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Free NFL Pick From Linebacker: Rams vs Raiders

Los Angeles Rams @ Oakland Raiders (LA -3, O/U 49.5)

The Rams open up their season as 3-point favorites in Oakland on Monday Night Football. With a projected final score of 25.8-20.8, we expect the Rams to cover the spread and open up the season 1-0 67.4 percent of the time.

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Why will the Rams cover the spread?

  • LA has a plethora of offensive weapons to throw at an Oakland defense that finished 23rd in yards allowed per game (350.1) and 20th in points allowed per game (23.3) in 2017. The Rams have the talent to surpass both of those marks against Oakland, as we project them to finish with 25.8 points and 384 total yards.
  • Oakland allowed the second-highest completion percentage to opposing quarterbacks last season (68.1%) and seventh-most passing yards, so Jared Goff and his 64 percent completion rate over the last seven games should fare well against the Raiders secondary.
  • Todd Gurley averaged five catches and 64.3 receiving yards over his last seven games in 2017 and faces an Oakland defense that allowed 93 catches and the second-most receiving touchdowns (5) to opposing backs last season.

Why will the total go under 49.5?

  • LA finished just outside the top 10 in scoring defense last season, and added Ndamukong Suh, Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters to solidify its defense.
  • Derek Carr lost Michael Crabtree, his leader in targets, receptions and touchdowns. Oakland replaced him with 33-year-old Jordy Nelson coming off his worst season since 2009, and Martavis Bryant, who is struggling to learn Jon Gruden’s playbook and has been openly criticized by the new head coach.
  • In seven seasons as Tampa Bay’s head coach, Gruden’s offense never finished above 18th in points per game, while his defense finished outside the top 10 just once in points allowed.

Need to know stats for Rams @ Raiders

  • 124 total yards – Todd Gurley’s projection, which would mark his seventh consecutive game with 110+ total yards.
  • 4 catches, 48 yards – Amari Cooper is expected to take over WR1 duties with Crabtree now in Baltimore, projecting to lead the team in catches and receiving yards in Week 1.
  • 68.1% – Jared Goff’s projected completion percentage, an increase of six percentage points from his 2017 mark.
  • 13 carries – Marshawn Lynch averaged 18.3 rushing attempts in his last six games of 2017, but will share rushing duties with Doug Martin and concede passing downs to Jalen Richard. Oakland will likely be playing from behind as well, contributing to a negative game script for the rushing attack.