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Week 17 Rams vs. Falcons NFL Predictions

NFL Betting Action Rams vs Falcons

The St. Louis Rams (2-13 SU, 5-10 ATS) bring another painful season to an end on Sunday when they travel to the Peach State to take on the Atlanta Falcons (10-5 SU, 9-6 ATS) in NFL pro football sports betting action that is set to get underway at 1 PM ET at the Georgia Dome (artificial turf) in Atlanta.  

BetUS NFL betting odds: ATLANTA -15, Total 44

NOTABLE STAT: St. Louis has averaged 13.7 ppg (31st in NFL)
KEY NFL FOOTBALL BETTING TREND: Rams are 2-6 ATS in their last eight on rorad

In the BetUS NFL football betting odds, the Falcons are listed as a 15-point favorite, with a posted total of 44 points.

Here are some NFL football betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* STL has covered two of its last eight games
* STL has lost its last nine games SU
* STL has played four of its last five games UNDER the total
* STL has covered two of its last eight road games
* STL has lost eight of its last nine road games SU
* STL has played 17 of its last 25 road games UNDER the total
* ATL has won four of its last five games SU
* ATL has played seven of its last ten games UNDER the total
* ATL has covered six of its last eight home games
* ATL has won seven of its last eight home games SU
* ATL has played eight of its last 11 home games OVER the total

Also…

* STL has covered seven of the last ten meetings
* STL has won eight of the last ten meetings SU
* Twelve of the last 16 meetings have gone OVER the total
* ATL has won 10 of the last 14 meetings SU as the home team
* Seven of the last eight meetings in Atlanta have gone OVER the total

The St. Louis Rams should send a bottle of champagne to Rod Marinelli and the Detroit Lions for bailing them out. After all, if it wasn’t for Detroit and its 0-15 record thus far, it is quite possible that the Rams would be looked upon as the season’s biggest disaster.

It looked for a while like St. Louis was in for an improvement under interim coach Jim Haslett. They beat the Washington Redskins and trounced the Dallas Cowboys and were actually still within reach of the lead in the awful NFC West. But nine straight losses have followed, five of them by 19 points or more. Even when they play well, they find a way to lose. Last week they had a 16-3 lead over San Francisco, then in the last four minutes and three seconds, gave up two Shawn Hill touchdown passes – one to Isaac Bruce and the other to Josh Morgan.

The Atlanta story is well-known by now. The Falcons had their own disaster last year involving very bizarre things like Michael Vick’s arrest and conviction, as well as the sudden departure of “coach of the future” Bobby Petrino. This year new coach Mike Smith engineered one of the great turnarounds, bringing this team to a 10-5 record behind a bruising running game led by genuine MVP candidate Michael Turner (1491 yards, 16 TD’s) and a rookie quarterback named Matt Ryan who has done just about everything asked of him (3280 yards, 61.7% completions).

If it wasn’t for great turnarounds that have been stewarded by Tony Sporano in Miami and John Harbaugh in Baltimore, Smith would be easily walking away with the coach of the year award. He still might. His team clinched a playoff spot last week. Now the Falcons have a chance to win the division title and get the second playoff seed in the NFC, if they win here and the Carolina Panthers lose in New Orleans.

All of that having been said, let’s say a few things in the way of perspective. If you’re looking at the fundamentals, you would figure there is no way St. Louis would be in this game at all. It is indeed very hard to make a case for them along those lines, and I won’t insult you by making believe. However, just because Atlanta could use a win here to improve its playoff seed doesn’t mean it is going to pile on. There is joy in clinching that unlikely playoff berth, and a natural letdown may occur. Remember, they don’t have to COVER to win the division, they just have to win and hope for a Carolina loss.

Also, there’s a little encouragement on the Rams’ side, particularly the fact that they have been much more competitive in the last two games when you’d think they were just playing out the string. In fact, three of the last four losses have been by a combined eight points. Running back Steven Jackson exceeded 100 yards last week, and he is fully capable of exploiting Atlanta’s rush defense which gives up 4.8 yards a carry. Marc Bulger has thrown for 662 yards in the last three weeks, and he’s been working behind better protection (sacked only six times in last five games). St. Louis’ offensive numbers have picked up, with three straight games over 300 yards. For this team, that’s saying something.

I don’t know that I see Atlanta being super sharp this week and it’s quite a few points for them to be laying. In a small recommendation, we’ll look for the Rams to go out on a positive note and put forth a strong effort, losing but keeping things well within the 15 points posted in the BetUS Sportsbook NFL pro football betting odds.

Our PLAY: ST. LOUIS +15 *

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