NFL Week 1 Preseason Odds – Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams

Written by:
Phil Simon
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It’s a meaningless game in early August but it’s the start of what hopefully is a path back to SoFi Stadium in February for the Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams. Tampa Bay made history last year playing the Super Bowl in its home stadium and there’s always a chance these two clubs can square off again in SB LVI. But before we jump too far ahead let’s take care of business in Week 1 of the preseason. The teams are facing each other for the first time in their new digs after last preseason was canceled, and there will be fans in the stands getting their first glimpse of the gazillion-dollar stadium.

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams
Date and Time: Saturday, August 14, 2021, 10 p.m. ET
Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Opening NFL Odds: Chargers -3, O/U 35.5
Football Team at Patriots TV Coverage: NFL Network

Odds Analysis

Sean McVay has a history of not playing starters in any preseason game and a year away from the exhibition contests hasn’t changed his strategy. In fact, he’s playing it even more cautious with a number of backups and rotation guys also taking a seat. As a result the Rams are positioned as a 3-point underdog on the NFL betting line. You might think the Rams would stink with regulars on the bench, but they are 4-2 SU and 4-1-1 ATS at home in preseason games under their fifth-year coach. Brandon Staley gets his first test with the big headset and it just happens to come against his former team, another reason why the Bolts are favored by field goal.

Los Angeles Chargers

Both teams call SoFi home, but for administrative purposes this is a road game for the Chargers. It will be interesting to see how many fans they have in the LA area since abandoning San Diego a few years back and showing off in front of Rams’ fans would be huge. During their first three years in LA, home games often felt like road tilts with opposing fans packing the soccer stadium in Carson. I guess they should be used to the feeling by now.

After coordinating the Rams No. 1 ranked defense last season, Staley makes the move to the co-tenants for his first head coaching job. And the Bolts also have two new coordinators in Joe Lombardi and Renaldo Hill. That means a lot of new schemes and work to be done with exhibition games the best tool for that. With a tough opening part of their regular season schedule the Bolts have little time to get ready so expect them to make the most of it.

With some regulars expected to see action, the staff has decided to sit Justin Herbert. The franchise QB earned Rookie of the Year honors last year and has worked well with Lombardi in camp. Chase Daniel takes a role he’s familiar with as the backup with Easton Stick and KJ Costello fighting for reps.

Los Angeles Rams

As expected the Rams won’t play starters and key backups. That means we won’t see the new-look offense under Matthew Stafford until the regular season. It’s a plan McVay used his first three years on the job and he didn’t have to make the decision last year with no preseason games. Showing just how meaningless the games are, the Rams won at least 10 games three times and recorded nine victories the other season while making three playoff appearances and reaching the Super Bowl following the 2018 season.

What is their motivation then? Well, they are breaking in a new defensive coordinator in Raheem Morris, though I doubt anything changes. And the Rams need to find depth on the offensive line and at running back. “We’ll get a chance to see a lot of our depth guys because there’s going to be probably about 35 players that are not playing in this game,” McVay said.

With Cam Akers sidelined for the year there will be plenty of chances in the running game for Xavier Jones, Jake Funk and Raymond Calais to make a statement. And the Rams will go further down the depth chart at QB with Devlin Hodges and Bryce Perkins splitting snaps.

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We won’t get a Herbert-Stafford matchup and we won’t even see Rams’ backup John Wolford, so give the edge to the Chargers in this one. The Bolts have plenty of bodies on defense that’ll make the going tough for the Rams putting value on the UNDER.

NFL Score Prediction: Chargers 20, Rams 10

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- Phil Simon,

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