The Los Angeles Rams wasted no time getting their ducks in a row for the 2021 NFL season, trading for veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford in March.
After a Big Game appearance in 2019-20 and watching poor QB play soil the league’s best defense last year, enough was enough for head coach Sean McVay. Jared Goff is gone and it’s Super Bowl or bust for an L.A. team that finished 10-6 SU and 9-7 ATS, second in the NFC West, and was bounced in the Divisional Round.
We present our 2021 Los Angeles Rams NFL betting preview.
Los Angeles Rams futures odds
|To Win Conference||+600|
|To Win Division||+200|
|Season Win Total O/U||10.5 (Under -120)|
Best futures bet: NFC Conference champs (+600)
Los Angeles has a great shot at getting back to the Super Bowl, which just so happens to be played in SoFi Stadium this year. Besides the Bucs (+225), the rest of the Rams’ conference competition have fatal flaws (like the Packers pissing Aaron Rodgers off).
If you’re feeling feisty and holding on to memories of that monster Monday nighter from 2018, a Chiefs-Rams Big Game battle is paying +2,600. If anything, that flyer might set up a nice hedge opportunity come Championship Sunday.
Los Angeles Rams betting overview
What will win bets: Defense
The Rams’ vaunted defense lost some cogs up front this offseason but will still be among the league’s elite stop units. Los Angeles finished No. 4 in Defensive DVOA at Football Outsiders and caused plenty of chaos with 53 sacks in 2020. The defense allowed only 7.2 points per second half, which sets the table for Stafford’s late-game heroics to come through for bettors.
What will lose bets: Rushing game
The offseason injury to RB Cam Akers is a tough blow. Granted, with Stafford under center L.A. won’t be running as much and there’s still plenty of time to bring in another body to share handoffs with Darrell Henderson Jr.
But with some changes on the offensive line, McVay needs a capable ground game to keep defenses guessing, avoid constant heat on Stafford and give that rocket arm time to load and fire.
Los Angeles Rams game-by-game odds
The Rams are point spread favorites in 13 of their 17 games in 2021 (with one pick’em), and despite having the 10th-toughest strength of schedule this year are dealing a season win total of 10.5 O/U. Five of those games as the chalk come on the road, where McVay is 13-10 ATS when giving the points as a visitor.
|3||vs Tampa Bay||-1||49.5|
|6||@ N.Y. Giants||-3.5||45.5|
|10||@ San Francisco||+3||45.5|
|12||@ Green Bay||-1||45.5|
|18||vs San Francisco||-3||44.5|
Early season forecast
The season starts on Sunday Night Football when the Bears come to town in Week 1. The Rams are touchdown favorites with their sack attack setting sights on either Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, or rookie passer Justin Fields — hence the low total. That 44.5-point number lines up fine for McVay and crew, who are 11-3 SU and 10-4 ATS in games with sub-45 Over/Under totals.
A trip to Indianapolis is on the Week 2 agenda, pitting Los Angeles’ pass rush against the Colts drum-tight offensive line. The Rams, who are catching 1.5 points as visitors, have only been road underdogs a dozen times since McVay took over in 2017, going 8-4 ATS in those contests.
Week 3 gives us one of the most anticipated matchups of the entire season and a possible NFC Championship Game preview. Los Angeles is a slight 1-point favorite at home, marking the only game the Bucs are listed as underdogs in 2021. The Rams edged Tampa Bay 27-24 as 4-point road underdogs last year, in one of Tom Brady’s worst games (26/48, 216 yards, 2 TDS, 2 INTs). If you’re betting L.A. in this one, you may also want to grab its NFC title futures as well because this outcome will have a dramatic impact on those odds.
Week 6: @ N.Y. Giants -3.5
A nasty triple-decker sandwich spot awaits the Rams in the Meadowlands in mid-October. Los Angeles is not only ripe for a letdown after a Thursday night showdown in Seattle in Week 5 but could also get caught looking ahead to the Stafford/Goff revenge game versus Detroit in Week 7. On top of those situational spots, this is a 1 p.m. ET kickoff on the East Coast — 10 a.m. PT back in La-La Land.
The Rams finished 4-12 Over/Under in the regular season last year and had four sub-45 totals, staying below in each of those games. That said, Goff was the QB and the Rams had the seventh most run-heavy playbook in the league, chewing up 31:39 in average TOP (5th).
Despite McVay’s offensive prowess and Stafford’s big arm, Los Angeles doesn’t have a single total above 50 points, according to the current 2021 lookahead lines (three totals of 49.5). It does have three totals below 45 points and with Akers’ injury thinning the rushing corp, the defensive line losing some bite, and McVay excited to have a new toy under center, don’t expect another 75 percent run from Rams’ Unders.
Star power props: Matthew Stafford, QB
|Player prop||Odds to win|
|Passing yards total||4,550.5 (O/U -112)|
Best prop: Under 4,550.5 yards (-112)
Stafford posted 4,084 yards through the air last year in a Lions offense that passed on 63 percent of its snaps and was often playing from behind, leaving no choice but to toss it.
McVay has more faith in Stafford than Goff, so expect L.A.’s air yards to stretch, but this is a very good L.A. team that will be protecting leads in the second half. And with a defense that can singlehandedly win games, no longer is the win/loss load all on Stafford’s mighty right arm like it was in Detroit. He’ll have a great year... but not this great.
Trend to know
Los Angeles is 16-8 SU and 16-7-1 ATS (69%) versus NFC foes the past two seasons but 3-5 SU and ATS versus the AFC in that same time frame.
AFC games in 2021
- Week 2: +1.5 at Colts
- Week 8: -8.5 at Texans
- Week 9: -5.5 vs Titans
- Week 13: -9.5 vs Jaguars
- Week 17: +3 at Ravens
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