Sports

NFL 2018/19 – It's now down to the last four teams

JustBet offers New Orleans Saints at $2.75 to win Super Bowl

BY MARK ARCHER
Contributor

Friday, January 18, 2019

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THE Divisional Play-offs have been completed and the results appear to have returned normalcy to the NFL. The 'Big 4' entered the weekend as home favourites and they all won outright. Three of them covered the spread while JustBet favourites, the New Orleans Saints, had to dig out of a first quarter 14-0 hole against the Philadelphia Eagles who seemed prime to continue their impressive run. Therefore, there will be no wild card teams playing this weekend but no matter which teams ultimately makes it to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta, the best four teams are in the championship round, which caps off a perfect end to the greatest offensive season in NFL history.

It's the first time in the 53-year Super Bowl era that each of the top four teams in scoring made the conference title games and also the first time the NFL's final four has been comprised of its top four seeds since 2015. Additionally, this marks the sixth-straight season that no club that played on Wild Card Weekend will reach the Conference Championships. The 2012 Baltimore Ravens were the last to do so.

The Indianapolis Colts went into Kansas City to take on the Chiefs last Saturday afternoon and the game was over almost right after the first whistle. The Colts' 48.6 per cent conversion rate on third down this season was the NFL's best, but they were 0-for-9 on third down for the game and went three-and-out on their first four possessions. The Chiefs, on the other hand, scored touchdowns on their first three possessions and virtually cruised through the second half for a 31-13 victory. Kansas City's quarterback (QB) Patrick Mahomes didn't throw for a touchdown but the defence was surprisingly dominant and rendered that fact insignificant.

The Chiefs move on to host their first-ever Conference Championship game this Sunday evening and it will be against the New England Patriots.

The Patriots absolutely destroyed the Los Angeles Chargers by scoring 35 first-half points en route to a comfortable 41-28 victory. The Chargers, who had smothered the running attack of the Baltimore Ravens a week before, had no answer for Patriots' running back (RB) Sony Michel who had 129 yards with 3 touchdowns. Chargers' QB Philip Rivers is now 0-8 head-to-head against Tom Brady, including 0-3 in postseason while Brady extended his record for play-off victories by a quarterback to 28 and the Patriots extended their record by reaching the AFC title game for the eighth consecutive season.

When the Chiefs played the Patriots in Week 6, the result was a 43-40 New England victory, Patrick Mahomes' first professional loss and arguably the most entertaining game of the season. Of course, that game was in Foxborough, where the Patriots are 9-0 this season. The Chiefs are 8-1 at home in the 2018 campaign while the Patriots are 3-5 on the road.

It is highly unlikely that these teams will again combine for 80+ points since the weather is expected to be unforgiving (JustBet 3-point underdogs. Expect a gunfight.

The Dallas Cowboys' defence was #3 against the run in the regular season but, when they visited the Los Angeles Rams last Saturday, they were made to look like #30.

The most rushing yards allowed by Dallas prior to that game was 178 but the Rams amassed 170 in the first half alone (273 for the game). Dallas' RB (and NFL rushing champion) Ezekiel Elliott was restricted to a meagre 47-yards and the daunting defence didn't get close to enough to Rams' QB to disrupt his game. The Rams were quite the opposite and ran over the Cowboys' defensive line to create running lanes plus gave QB Jared Goff enough time to carve up the Dallas secondary.

Rams' head coach, Sean McVay (32), has now become the youngest coach to win a play-off game and is sure to rally his troops when they visit New Orleans to take on the Saints this Sunday.

The Saints, as expected, dispatched the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday, but not without drama. The Eagles intercepted a pass on the first play of the game from Saints' QB Drew Brees (his second interception of the season) and went on to lead 14-0 after scoring on their first two possessions. However, the Saints recovered from the early setback and went on to win 20-14. Eagles QB Nick Foles is now 0-2 against the Saints in postseason and 4-0 against everyone else. More importantly, the Saints are now 6-0 in play-off games at the Superdome with Drew Brees and Sean Payton. Up next are the Rams.

The Saints' 45-35 defeat of the Rams on November 4, 2018 didn't feature a single sack but they did combine for 10 offensive touchdowns and 970 total yards. The Rams, as they did last Sunday, will again try to feature their running game and the Saints defensive front will have their hands full. The winner of this game will be the team whose defence has the better showing but the Saints have the most balanced team this season and their impressive comeback win against the Eagles last Sunday is the very reason why they are 4-point JustBet favourites to win this game and ultimately emerge as champions.

The New Orleans Saints are offered at $2.75 to win the Super Bowl while the Kansas City Chiefs are JustBet second favourites at $3.75 with the New England Patriots next at $4.25 and the Los Angeles Rams at $4.50.

The JustBet suite of betting options on NFL games continues to offer very attractive odds from the very basic WIN or DRAW to the more exotic MARGIN OF VICTORY. Visit one of the over 100 locations and place your bets on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings…… Get in the GAME!

The full schedule of games for the Conference Championships are provided with odds for the main bet options (visit www.justbetja.com for the all available bet options).

SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS 2018-2019

CODE TEAM ODDS
101 NE PATRIOTS 4.25
106 LA RAMS 4.50
108 NO SAINTS 2.75
113 KC CHIEFS 3.75

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS WEEKEND SCHEDULE & ODDS:

DATE TIME HOME TEAM AWAY TEAM MAIN MATCH BETS
MONEY LINE FINAL WITH
1 2 HC 1 2
20/01/19 15:05 NO SAINTS LA RAMS 1.60 2.45 A3.5 1.95 1.90
18:40 KC CHIEFS NE PATRIOTS 1.70 2.25 A2.5 1.83 2.05
*Betting odds, handicaps and limits are subject to change.
*If an NFL Match ends in a tie after overtime is played, then all bets on “Money Line Bets” will be given odds
of 1.00 and all other bets will be settled based on the final score. Odds on NFL Money Line bets include the
outcome after regulation and overtime.


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