The LA Rams are favored by -3 over the Carolina Panthers in week 1 NFL betting action with a current posted total of 51 (as of mid July). The majority of the early wagers have been placed on the Rams.
When we last saw the Rams and their high scoring offense, they were being held to 3 points in what was the lowest scoring Super Bowl ever. That game saw them on the short end of a 13-3 score.
The Rams were 15-4 when all was said and done last season. However, despite their winning ways straight up, they were just 9-9 against the spread.
The Carolina Panthers had high hopes a year ago fresh of an 11-5 regular season and a playoff loss to the Saints. After a promising 6-2 start last season, the Panthers collapsed losing 7 straight.
The Panthers were 7-9 against the spread last year. They were a slightly profitable bet at home, going 5-3 ATS and 2-1 ATS as a home underdog.
Rams Off Season Moves
When you’re the runner up in the Super Bowl, the off season goal is generally to keep things status quo. Knowing you have the talent to make the show, you want to avoid any drastic changes.
The Rams did make headlines with two signings however. They inked Clay Matthews from the Packers and brought in Veteran QB Blake Bortles to back up Goff.
No reason the Rams can’t once again contend in the NFC and make another run at the Super Bowl. The pieces are obviously in place.
Panthers Have Their Work Cut Out
There’s more of a sense of urgency in Carolina and rightly so. New ownership likely won’t tolerate a repeat performance of a year ago.
Cam Newton had shoulder surgery in the off season and while he is listed as questionable for week 1, he’ll likely be ready.
The Panthers made moves aimed at keeping Newton healthy as well as improving a pass rush that ranked 27th in the NFL in sacks last season.
Just in case Newton isn’t ready, or god forbid, doesn’t return to form, Carolina drafted Will Grier out of West Virginia.
Predicting the Game
One of the huge keys to this game is of course the health of Cam Newton. Will he be 100 percent? Will he be able to throw the ball down field? Who knows.
We can use the Rams stats from last season with some confidence as not much has changed. But the Panthers will be a different team either way.
Had this game taken place at the end of last season, we would have had the Rams winning by 10 to 12 points. Now keep in mind, that’s a banged up Panthers team with an ineffective Cam Newton.
We have to assume the Panthers will be healthy and Newton will be the same dynamic player we have watched over the years.
Carolina started last season 5-0 at home. Their 3 home losses came in the 2nd half of the season. Despite being banged up they were still competitive. It’s not as if this team was losing by double digits every week.
Two of their home losses were by a field goal. Those games were against the Seahawks and Saints. Their worst home loss came against the Falcons 24-10.
Motivation won’t be an issue for the Panthers. A chance to start fresh. A crack at the Super Bowl runner up. A win in this spot sets the tone for the entire season.
Margins are thin in the NFL. A play here, a lucky break there and 7-9 seasons can become 10-6. We’re going to go out on a small limb here and back the Panthers in week 1. It also allows us to go against the public which is always an added benefit.
Our Pick – Panthers +3