Rams vs. Cowboys: Betting odds, lines, picks against the spread

The ebb and flow of the NFL is always fascinating, especially when there are two teams in the same city. Rams fans spent their Monday night questioning many different things. The two Los Angeles teams are 2-2 heading into Week 5, but one team feels on the verge of a rebound and the other is like the proverbial one-armed man on water rowing a boat.

Both teams are favored to improve to 3-2 this week but there are many questions to ponder on the encounters ahead.

Dallas Cowboys at Rams (-5½, 43)

Lookahead lines prior to Week 4 made the Rams more of a touchdown favorite, but the Cowboys continued to impress with Cooper Rush in place of Dak Prescott and the Rams laid a huge egg against an impressive opponent for the second time this season. The Rams are still strong favorites at SoFi Stadium, but this season isn’t the start the reigning Super Bowl champions wanted.

There were also critical errors and worrisome signs in the games against Atlanta and Arizona. The games against Buffalo and San Francisco were full of it. The Cowboys aren’t on the level of the Bills or the 49ers, but Dallas is playing well and has won three straight games.

The Cowboys defense was saved by takeaways last season. From a yards-per-game standpoint and some other metrics, this really wasn’t a good group, but a large number of interceptions covered up the bad moments. This season, Dallas ranks third in points per allowable drive, despite only having four takeaways in four games. The base defense plays well, especially against the pass, which is a real problem for a Rams team that has shown little experience handling football. Dallas has allowed five yards per carry, but the Rams aren’t profiling themselves as a team that can capitalize on them.

Los Angeles has rushed for just 4.7 yards per game and has nine turnovers against seven offensive touchdowns. Unless Cooper Kupp gets his hands on the football, this offense doesn’t really move. Even then, Kupp only averaged 9.6 yards per reception. Tyler Higbee has just 9.4 yards per reception and 14 more catches than the third-place receiver.

Most teams around the NFL have taken the hallmarks of Sean McVay’s offense. He’s had a ton of success with it, so it’s nothing new for the Rams to see defensive moves tailored to stop him. Last season, teams still couldn’t stop it. This season they have. The 16 sacks absorbed by Matthew Stafford has a lot to do with that. Ditto for the aforementioned lack of a running game at 3.3 yards per game.

The Rams don’t need to win or even cover in blowout fashion this week. They just need to show competence on offense and drop the chips where they want. The Rams are first in average starting position, fifth in possession time per drive and sixth in plays per drive, yet they rank 21st in yards per drive and 16th in points per drive.

Given the Rams’ limited explosive game potential and a low 43 total, it seems like a win by six points or more would be quite a challenge. Here it would be cowboys or nothing.

Tip: Cowboys +5½

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https://www.latimes.com/sports/rams/story/2022-10-07/rams-vs-49ers-betting-odds-lines-and-picks-against-the-spread Rams vs. Cowboys: Betting odds, lines, picks against the spread

Emma Bowman

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