The Rams played themselves into one of the most pleasant surprises in the NFL last year, while the Raiders devolved into one of the league’s bigger disappointments. How might those trends play into our free NFL pick on Week 1’s Monday night match-up between these Golden State rivals?
NFL Spread Action
Most Week 1 NFL betting odds opened Los Angeles as a one-point road favorite for this game, with an over/under of 49. Early NFL betting action then pushed the Rams to -3.
The Rams came out of nowhere last year to finish 11-5 (9-7 ATS) and win the NFC West at odds of 25/1. They also cruised over a regular-season wins O/U of 5.5. They then, however, showed their youth/inexperience and lost a wild-card game at home to Atlanta. Heading into this season, following an influx of veteran talent, the Rams face an O/U of 10 wins.
The Raiders, meanwhile, fell to 6-10 last season (5-9-2 ATS), after going 12-4 in 2016. Oakland overcame a slow start to reach 6-6 but limped home with four straight losses. They also played under a wins O/U of 10. Heading into this season, with the return of Chucky to the Black Hole, the Raiders now face an O/U of 8.
As just mentioned Oakland parted ways with Coach Del Rio and re-hired Coach Gruden. Over four seasons under Gruden back in 1998-2001 the Raiders went 38-26 and reached one AFC championship game. Gruden then went 57-55 in seven seasons in charge at Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl.
As of this writing Oakland LB Khalil Mack is holding out, so his status for Week 1 is uncertain.
Los Angeles improved by seven wins from 2016 to ’17. Over the last 10 NFL seasons teams that made jumps of six wins or more combined to go 124-144 SU (132-133 ATS) the following seasons.
The Raiders fell by six wins last season. Over the last 10 seasons teams that regressed by six wins or more combined to go 161-175 SU (169-157 ATS) the following seasons.
These two teams last met back in 2014, a 52-0 Rams blowout victory in St. Louis. But that was eons ago in NFL time.
Overs played 11-5 in Rams games last year, which averaged a league-high 50 total points.
Unders played 11-5 in Raiders games last year, which averaged 42 points.
Free NFL Pick
Gruden inherited a 4-12 team Oakland team back in 1998 and lost his first game 28-8 to Kansas City. In 2002 he inherited a 9-7 Tampa team and lost his first game to New Orleans 26-20. Which tells us his style and systems take a little getting used to. He may right the Raiders ship eventually but we’re betting the Rams here.
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