Raiders and Rams Clash in Thursday Night Football Matchup

NFL Dec 08, 2022

Tonight's Raiders and Rams game is a clash if two teams headed in opposite directions – but is laying -7 with Las Vegas a wise bet?  

[TNF]  Las Vegas at LA Rams

Line: Raiders -7

O/U: 43.5

Analysis:

This game has no playoff implications, however — both teams have been playing much better than expected in recent weeks.

The Raiders were left dead and buried just three weeks ago and seemed on the brink of firing first-year head coach Josh McDaniels. Just when the Raiders bottomed out after a humiliating loss at home to Indianapolis, they went into Denver and won in OT, then went into Seattle and won again in OT, and then beat the rival Chargers at home last week. That’s three consecutive wins and covers, two versus playoff contenders. Now, Las Vegas plays arguably a worse team than any they’ve faced recently. Given their current momentum and renaissance of confidence in Las Vegas, the Raiders are probably a good bet to continue the win streak, even though this game might not be as easy as it seems.

As for the Rams, this season has been a disaster. Not only are they inflicted with a Super Bowl hangover, but injuries have also been devastating. It’s hard to remember any NFL team that’s been hammered by as many offensive injuries as the Rams, this season. Under the circumstances, it’s remarkable this team continues to play tough and hasn’t mailed it in yet. For instance, the Rams went into Kansas City a few weeks ago and played far better than the final score indicated. Then last week, the Rams nearly beat Seattle outright as 5-point underdogs, losing in the final minute on a late touchdown. Credit the Rams’ defense for a valiant effort, even though they’re also short-handed.

The Rams’ defensive efforts in their past two games will keep us off of Las Vegas laying -7. That’s simply too high given this is a short week and you never know which Raiders team might show up from week to week. However, it’s hard to see a scenario where Las Vegas wins three straight thrilling games and plays so well, especially on offense (ranked #12 in passing and #11 in rushing), and then trashing that real progress by losing to a floundering team with multiple players having almost no NFL experience nor future prospects, other than they’re filling in for injured Rams’ starters as a temporary stopgap.

In fact, the Rams are so desperate they signed free agent castoff quarterback Baker Mayfield this week, who was given a one-way bus ticket out of Carolina and told never to return. Incredibly, Mayfield might even see action this week, according to reports. It’s unfathomable that any QB (let alone someone with as spotty a record as Mayfield) could suddenly step into a new offensive system, playing among scraps, and bring the Rams’ dormant offense back to life. John Wolford started the last few games and played below average. But he wasn’t terrible, either — completing 61 pct. of passes and performing better than expected given he’s protected by an offensive line off of Craigs List. Wolford or Mayfield only adds to massive uncertainty about this game, though it makes no sense to bring in a failed QB and after just two days of practice expect him to work miracles. If Sean McVay really wants to destroy whatever remains of Mayfield’s dust particles of confidence, he’ll play him under an impossible situation (which I don’t see happening–McVay is a smart coach).

Our Pick:

The bottom line here is: These are teams going in opposite directions.  

One team is on a three-game win streak; the other is on a six-game losing streak.

It seems logical to expect these trends to continue, for at least another week.

Accordingly, we’ll tease the Raiders from -7 down to -1 and combine with a bet with a wager on a Sunday NFL game.

The Pick:  Teaser–Las Vegas Raiders -1 / Cincinnati Bengals even (-120)

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