Los Angeles Rams NFL Betting Preview: Mighty Have Fallen

Posted on: September 12, 2020, 10:57h. 

Last updated on: September 12, 2020, 11:54h.

The Los Angeles Rams are moving into $5 billion SoFi Stadium. Too bad for the team that many of its top players didn’t come along for the ride.

Rams QB Jared Goff and coach Sean McVay
Coach Sean McVay and quarterback Jared Goff went to the Super Bowl in 2018, but missed the playoffs in 2019. (Image: Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports)

The Rams are the ultimate example of what happens one season might not mean a darned thing the next. In 2018, the Rams went 13-3 and reached the Super Bowl. Their offense under hot-shot young coach Sean McVay was a juggernaut, with 32.9 points per game.

Maybe it was the hangover of losing to New England in the Super Bowl. Maybe it was defenses figuring out McVay’s scheme. Maybe it was injuries. Whatever the reason, the Rams plunged to 9-7 last season. Their offense scored 133 fewer points, falling to 24.6 per game – more than a touchdown difference.

On the eve of last season, the Rams were +1,100 to win the Super Bowl at FanDuel. On the eve of this season, the Rams are +4,000. They’ve gone from the fourth-shortest odds last year to win the Super Bowl to the longest in the four-team NFC West at some sportsbooks this season.

Their championship odds range from 3,000 at William Hill to +5,000 at BetMGM and Westgate SuperBook.

Over/Under: 8.5 Wins

While it’s easy to point the finger at the decline of quarterback Jared Goff, attrition has hit the roster hard. Todd Gurley, for a brief time, was arguably the NFL’s best all-around back. Now, with the Rams dumping the banged-up Gurley and his bloated salary, he’ll run for the Falcons. Defensively, four stalwarts from last year are gone: edge rushers Dante Fowler (11.5 sacks) and Clay Matthews (8.0 sacks), linebacker Cory Littleton (134 tackles, two interceptions), and All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters.

“It’s definitely a combination of factors in the Rams’ low championship odds,” an analyst from William Hill told Casino.org. “Overall, they’re a team bettors are looking to fade this year. The under on their win total has been one of the most popular off-season bets.”

That over/under is 8.5, with +110 on the over and -130 on the under at William Hill. Most sportsbooks have it set at 8.5, though DraftKings’ over/under is 8.0 wins (-125 under; +103 over).

The 49ers are the favorite to win the NFC West, and the Seahawks should be on their heels. The Rams’ division odds are as long as +600 at SuperBook.

Goff’s Got to be Great

Goff looked like one of the NFL’s great young quarterbacks in 2018, when he completed 64.9 percent of his passes with 32 touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 101.1 passer rating. Last year, he completed 62.9 percent of his passes with 22 touchdowns, 16 interceptions and an 86.5 passer rating.

If the Rams are going to contend in a loaded division and with their troubles on defense, it will be because of Goff re-emerging as a top-shelf quarterback. His MVP odds range from +5,000 at FanDuel to +8,000 at DraftKings.

The Rams do have perhaps the best non-quarterback player in the NFL with defensive tackle Aaron Donald. Donald was Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 and 2018, when he led the NFL with 20.5 sacks. Donald is the consensus favorite to recapture that award. He’s +600 at William Hill and SuperBook.

Donald, fellow defensive lineman Michael Brockers, and cornerback Jalen Ramsey form a strong nucleus on that side of the ball.

With little expected from the Rams, McVay is +2,200 for Coach of the Year at BetMGM.

Editor’s Note: This is the 31st of 32 NFL team previews and the third of four on the NFC West.