Oakland Raiders (1-10) at St. Louis Rams (4-7)
One of the most powerful trends says that teams that finish 6-10 or worse cover the spread as 6+ point favorites about a quarter of the time historically. The problem with this trend is it’s often very hard to know whether or not a team favored by 6 or more is actually going to finish 6-10 or worse. The Rams sit here at 4-7 favored by 7 over Oakland needing to go 3-2 to finish above 6-10. They’re only favored in 2 of their remaining 5 games, this one against Oakland and a week 16 matchup in St. Louis with the Giants, which suggests they are likely to finish 6-10 or worse. On top of that, they are expected to be underdogs in Washington next week and non-divisional home favorites are 77-108 ATS since 2002 before being non-divisional road underdogs.
However, the line in the St. Louis/Washington game is only 1 and could easily switch to St. Louis being favored. According to the odds makers, that game is essentially a 50/50 toss-up. I disagree because I think the Redskins are underrated, but the Rams are very far from a lock to go 6-10 or worse. The six and six trend could easily not be in play this week. The Rams are also very far from a lock to be underdogs in Washington next week, so that other trend I mentioned could easily not be in play this week.
Oakland, however, does have a very tough game next week as they head home to face the 49ers. Teams are 91-125 ATS since 2002 as non-divisional road underdogs before being non-divisional home underdogs. Even worse, teams are 57-89 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 3 or more, 29-62 ATS before being road favorites of 4 or more, and 9-24 ATS before being road favorites of 7 or more (the early line is San Francisco -7.5). That’s because when you have a game coming up like that it generally means one of two things. One, you have a very tough, important game coming up. Two, you really aren’t that good of a football team. Here, I think it’s both.
Speaking of the Raiders not being a very good football team, they still rank dead last in rate of moving the chains differential, even after last week’s win over the Chiefs, their first win of the season. They move the chains at a 63.48% rate, as opposed to 73.50% for their opponents, a differential of -10.02%. No one else has a differential worse than -8.55% (Tennessee). The Rams aren’t great, moving the chains at a 69.50% rate, as opposed to 74.03% for their opponents, a differential of -4.53% that ranks 26th in the NFL. However, they are good enough that I don’t have a problem taking them as touchdown favorites over the Raiders, though I’m not confident.
St. Louis Rams 23 Oakland Raiders 13
Pick against the spread: St. Louis -7