St. Louis Rams (1-0) at Washington Redskins (0-1)
Last week, the Redskins were 3.5 point home underdogs for the Miami Dolphins and ended up losing 17-10. This week, they are 3.5 point home underdogs again, but to a team that I think is significantly inferior to the Miami Dolphins, the St. Louis Rams. The Rams had an impressive performance last week in a 34-31 overtime win over the Seahawks, but they likely just caught the Seahawks off guard, especially since they were missing safety Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks were on the road, where they haven’t been as good as they’ve been at home and the team that lost the Super Bowl the previous year is notoriously bad week 1. It was only a 3 point upset, but everyone is acting like it was so much more than that.
The Rams upgraded the quarterback position this off-season by bringing in Nick Foles, arguably the best quarterback they’ve had since Marc Bulger, and they have arguably the best defensive line in football, but their offensive talent around Foles is limited, especially without wide receiver Brian Quick and running back Todd Gurley, who are expected out again this week, and their defensive back 7 has plenty of issues, especially with cornerback EJ Gaines out for the season with a foot injury. The Redskins have their own injury issues with top receiver DeSean Jackson out with a hamstring problem and quarterback Kirk Cousins might be the worst starting quarterback in the NFL, but they’ve drastically improved one of the worst defenses in the league this off-season with the additions of Chris Culliver, Stephen Paea, and Terrance Knighton. They don’t deserve to be 3.5 point underdogs here. That means they would be 9.5 point underdogs in St. Louis, which I don’t think makes sense.
The Rams’ victory last week pushed this line from 2.5 to 3.5, over the key number of 3, and yet the public continues to be all over the Rams. I love betting against huge public leans whenever it makes sense because the public always loses money in the long run. In this case, I think the public is overreacting to one week and underestimating homefield advantage. The Rams could also be flat off of such a big, emotional victory. Teams are 1-10 ATS since 1989 as favorites off of an overtime win as home underdogs. I know it’s a small sample size, but it makes sense and it’s worth noting. It’s hard to be confident in the Redskins with Cousins under center and Jackson out, but they should be the right side here.
St. Louis Rams 17 Washington Redskins 16
Pick against the spread: Washington +3.5