mahomes the Chiefs’ offense off the field gives them fewer chances to put points on the board. New England’s offensive efficiency led by Brady could control the clock and leave Kansas City feeling helpless without the ball.
KEY TO VICTORY FOR CHIEFS: The Chiefs have one of the league’s most powerful offenses thanks to coach Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, who led the NFL with over 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdowns through the air this season. After throwing for 352 yards and four scores against New England in Week 6, whether or not Mahomes can handle what Bill Belichick throws at him will determine a lot in this game. However, this is surprisingly about the Kansas City defense. The Patriots ran over Los Angeles while Brady methodically cut up the secondary with help from Edelman. After struggling for most of the season, Kansa City allowed just 263 total yards on its home field last week, battling in the trenches and rattling Andrew Luck from the start. The Kansas City defense will determine whether or not New England accomplishes its goal of keeping the Chiefs’ off the field and ineffective.
THE PICK: This game being at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City changes everything. It’s not intended to be disrespectful to New England, but they are 3-5 on the road this year while the Chiefs are 8-1 at home to this point. Despite the seven straight trips to the conference title game, including four trips to the Super Bowl, the Patriots not the same force they used to be. New England’s last three playoff losses have all come away from home in the AFC championship, and this time they are running into a juggernaut in its own building. Chiefs win, 27-23. BetStars NJ has the Chiefs at -3 and that is good enough for us.
Pick: Kansas City Chiefs -3
Exotic Bet Of The Week: 3-Team Teaser (Conference Championship Edition)
*A teaser allows you to alter the original spread by a certain number of points. When using three teams, the player is gifted 10 points in each game to add onto whichever end of the spread they choose.
EXAMPLE: Let’s say Team A is an 11.5-point favorite this week (-11.5), which makes Team B 11.5-point underdogs (+11.5). By using this game in a 3-team teaser, we have 10 points to use against the spread either way we choose. Either Team B can have 10 points added to make them +21.5, or Team A’s spread can be lowered by 10 points, leaving them at -1.5 to cover. With just two games on Sunday, we will be adding in one of the totals for our third team.*
Conference Championship 3-Team Teaser
- Patriots +13 (originally +3)
- Patriots/Chiefs Under 66 (originally over/under 56)
- Saints +6.5 (originally -3.5)
Using the BetStars NJ Sportsbook lines on both the games and the totals, we’ve got our teaser for championship Sunday. Although I do feel the Chiefs come out on top in this game, I can’t see the Patriots being blown out. They deserve their respect and +13 should be a cover, even on the road. I stick with this game to raise the over/under by 10 points to 66, which is an awful lot of points. These teams are capable offensively, but I do anticipate both offenses attempting to eat some clock and keep the other off the field a bit. Even a 34-31 type of affair keeps us under that number. And finally, I can’t see the Saints losing in the dome, and just in case they are getting almost a touchdown.
Best of luck!
About the Author:
Brian Sausa works as a Quality Control Coordinator inside MLB Advanced Media’s multimedia department. A journalism graduate with an extensive sports background, Brian has been employed by multiple progressional leagues in MLB, MiLB (Minor League Baseball), and the NHL. He brings to the table a personable approach as well as extensive written and verbal communication skills that can transfer into a number of fields. You can follow him on Twitter @BrianSausa
*BonusSeeker.com and its affiliates and advertisers are not liable for any losses experienced by gambling online or selecting betting tips recommended by our writers. Betting tips are offered for entertainment purposes, and in no way guarantee a win or increase your chances of winning a bet.