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NFL Bets of 2018: Conference Championship

We regret to inform our loyal viewers that Sports Betting Nicolas Cage has been missing since Wild Card Weekend. In any event, the show must go on, so here are our NFL Conference Championship bets.

What happened to Sports Betting Nicolas Cage? We honestly wish we knew. We thought Mr. Cage has a good gig here. Maybe he’s on the hunt for blood since he went 1-3 during the Wild Card weekend.

Even with the 1-3 record, the legend himself still owned a 23-14 on the season. Thus, we can’t rule out the possibility that a pagan group whose main economy is honey production captured Mr. Cage. All of StakeHaul is hoping for a safe return of our betting guru.

In any event, we still made a couple bets last weekend. We ended up going 2-0, bringing the cumulative record up to 25-14 on the season.

The home team is always on the right. A minus spread shows that the home team is the favorite, while a + spread shows the home team is the underdog. Remember, my picks always include the spread.

NFC: Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints (-3, 56.5) 
Pick: Under

Call us crazy, but we don’t see this game being a shootout like their regular season clash. Since then, both teams placed an emphasis on running the ball and defense. The Saints defense has allowed opposing offenses to average only 16.9 points per game since Week 7. Also, in that span, Sean Payton’s defense has collected 28 sacks. 

On the other side, the Rams have #1 CB Aqib Talib back and ready to face off against Michael Thomas. Thomas decimated the Rams in Week 9, catching 12 of 15 targets for 211 yards and one score. However, Talib did not play in that game. In the eight games without Talib, the Rams passing defense allowed 300 yards, 2.88 touchdowns, and 0.75 interceptions per game. In the nine games with Talib, they’ve allowed 184-of-286 passing (64.3 percent) with an average of 215.8 yards, 0.89 touchdowns, and 1.33 interceptions. 

Finally, with the emergence of C.J. Anderson as a second rushing option for L.A., both teams will pound the ball early and often. Despite the loss of Sheldon Rankins on the Saints D-line, we think this game has all the elements of a slow, grind-it-out game that won’t look anything like their first matchup.

AFC: New England Patriots at Kansas City Chiefs (-3, 56.5)
Pick: Under

Yes, we’ve gone full Cage crazy in thinking both games will be relatively low-scoring compared to their regular season matchups. Or have we?

The temperature for tonight’s game will be in the high teens. We think this is the single greatest element for the outcome of the game. According to Pro Football Reference, the average number of turnovers in a game is about 3.5 in all games above freezing temperature. However, for all games under 20 degrees, that number jumps up to over five a game. Also, you should a 5-10% dip in total yardage for cold weather games.

Now here’s where you may say that New England plays in cold weather so they shouldn’t be affected. However, the Patriots have already placed an emphasis on running the ball, as evident by Sony Michel’s 100 yard game last weekend. We don’t see this as a game where New England will have to air it out since we believe it will be tight all the way.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will be playing in his coldest game ever today. The coldest game he started this season was a 23-20 overtime win over the Ravens in Kansas City on Dec. 9, when the temperature was 27 degrees (he completed 35 of 53 passes for 377 yards, with two touchdowns and an interception). We expect a similar type of game scoring wise, hence our Under pick.

Best of luck! And pray for the safety of Sports Betting Nicolas Cage.

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