Will Rams, Stafford Be Ready For NFL Opener And Should You Bet Now?

Will Rams, Stafford Be Ready For NFL Opener And Should You Bet Now?
Image © Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Ty Bronicel
Author:
Ty Bronicel
Updated: 
August 26th 2022 - 08:24 AM

The National Football League began preseason play on Aug. 5 as the Las Vegas Raiders easily beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 27-11 in the Hall of Fame game.

That first game gets everyone’s gambling juices flowing as the realization sets in that the regular season kicks off just over a month from now (Thursday, Sept. 8). This year’s marquee matchup is dandy; The Super Bowl favorites for 2023, the Buffalo Bills, at Los Angeles to play the defending champion Rams.

Buffalo opened up as 1-1.5 point underdogs but are now 1-1.5 favorites. That’s a big swing and speaks to how highly sportsbooks feel about Josh Allen’s Bills, who travel over 2,500 miles cross-country to begin what they hope is a historic season.

Since 2004 – except for in 2019 – the reigning Super Bowl champion has hosted the season opener and in those games, the home team is 15-2 with many of those victories blowouts.

That bodes well for the Rams ...except for one thing: The news this week that Rams QB Matthew Stafford, who played through pain in this throwing arm last season and had an anti-inflammatory injection in this right elbow in April, is experiencing what is being described as “bad tendinitis.”

Not the best news, although most experts believe that Stafford, who didn’t throw at all during OTAs and minicamp, will now have his preseason basically shut down and isn’t likely to even throw in team drills.

Makes sense and Stafford will probably be fine by Sept. 8, but might he be a bit rusty?

I’m saying he will be. Not ideal against a Bills defense that, in 2021, finished first in the following categories:

  • Total defense – allowing 272.8 yards per game

  • Total yards per play – allowing 4.6 yards

  • Passing yards – allowing 163 per game

  • Passing yards per play – allowing 4.65

  • First downs allowed per game – 16.7

  • Third down conversion rate allowed – 30.8%

  • Points per game – 17

Buffalo became the first defense to finish first in the league without a Pro Bowl player on their unit since the 2012 Pittsburgh Steelers – and this season they welcome eight-time Pro Bowler Von Miller, who left the Rams in the offseason.

Yikes.

So let’s get this parlay down right now. Take the Bills at -1 or 1.5. There are plenty of great sportsbooks out there so do some research and shop around.

And then we’ll take the UNDER (51.5). The Rams defense might be the second-best in the NFL this season led by all-world Aaron Donald, stud corner Jalen Ramsey, and new addition Bobby Wagner who’s presence will be felt immediately, particularly by Allen.

Prediction: Bills 24, Rams 20.

And, yes, book it now.

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