Pundits and fans have had Nov. 19 circled on the calendar for weeks.
Back when both the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams still featured undefeated records.
Holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving have taken the backseat behind this Monday Night Football showdown in Week 11. Two of the best teams square off. Two high-power offenses in a game boasting the highest over/under total since at least 1986.
Initially, such a premiere game was scheduled to be played on a global stage, with Estadio Azteca in Mexico City playing host. Poor field conditions, however, led to the NFL relocating the game to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Rams’ home field.
The change of scenery resulted in sportsbooks taking down this game of two 9-1 teams on Tuesday afternoon, though they reposted lines shortly thereafter.
With such a marquee matchup, Chiefs-Rams takes center stage for sports betting in New Jersey.
And SugarHouse sportsbook supplies the numbers. (All point spreads and moneylines are as of Tuesday.)
Add ’em to your NJ sports betting slip
The line and the spread for Rams vs Chiefs
When the game was first posted, when Mexico City still intended to host, Los Angeles stood as a 2.5-point favorite. Other than its standing as an underdog against the New Orleans Saints two weeks ago (the Rams’ lone loss), that line was by far the slimmest this season for LA.
Following relocation to their home field, naturally, the Rams’ advantage moved to 3.5 points at SugarHouse.
The point spread stands to reason. The Rams feature the league’s top offense in terms of yardage gained. They boast the No. 1 running back, Todd Gurley II, and the No. 2 quarterback, Jared Goff.
That attack, bolstered by a receiving corp featuring Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks, becomes more dangerous against a Chiefs defense that has allowed the fourth-most yards per game in the NFL.
Then again, the Rams lost WR Cooper Kupp to a torn ACL. They have struggled of late, though, to its credit, LA has still come away victorious more often than not.
Against Kansas City, though, going shot-for-shot is not an option. The Chiefs sit as the highest-scoring team in the league, featuring the NFL’s leading QB, Patrick Mahomes, and a top-five running back in Kareem Hunt.
That narrow 3.5-point gap suggests a realistic outright win for the Chiefs, which pays out +128.
Start with the sky-high over/under.
At 63 points, if it holds, this game will become the highest total in 32 years, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The previous high: 62, set in 2009, between the San Francisco 49ers and … the Rams. The total ended up at 58 points.
Kansas City and Los Angeles rank second and third in NFL scoring, respectively. So that over/under seems reasonable.
While the main over/under opened at -110 on either side, SugarHouse offers alternate over/under totals that seem appealing. For example, taking the over begins paying out positively at over-65; on the flip side, beginning at under 61 holds positive payouts.
As for the point spread, the main line stands at -3.5 for the Rams, paying -107 for the home team to cover and -114 for KC to do so. The payoffs lie within the alternate lines.
Consider taking the Chiefs to win outright to start. After all, the positive payouts begin with alternate lines beginning at +1.5 points. They only get better with lines favoring the Chiefs.
Points per game
Los Angeles, over the past seven weeks, have five wins decided by seven points or less. Four of those featured margins of victory of four or fewer points. Three games had wins of three points or less.
Barring an unforeseen Rams onslaught, the major payday of +460 for a 17-point win by the Rams seems illogical.
Kansas City, meanwhile, has averaged 34.5 points per game while allowing just 17 points since its three-point loss at New England in Week 6. Since their five-point victory at Pittsburgh in their second game, the Chiefs have won by an average margin of 18 points against teams not located in Denver.
A more-realistic wager seems to sit with Kansas City at -3.5 points, paying +195. A runaway, though, with KC winning by 10 points or more pays +420.
Props, props and more props
Perhaps this Monday Night Football showdown lives up to the hype. Perhaps it turns into the Game of the Century. Perhaps the Chiefs and Rams, neither of whom have needed an overtime period this season, go blow-for-blow.
Confident in a tie after regulation? Banking on the game to go to OT pays +1,050.
As for other props that catch the eye:
- Points by away team over/under 29.5 (-125/-108): On the road this season, the Chiefs have averaged a whopping 36.8 points per game. Granted, KC takes on a Rams defense that seemed impenetrable early this season. Since, though, LA has been picked apart. KC on the over.
- First scoring play — Home TD (+148), home FG (+440), home safety (+5500), away TD (+190), away FG (+510), away safety (+5500): In eight of its 10 games this season, Kansas City has been the first team to score. Same for four of its five road games. Conversely, overall, the Rams have scored first just four times this season, split between road and home games. The Chiefs will score first, with a TD, which accounts for seven of their opening scores.
- Score first and win — home (+155), away (+265): As noted, LA has not been the strike-first team this season. Obviously with a 9-1 record, though, the Rams have recovered. In five of six games in which LA fell behind early, it clawed back to win. Only once have the Chiefs scored first and lost this year, their only loss of the season. With a 7-1 record when scoring first, KC seems like a reasonable bet.
Super Bowl predictions and MVP futures
With the NFL season past the midway point, it’s time to check out the front-runners for Super Bowl favorites, as well as for each conference’s champion and league MVP:
- Super Bowl: LA Rams +350, New Orleans +400, Kansas City +500, New England +600, Pittsburgh +1,000.
- AFC Championship: Kansas City +185, New England +230, Pittsburgh +450, LA Chargers +550.
- NFC Championship: LA Rams +175, New Orleans +200, Minnesota +700, Chicago +1000.
- MVP: Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes +110, New Orleans QB Drew Brees +200, LA Rams RB Todd Gurley II +550, LA Rams QB Jared Goff +1800.
Of note, of the 15 favorites in the MVP race, 13 are QBs, including six of the top seven.
Where else to bet online in New Jersey
New Jersey features an array of mobile sports betting options.
Eight mobile sportsbooks complement the nine retail operations in the Garden State:
- DraftKings Sportsbook
- PlayMGM Sport
- SugarHouse Sportsbook
- FanDuel Sportsbook
- William Hill NJ (now Caesars Sportsbook NJ)
- Caesars Sportsbook
- 888 Sportsbook
- BetStars NJ (no browser)
The list of NJ sportsbook apps includes a deep variety of traditional moneylines, parlays, in-game betting, and futures.
Image credit: Barbara Kalbfleisch / Shutterstock.com