The first of a twinbill between the Los Angeles Rams and Oakland Raiders, this Week Two preseason tilt will be followed by a Week One regular-season meeting at Oakland. This preseason game will be the first Rams-Raiders game played in Los Angeles since 1994 and the eighth all-time, with the Rams serving as home team in seven of those games. The Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Raiders clashed three straight years in the preseason from 1992-94.
In the regular season, the Rams have won three of the last four games from the Raiders straight up, the last meeting a 52-0 drubbing of the Raiders in St. Louis in 2014. The Rams and Raiders began a lengthy preseason series right from 1970, the first season following the AFL-NFL merger when the Raiders became part of the NFL. The Rams and Raiders have met 20 times in preseason play, with the Raiders holding a 12-8 edge, although the Rams own a 4-2 edge in games played in Los Angeles.
Three Wishes - Both of these teams will soon have known three separate homes during the NFL tenure. The Rams began life as the Cleveland Rams from 1936-45, until owner Dan Reeves moved the club to Los Angeles in 1946, becoming the first major North American pro sports franchise playing on the west coast. In 1995, the Rams were on the move again, leaving L.A. to relocate to St. Louis, where they stayed until deciding they missed L.A. and moved back in 2016.
The Raiders were born in Oakland as an original AFL franchise in 1960, and joined the NFL a decade later. In 1982, they were also on the move, moving across the state of California to become the Los Angeles Raiders. That lasted until 1995, when they also longed for their original home and moved back to Oakland. In 2017, the Raiders filed paperwork to relocate again, and the NFL approved the move of the franchise to Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Raiders will begin play in 2020.
Nothing Plus Nothing - The Rams have blanked the Raiders in two of their last three regular-season games, both of the whitewashes coming in Oakland. The Rams dumped the Raiders 20-0 in 2006 and in 2014, completely steamrolled the Raiders to the tune of 52-0. There have been just six shutouts of 50-0 or more posted in the NFL since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, and the Rams were on the right side of two of them, blasting the Atlanta Falcons 59-0 in 1976.
Going Low - The Rams haven't given the Raiders much opportunity to post crooked numbers on the scoreboard when the two teams have met on the football field in recent regular-season games. The Rams have held the Raiders to a combined total of 29 points over the past four meetings, an average of 7.25 points per game. Prior to that, though, the Raiders scored at least 20 points in the previous three games, averaging 25 points per game over that span.
The preseason Rams-Raiders game offer a different outcome. The Raiders have scored no fewer than 20 points in three of the last four exhibition games against the Rams, averaging 24 points per game. But six times in 20 games during preseason play neither the Rams or Raiders got to 20 points on the scoreboard. In two games, neither team got to 10 points. Both the Rams and Raiders failing to scored 20 points has happened just twice in 13 regular-season games between the Rams and Raiders.
Playoff Payoff - Posting their first winning season since 2003, the Rams charged to an 11-5 record in 2017 and won the NFC West title, earning their first postseason berth since 2004. They looked to have turned a corner, but the Rams might want to check with the Raiders on that subject. In 2016, the Raiders rebounded from 13 consecutive years of losing campaigns to go 12-4 and win the AFC West title, earning their first playoff berth since 2003. But last season, they reverted to old form, falling to 6-10.
Bovada believes that the Rams will not suffer a similar fate, and lists them with odds of -220 to make the playoffs during the 2018 NFL season. You'll get odds of +180 if you wager that the Rams will regress and miss out on postseason play. Bovada isn't nearly as bullish on a rebound from the Raiders. They've pegged Oakland at odds of +160 to find the playoffs under new coach Jon Gruden. If you think the Raiders will be victims again and miss out on playoff action, play that wager at odds of -200.
QB Or Not QB? - The first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, Rams quarterback Jared Goff emerged last season, passing for 28 touchdowns and a QB rating of 100.5. But Goff needs only look at Raiders QB Derek Carr to see how good fortune can quickly take a vacation. Like his team, Carr was sensational in 2016, and stumbled through 2017. His touchdown passes fell from 28 to 22, while his interceptions increased from six to 13. Carr's passer rating skidded from 96.7 to 86.4.
Goff and Carr share another bond. Both are listed as co-12th choices in Bovada's future book for the 2018 NFL MVP Award at +3000. BetOnline is much more sold of Goff as a legitimate MVP candidate. They've got him as their co-fifth choice for the award with New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees at +1600. Carr checks in a odds of +2000. MyBookie doesn't like Carr's MVP chances at all, situating him at odds of +3800. But they've got Goff even higher at +4000, apparently anticipating a downturn in his performance.
Performance Bonus - Will wide receiver Brandin Cooks ignite on the end of Goff's aerials in his first season with the Rams? BetOnline offers a player performance prop bet on Cooks' TD totals in 2018, setting the bar at 5.5. If you play the over, you'll get odds of +100, while the under is worth -130. They also offer a wager on how many receiving yards Cook will garner in 2018, establishing the total at 775 yards. Over will get you odds of -120 and under is at -110. Cooks gained 1,076 yards and caugt seven TD passes last season.
BetOnline also offers a couple of prop bets on Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch. They've set the total on his rushing numbers at 5.5 TDs and 650 yards. No matter which bet wager you play, over is worth -110 and under is set at -120. There's a similar offer on Rams RB Todd Gurley, with his totals pegged at 15.5 TDs and 1350 yards. Over on the TD prop bet is worth -130 and under is at odds of +100. On the yardage prop, over gets you odds of -120 and under is at -110. Lynch ran for 891 yards and seven TDs last season.