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Rams vs. Saints Week 16: Who Do Oddsmakers Like on TNF as Playoffs Near?

Last Updated: January 11, 2024
With both teams sitting at 7-7 heading in, securing a win on Thursday night could be pivotal for the respective postseason pushes of both teams.

This article originally appeared at FanDuel Research.

We have an NFC clash this Thursday with the New Orleans Saints (7-7) taking on the Los Angeles Rams (7-7) at SoFi Stadium, and as far as playoff implications go, this game is paramount for each side.

Going into Week 16, the Rams are hanging on to the final NFC Wild Card spot by a thread and tout -132 playoff odds, per FanDuel Sportsbook. But a loss on Thursday could send shockwaves through their postseason hopes. Not only would LA cede their currently held tiebreaker over the Saints, but they’d fall below .500 in a conference that currently holds five 7-7 teams.

All is not lost for Los Angeles if they drop this game — their final two matchups come against a weak New York Giants team and a San Francisco 49ers team that may have already clinched home-field advantage in the playoffs come Week 18. But if the Rams walk out of Thursday with a losing record, a playoff spot would be an uphill battle that will likely hinge on the late-season performance of their fellow NFC comrades.

If we put our pencils down on the NFL regular season today, the Saints would be out of luck. But while New Orleans doesn’t own the tiebreaker over the Seattle Seahawks (7-7), Minnesota Vikings (7-7), or Rams, they are still very much in play for a Wild Card spot and could even win the NFC South crown.

The Saints’ NFC South hopes could be realized in a Week 17 matchup against their division rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-7), but a potential win against the Bucs won’t do all the heavy lifting. Derek Carr and company will need to make the nearly 2,000-mile trip to Inglewood worthwhile if they want to see any positive movement on their current +104 playoff odds.

The game kicks off at 8:15 p.m. ET and can be streamed on Prime Video.

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NFL odds via FanDuel Sportsbook. Lines may change after this article is published.

Saints vs. Rams Week 16 Betting Odds: Spread, Total, and Moneyline

  • Spread: Rams -4.5 (-105)
  • Total: 46.5
  • Moneyline: Rams (-196) | Saints (+164)

Rams vs. Saints Week 16 Matchup Analysis

The spread shows us that the home team has the edge in this one, even though the Saints (8th) rank a couple of spots ahead of the Rams (10th) in numberFire’s nERD-based power rankings.

The Saints’ D is the talk of the town. They tout the fifth-best schedule-adjusted defense and have gone two straight games without surrendering a touchdown — but it feels necessary to note these contests came against the Giants and Carolina Panthers. If we look back to Week 13, we can see they allowed the Detroit Lions (fifth-best schedule-adjusted offense) to put 33 points on the board, and the market seems to think the Rams’ ninth-best schedule-adjusted offense could fare similarly, handing LA a 25.5-point implied team total for Thursday.

And I don’t think the market is off here. The Rams are averaging 33.0 points over their last four games, Matthew Stafford hasn’t slowed down in his 15th season and is rocking with the ninth-best mark in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back in the league. Cooper Kupp seems to be all the way back after posting back-to-back games of 100-plus yards and reaching the end zone in both. Plus, Kyren Williams is the league’s leader in rush yards per game, and Puka Nacua is having an incredible rookie bid.

Speaking of Williams, I’d look for him to be the main means of offensive success for the Rams in this game. New Orleans’ 10th-ranked rush defense pales in comparison to their fourth-raked pass defense, and they are forcing opponents to run the ball at the 10th-highest rate (44.47%).

This is not to say we should count out Kupp or Nacua. The Rams are fresh off a pair of games versus the first- and second-ranked pass defenses (Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns), and the aforementioned receivers each netted 100-plus yards in at least one of those games. But Williams saw 21 and 25 carries in that span, so I’d expect a similar workload as LA aims to exploit the Saints’ weak spots.

Los Angeles has a stellar offense that’s really been coming together over the last few weeks, but their 20th-ranked defense would like to have a word. They allowed the Washington Commanders to stay within striking distance on Sunday and now will go up against Derek Carr, who is scary neither on paper nor in the flesh but is coming off what we could reasonably classify as his best game of the season.

Michael Thomas (IR) remains out for the Saints, and though Chris Olave (ankle) comes in with an injury designation, he has since been marked as good to go. Carr will need to find ways to capitalize on those 256.0 passing yards per game (fifth-most) that the Rams have been allowing across their last three — Olave and his team-leading 25.7% target share should come into play. And then there’s Alvin Kamara, who plays a dual role in the run and pass game, leading all NFL running backs with a 20.8% target share.

The Saints’ offense should have ample room to shine on Thursday, but I’d still side with Stafford against a tough D as opposed to Carr against a more vulnerable one.

Rams vs. Saints Best Bets

Over 46.5 (-106)

The Rams’ offense is hot, and so is any offense that is playing the Rams these days.

We can’t get too excited about Carr’s three-touchdown, zero-interception game on Sunday, but he has helped the Saints put at least 24 points in each of their last three games.

These two teams are firing on all cylinders as we approach the end of the season, and they’ll have to fight tooth and nail to secure a win on Thursday.

numberFire is projecting a 50.8 game total for this matchup, and I also think the over is the side to be on.

Kyren Williams Over 20.5 Rush Attempts (-108)

It’s a high bar to meet, but Williams has cleared this prop in three straight games, averaging 24.3 carries over that span. Pair that with the 44.47% rush-play percentage (10th-highest) that New Orleans is forcing, and I don’t see any reason — save for maybe a short week — that Williams’ usage would take a hit.

The Saints have one of the better pass defenses in the league, and Williams is a great weapon to utilize in lieu of a pass-heavy script. Plus, Williams’ work in the receiving game could be more muted than usual, as the Saints allow just 23.3 receiving yards per game to running backs, the third-fewest.

And while there’s no guarantee that the Rams will come out on top, I’m keen on siding with a late-game Los Angeles lead that forces a few gimme carries for Williams once we hit the latter half of the fourth quarter.

Alvin Kamara Any Time Touchdown (+105)

A 50.7% red zone rush share combined with a 17.1% red zone target share in a game that is projected to be high-scoring leads me to a Kamara any time touchdown.

On the season, the Rams are allowing 2.3 touchdowns per game, and over their last three contests, they’ve granted opponents an average of 3.0 visits to the end zone. Kamara has too much opportunity for me to fade him at plus odds, but if you’re high on him and looking for juicier odds, you may want to take advantage of FanDuel Sportsbook’s 25% profit boost to be used on live wagers placed in this Saints-Rams game.

– Annie Nader

Saints vs. Rams Prediction

The numberFire projections model gives the Rams a 65.7% chance at victory against New Orleans.

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