Matthew Stafford and the LA Rams look to keep the momentum going at the expense of Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. According to Las Vegas NFL odds, the Rams have the edge in the betting, laying 3½ points to the Colts. Do the bookmakers have it right?
|Game: Los Angeles Rams (1-0) at Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, IndianapolisDate: Sunday, 19 SeptemberTime: 1 p.m. ETTelevision: FOX
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|LA Rams||-3½||-190||48 -110o||24½ -130o/Evenu|
|Indianapolis Colts||+35||+165||48 -110u||21½ -125o/-105u|
The Rams are riding a two-game winning streak against the Colts, winning in 2013 and ’17 by a combined score of 84-17. To put stock in those wins, however, holds no value because they aren’t representative anymore. Head coaches, personnel, quarterbacks, players – all have changed in both camps. So, in essence, this is the first-ever meeting between these two teams in their current formats.
Next game: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Stafford’s debut for the Rams on primetime Sunday night football in Week 1 of the NFL season couldn’t have gone better had he scripted it himself. The undisguised delight on Sean McVay’s face said it all: finally, he’d found his quarterback. Even Aaron Donald couldn’t help but show his admiration when Stafford found Van Jefferson for a 67-yard touchdown on his second pass for the Rams.
Aaron Donald approves. pic.twitter.com/d0cVOmn5gW
— Justin Groc (@justgroc) September 13, 2021
The 13-year-veteran signal-caller passed for 321 yards and three touchdowns as he led the Rams to a commanding 34-14 victory at SoFi Stadium, easily covering as the closing 9-point home chalk with a 20-point margin of victory and cracking the closing total of 46 points. He connected with several different receivers, including Cooper Kupp, who galloped for 108 yards on seven receptions and a touchdown.
The vaunted Rams defense – No.1 overall in the league in 2020 – picked up from where it left off last season, despite losing defensive coordinator Brandon Staley to the Chargers this offseason. They had Dalton (and Fields) under constant pressure and held Chicago to 188 passing yards and 134 rushing yards on offense. Aaron Donald and linebacker Justin Hollins combined for three sacks.
Rams nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day suffered a knee injury in the season home-opener. According to the latest injury report, Joseph-Day is probable for Week 2. He was pivotal against the Bears, accounting for 75 percent of the defensive snaps. He also had two tackles, one pressure, and one hurry. Elsewhere, wide receiver Ben Skowronek (forearm) and defensive end A’Shawn Robinson (knee) are probable.
Next game: at Tennessee Titans
Carson Wentz’ reunion with head coach Frank Reich was at the heart of the hype surrounding the Colts in preseason. However, Wentz’ debut against the Seattle Seahawks at Lucas Oil Stadium didn’t go to plan, and the Colts succumbed to a 28-16 loss. Granted, the Colts entered the game as the 3-point home underdogs, but they barely whiffed at the point spread with a 12-point margin of defeat. The total came under the closing 49-point total trading across multiple sportsbook platforms.
The Colts struggled on both sides of the ball. Wentz went 25-of-38 for 251 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with wide receiver Zach Pascal for both scores. However, he had a lost fumble in the game, too. Running back Jonathan Taylor led the team in rushing, trotting up 56 yards on 17 carries. Taylor also had 60 yards receiving on six receptions. The defense was inconsistent, struggled to defend the pass, and failed to protect Wentz (sacked three times and faced ten quarterback hits).
The list of the walking wounded includes wide receivers Mike Strachan and Michael Pittman Jr., and cornerback Xavier Rhodes. Strachan has an ankle injury but is probable; Pittman has an ankle injury and is questionable; and Rhodes is out for a second straight week
Betting on the Game
On the heels of Week 1, with the Rams and Colts enjoying contrasting fortunes in their season home-openers, markets went to press with the Rams laying anywhere between -3½ to 4 points to the Colts. The NFL line has oscillated between these two numbers but seems to have settled for the most part on 3½ points.
This outlook has everything to do with how good the Rams looked and, at the same time, how pedestrian the Colts looked in Week 1. Sparks were flying between Stafford and the O-line as they carved up Chicago’s defense. Stafford had no trouble moving the chains, targeting his receivers, or putting up the points.
Wentz, by contrast, was out of sync with his O-line, and they struggled to get anything meaningful going. Wentz’ limitations in the offseason due to foot surgery might have had an impact. However, it might run deeper. Consider the last few seasons in Philadelphia showed Wentz was on a sharp decline. It remains to be seen whether an additional week of practice will help Wentz find chemistry with his offense.
Another likely contributing factor to the odds is the defensive struggles the Colts experienced against the Seahawks last Sunday. The defense struggled to defend the pass without cornerback Xavier Robinson. Now that he’s ruled out again, the Colts will have their work cut out to avoid back-to-back aerial assaults. By comparison, the Rams defense made life miserable for Dalton and limited Chicago to 322 yards in total offense. None of which bodes well for Wentz and the Colts.
All told, the Rams made short work of a 9-point spread last week. Granted, it was at home. Nevertheless, the Rams have the edge on offense and defense, which underscores their value in this spot as the 3½ point road chalk. And yet, the action coming down the wire shows a decided lean towards the Colts for NFL picks against the spread, according to consensus betting reports.
The Rams are tipped at -190 on the moneyline, which means bettors will have to bet nearly twice the potential payout (bet $190 to win $100). The Colts, on the other hand, are priced as the +165 home underdogs, which means bettors will be rewarded about two-thirds of the stake should the Colts come through with the upset (bet $100 to win $165). Interestingly, the bulk of the action currently sits with the Colts to win straight up too.
The total for the game opened on 48 points at the start of the week before fluctuating between 47½ and 48½ points. Currently, most sportsbooks appear to be settling on 48 points, even though the action is heavy on the over.
Undoubtedly, the Rams offense can put up points in a hurry, but it remains to be seen whether Wentz and the Colts offense can keep up. They failed to launch in Week 1. What chance of lift-off do they have against the Rams defense?