NFL playoffs betting: Gurley, Anderson, bye week enough for emphatic L.A. Rams win

Friday, 11 January 2019 11:37 EST

So Bill Simmons tells us on a recent podcast that in round 2 of the NFL playoffs, every underdog is drawing more than half the wagered cash. Like NFLbets posted yesterday: The oddsmakers are just begging u to take the ’dogs this week, and NFL bettors are responding like Pavlov’s dogs – except that Pavlov’s dogs didn’t get badly burned on wild card weekend.

Though some bettors are superstitious enough to blindly go against a tide of betting, the lack of logic is a real turnoff for NFLbets. We’ll probably be covering two underdogs in these playoffs, but

Dallas Cowboys +7 at Los Angeles Rams, over/under 47½ points

is not one of them. That’s right, NFLbets is saying to take the L.A. Rams -7 vs Dallas and we’ll probably get the push.

Forget the presence of tens of thousands of Cowboys fans in the Coliseum, forget how good Dak Prescott performed last week, forget the Dallas pass rush (not permanently, because we’ll get back to that), even forget the coaching disparity on the sideline of this game. The key to Cowboys-Rams is simple: Despite Dallas boasting the no. 1 defense against the run, they’re an incredible 28th-“best” against play action. The Rams run more play action than any team in the league, and Jared Goff has taken an NFL-leading 70-plus percent of snaps under center.

By week 14 of the regular season, teams could adjust to the Rams’ offensive game plan. Without WR Cooper Kupp at his disposal, the long bomb has disappeared from Goff’s arsenal. In week 14 at Chicago and 15 against Philadelphia, the defenses lined up as though against the Jeff Fisher-coached Rams, i.e. stacking the box with eight defenders. Dinged up and/or deemed useless by Sean McVey, Gurley went for a mere 76 yards on 23 carries in the two games. Against the Eagles, Gurley caught 10 passes for 76 yards (weird that) but took enough punishment so as to be benched for the season’s remainder.

But Goff, McVay and the Rams got help in a hurry from a surprising source: Two-time castoff C.J. Anderson came in off the street and cruised to 299 yards on 43 carries (a 6.95 ypc average!) and two TDs. Now, NFLbets isn’t about to lose our s*#&#& over a couple games against the Arizona and San Francisco defenses, but those nice in-game reps plus a bye week will have gotten Anderson prepped to bring a two-tiered attack out of the backfield that L.A. has needed all season.

An ideal Rams game plan for the divisional game would unlock an even scarier Todd Gurley should Anderson get going. The Seahawks last week attempted to wear down the Dallas front seven by consisting hitting the middle with halfbacks; the Rams with Anderson and Gurley appear far more prepared physically for that scheme than did the Seattle collective of Chris Carson, Rashard Penny and Mike Davis. With complimentary backs in the game, Goff will be able to get rid of the ball more quickly than Dallas’s hyperquick pass rush is upon him – and that pass rush will break the Rams’ middling-at-best OL.

And from the Rams backer’s perspective, the best aspect of all this is that Coach McVay is a helluva lot smarter than NFLbets, so he’ll certainly trot out one nice game plan (not to mention Todd Gurley with nearly four full weeks’ rest) for that daunted Cowboys defense to deal with. We believe in McVay. Take the Rams.

NFLbets will further double down on this narrative and advise NFL bettors to Take the 2nd Half at +100 in the “Highest Scoring Half” prop. We’re figuring both offenses come out to wear the other down, with the Cowboys working Ezekiel Elliott early in hopes of getting him past that awesome front four and onto the second level where the Rams are well more vulnerable. By the third and fourth quarters, we expect a lot more passing and longer runs.

This one could be really fun for in-game betting, too…

NFLbets Best Bets record in 2018-19: 36-29-2.