If your geographic region suffered a natural disaster – flood, fire or tropical storm – you’d apply for federal relief.
When that happens with an NFL franchise, relief comes in the form of altered expectations at sportsbooks the following season.
The Los Angeles Rams just got some this week from DraftKings. They stare at a realistic win total over-under of 7.5 for the 2023 season. That’s down three from the 10 number of 2022, marking their post-Super Bowl reign. The Rams Super Bowl odds are on par with the 7.5 number.
The book did not peg the Rams at their finishing total of 5-12 last year. It would still take three more victories to reach the Over for Rams bettors.
The Over is -120, so the books believe the Rams have a better chance than not to win at least eight games.
Let’s Evaluate What Looks Like A Fair Number
A Closer Look at the Numbers
This bet is realistic, on either side, with the Under at +100.
Bettors won’t take the +2200 for the Rams to win the NFC or the + 6000 to capture the Super Bowl unless they simply like backing the team, period.
But the Over-Under number? That’s a good one to track all year.
Johnny Avello, director of race and sportsbook operations for Draft Kings, said:
“What you are looking at right now with this Rams team reflects the fact they dropped off. But they haven’t been forecast to be limited to the five wins from last year.
“I think the number tells you they are in a tough division. We’ve got the San Francisco 49ers at 11.5 (and the favorite at +330 to win the NFC conference.) “The Niners have a great system there. We have the Seattle Seahawks at 8.5 and the Rams are pretty close to being right there with them.”
Pretty close indeed.
The Rams lost two tight games to the Seahawks last year. They covered in both of them, with backup quarterbacks.
Imagine seizing those two games and the win total is already 7, right up against the over-under number. Then they have to find one more.
If they win one of them, maybe more likely, they need to find two other victories.
Why Bettors Might Take the Over
Is a bounceback possible?
Seemingly everything that could happen to the Rams last year did. That included the loss of quarterback Stafford and the drop off from 41 touchdowns in 2021-22.
It included an injury to Kupp, who had authored a magical season two years back.
He sure looked like vintage Kupp early in the year.
Kupp notched 128 yards on 13 catches in a touchdown when the Rams lost the opener 31-10 to the Buffalo Bills. Kupp had 11 receptions for 108 yards and two scores when they beat the Atlanta Falcons 31-27.
He had two more 100-plus yards early games. And then came the high-ankle sprain in Week 10 against the Arizona Cardinals. That required surgery and essentially became the high-water mark of his season.
Stafford and Kupp won’t both get hurt again, right? And besides Kupp, Stafford has a talented offensive cast that includes Allen Robinson and Van Jefferson.
In taking the Over, you’d figure the Rams won’t repeat as the lowest-scoring team in the NFC, 307 points.
And there is still Aaron Donald on defense.
There is another reason to consider the Over. One of their 2023 opponents is the Green Bay Packers, who will likely lose Aaron Rodgers to the New York Jets.
Why You Would Hesitate on the Wager
What if the elbow injury last year was a foreshadowing for 35-year-old Stafford? The Rams already made their bed with him, as backup Baker Mayfield has gone to Tampa Bay, hoping to replace Tom Brady.
Another question mark concerns the draft. The Rams have not made a first-round selection since taking Jared Goff in 2016. They trade first-round picks to upgrade now. That did result in a Super Bowl crown as they mortgaged future picks to get Stafford.
But their philosophy that No. 1 picks are over-valued can be challenged.
In recent years, witness Trevor Lawrence for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Ja’Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals. And there’s Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys and DeVonta Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles as top picks.
What to all these players have in common? They helped teams that hadn’t been making the playoffs reach the post-season.
And Justin Jefferson, taken in the first round by the Minnesota Vikings two years back, is an all-world receiver.
The Rams finally have a No. 1 pick next year and the fan base would like to get excited about draft night. Rams management actually addressed the issue with fans this week, saying the team is stockpiling picks for 2024 and clearing out its salary problems now.
Some would view that as the Rams predicting a rebuilding season.
But if the season wager is 7.5 wins, Over bettors don’t need much.
What they need to do in the draft is address the offensive line, which did not protect its quarterbacks well. And they need to discover a future quarterback. Stafford is on fumes.
A post-draft assessment may be an excellent time to take an Over or an Under on the win total, which is bettable from both sides.
Hanging in the Balance
The Rams were 4-5 at home last season. They were 1-7 on the road.
In taking the Over, you’d figure they can win at least one, maybe two more on the road.
Look on the Bright Side
It’s a great time to assess the odds. And if your analysis points to the Rams going Under, a price of +100 is a good return.
Either way, it’s a fun wager.