Game: Buffalo Bills @ Los Angeles Rams
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
Odds: Bills -2.5, Rams +2.5
The Buffalo Bills, the current Super Bowl LVII favorites, visit the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams on Thursday night in the NFL’s customary Thursday night game to open the new season. The Rams will play both host and underdog in their own stadium. The Bills have been the favorite to take home the next Lombardi Trophy since the Rams’ victory in Super Bowl LVI.
The Bills boast what could be the finest roster in the NFL. The defense was the best in the league last season. Buffalo led the NFL in both total defense and scoring defense. They also held the top spot throughout the season in DVOA. Buffalo welcomed former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Von Miller to the lineup in the summer. That strengthens a pass rush that is already potent.
Buffalo will be without CB Tre’Davious White for the first four games this season. The Bills gave up just six touchdown passes to wide receivers last season and four of those came after White was injured in Week 12.
Josh Allen, the Bills quarterback, is one of the favorites to win the NFL’s Most Valuable Player. Last season, Allen rushed for a career-high 763 yards in addition to passing for 4,407 yards and 36 touchdowns. With new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey, the quarterback of the Bills and the rest of the offense shouldn’t miss a beat. Former Buffalo offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is now the head coach of the New York Giants.
The Rams were less active in the offseason. To replace WR Odell Beckham Jr., the offense did sign WR Allen Robinson III. Both quarterback Matthew Stafford and Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp are back. Darrell Henderson Jr. and Cam Akers are both back in the backfield. The head coach, Sean McVay will have the same unit on offense as last year. Last season, the Rams were sixth in the NFL with a 27.0 points per game average.
Where the Bills may have an edge is against the Rams’ defense. The Rams only have one corner that finished inside the top-65 in coverage grade – Jalen Ramsey. Ramsey is one of the best in the league. That could be an issue against a Buffalo offense that features the likes of WR Stefon Diggs, WR Gabe Davis, and TE Dawson Knox.
Over the past few seasons, both teams have started strong. The Bills are 12-5 ATS in their last 17 Week 1 games. In their last five games during Week 1, the Rams are 5-0 ATS. Los Angeles has also done well as an underdog recently. Last season, the Rams were 3-0 SU and ATS as an underdog. Going back to the 2020 season, the Rams are 7-3 SU and ATS in the underdog role.
Buffalo has won five of the last seven games against the Rams. In those seven games, the Bills are 5-2 against the spread. Also in those seven games, the Over is 6-1. Additionally, in the Rams’ previous five games in September, the Over is 5-0 and the Over is 8-1 the last nine times L.A. closed as the underdog.
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