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Battle of Los Angeles Favors the Rams

After rolling through the first two weeks of the NFL season like it was a warm-up, the Los Angeles Rams return to the Rose Bowl for their home opener vs the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 3. The Rams have outscored teams 57-0 over the last six quarters and are one of the clear front-runners to win the Super Bowl. They’ll look to continue putting on an offensive clinic when they host a Chargers squad that put a 31-20 beatdown on the Bills in Week 2.

The Rams opened as a 7-point favorite with the total set at 48.

SHARK BITES
  • The Rams are 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite.
  • The Chargers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as a road underdog of 6.5 or more.
  • The Rams have outscored teams 57-0 over the last six quarters of play.

Chargers vs Rams Game Center

Rams Defense is the New Offense

Coming into the season, experts and analysts figured the Rams offense would be the straw that stirs the drink but after two games, it’s the defense that has been turning heads. Los Angeles ranks in the top five in both rushing yards and passing yards allowed while holding teams to 19 points total through two games.

The Week 2 beatdown of the Cardinals was something to behold as they held the Cardinals to only five first downs and 137 yards of total offense. With the shutout of the Cards, the Rams have now held opponents scoreless for the last six quarters of play. Turns out the acquisition of locker-room malcontents Ndamakung Suh, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters is working out!

That being said, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the genius of Sean McVay and the Rams offense. Los Angeles is converting 46 percent of its third downs (ranked fourth) and is ranked in the top five in both passing yards and receiving yards. If it wasn’t for the Chiefs and Buccaneers stealing the headlines, the talk would be about the Rams offense.

Todd Gurley may only be averaging 3.8 yards per carry but McVay has put him in the best position to succeed, which is why he’s tied for the NFL lead in touchdowns at four. With the offense humming and the defense shutting teams down, it’s hard to consider fading the Rams as they’re 8-1 SU and 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite. Since the start of last season, the Rams are 10-3 SU and 8-5 ATS as a favorite. Sheesh!

Chargers have Done Well as an Underdog Lately

After allowing 38 points to the offensive machine known as Patrick Mahomes, the Chargers had a great bounce-back win in Buffalo by trouncing the Bills 31-20. Don’t let the final score fool you; the Chargers were up 28-6 at halftime and were on cruise control before allowing some garbage-time scores.

That win has pushed the Chargers to 7-2 SU in their last nine games overall but most of those wins were against pushovers or teams with losing records. How they fare as an underdog vs the Rams should tell the true story of what Philip Rivers and company are capable of. Here are some recent historic trends that support a Chargers’ cover wager:

  • 17-7 ATS in their last 24 road games vs teams with winning records
  • 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as dogs of 6.5 or more
  • 16-4 ATS in their last 20 games as dogs of 6.5 or more
  • 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS in their last eight games in the late afternoon

What does that all mean? It means that no matter the outcome, the Chargers seem to either win or know how to keep the game close when positioned as an underdog. It helps when you have a Hall of Fame QB in Rivers who will not be shy about slinging it in the fourth quarter if they’re down by two scores or more. The worst nightmare for Rams backers is being up 13 points with two minutes to go and Rivers gets to chuck the ball in garbage time. I’m not saying that will happen but we’ve seen that movie before.

Totals Bettors May Want to Lean on the UNDER

The total opened at 48 and while both of these teams’ offenses can explode at any time, I think the UNDER may be the best way to go. The UNDER has hit in six of the Chargers’ last seven games on the road with an average combined score of 36.1 points per game. Pair that trend with the UNDER hitting in six of the Rams’ last eight games at home (average combined score of 42.8) and I don’t feel comfortable endorsing an OVER in this battle of Los Angeles.

My Pick is…

To take the Rams to cover the spread. I think this is the season where the Rams steamroll to the playoffs and with the Chargers missing their best pass rusher in Joey Bosa for the third straight game, I don’t see how the Chargers will be able to disrupt the Rams offense. The Rams should win this game by 10 or more.

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