The Las Vegas Raiders will look to make it two wins in a row when they take on the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium on Saturday and somewhat fortuitously, the NFL odds are in agreement. As per DraftKings Sportsbook, the Raiders are laying a whopping 7 points to the Rams.
Does the market have it right? Are the Raiders in fact the best bet to win this week 2 exhibition game? If so, can they cover this hefty point spread? We preview this matchup and serve up choice NFL picks to spot.
Las Vegas Raiders vs. Los Angeles Rams
Saturday, August 20, 2021, 10:00 PM ET at SoFi Stadium
Raiders Open Preseason on a Positive Note
The Raiders kicked off their 2021-22 NFL regular season preparations with a nice win at the expense of the Seattle Seahawks. Indeed, the Raiders proved to be one of the sharp bets of the first round of exhibition games as the nominal home faves. But how much stock should NFL bettors put in the 20-7 victory that was gained at the expense of a watered-down Seattle Seahawks side?
Probably, not a whole lot. Why? Well, to begin with, Pete Carrol sat Russell Wilson for the entire game, along with several other key starters. The quarterbacking came down to Geno Smith, Alex McGough and Sean Mannion and the offensive line was stitched up haphazardly with players that didn’t represent the best of what the Seahawks have to offer.
Of the quarterback trio, arguably, Geno Smith had the toughest night. Smith was expected to get the bulk of the snaps, but he got clobbered on Seattle’s first drive and had to be checked out in the medical tent before being allowed back into the game ever so briefly. However, he only lasted for the rest of the first quarter and finished with a 4-of-10 mark and 46 yards. It was later announced that had indeed suffered a concussion and was ruled out as per protocols. The other two quarterbacks split the duty with Alex McGough putting in a strong showing while Sean Mannion struggled.
On the other hand, the Raiders were clearly inspired with it being the first time playing in front of fans since moving into the Allegiant Stadium last season. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the stadium was closed to spectators for the entire 2020 regular season. Nathan Peterman played the entire game and went 29 of 39 for 246 yards and one interception. Trey Ragas and BJ Emmons provided the scoring with two rushing touchdowns and Dominik Eberle added two field goals and two extra points to cap the Raiders lopsided win.
Rams Go Through The Motions
Sean McVay, true to form, didn’t risk any of his starters in his side’s preseason opener against the Los Angeles Chargers. It’s no secret that McVay isn’t a believer in the merit of preseason games, especially where his starters are concerned. And so, he went through the motions as the Rams took the 13-6 loss to their city-rivals.
McVay’s approach to preseason is to find players that could add depth to the roster. Towards that end, the most important titbit he gained is the fact that neither Devlin Hodges nor Bryce Perkins are strong enough to replace his chosen backup John Wolford who sat out the game along with Matthew Stafford. Hodges went 11-of-19 for 85 yards and an interception while Perkins went 7-of-10 for 42 yards and a sack.
NFL Predictions and Picks
The Rams will sit their starters again for this clash, that’s an almost certainty unless McVay has a personality transplant this week. There’s no value in risking his starters in his opinion, and especially not ahead of the upcoming season when he’s under pressure to navigate the Rams back into the playoffs again after missing out last season. It follows, therefore, betting on the Rams to win outright is a risky bet.
Whether Jon Gruden decides to play his starters in this game remains to be seen. As yet, it’s not certain. That said however, Peterman had a good turnout in week 1 and if he gets to showcase his skills again to similar success, the Raiders may well prove the smart bet for NFL picks on the moneyline.
The question is whether you want to shell out three times more than the potential pay-out on the money line. Put another way, betting on the Raiders at -290 isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The Rams didn’t look invested in week 1 and that does take the shine off of their NFL odds. However, if Hodges and Perkins get a chance to redeem themselves, who’s to say they might not take it. Bearing in mind that the Rams are catching a touchdown on the NFL odds board, which is a hefty NFL ine that rarely pops up in the preseason, it’s almost too good of an opportunity to pass up.
NFL Picks: Rams +7 (-110) with William Hill