NFL Betting Odds: NFC West Predictions 2019

Date | AuthorDanny Vorgs

Last Updated: 2019-08-11

The NFC West sets up as a fascinating division this season in my opinion. How the LA Rams handle their tough loss in Super Bowl 53 immediately comes to mind however the arrival of Kliff Kingsbury and his Air Raid offense in Arizona may represent the most intriguing college to pros transition for an offensive HC since Chip Kelly. The return of Jimmy G with Kyle Shanahan who is now entering his 3rd season in San Francisco with just 10 wins under his belt will also be something to watch. All of these teams as well as the Seahawks were previewed in detail by none other than Adam Burke himself and are available here.

All the NFL previews examined the current spread for the 16 upcoming games for each team this season and applied the metric of expected win percentage to each of these lines to arrive at an implied wins total. This number could then be compared to the posted win total for each team. While we certainly know that a lot can (and will) change for all of these teams between late June and say a mid-December game in Week 15, it is a useful exercise to see how each team compares to one another at this stage assuming ideal circumstances for both teams.

As many readers likely know, I maintain a model for the NFL which creates a spread and total for each game that I rely on heavily in my handicapping and writing here at BTB. Therefore, for this series of articles, we thought it would be useful to apply my model spreads to the current lines and implied win totals listed at CG Technologies. As usual, some of these numbers will be in line with Vegas expectations while others will not. For each team, we’ll try to see why we agree or isolate the possible reasons for our divergence.

San Francisco 49ers

(Lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
(Personal NFL model lines based on expected starting Week 1 lineup as of July 11, 2019)

Week Opponent CG Tech. Line Expected Wins NFL Model Line Expected Wins
1 @ Tampa Bay +1 .49 pk .50
2 @ Cincinnati pk .50 +4 .34
3 Pittsburgh pk .50 -.5 .50
4 BYE
5 Cleveland (Monday Night) -2.5 .55 -1 .51
6 @ LA Rams +8.5 .20 +6.5 .28
7 @ Washington +1 .49 +.5 .50
8 Carolina -2.5 .55 -1 .51
9 @ Arizona (Thursday Night) -3 .59 -1.5 .53
10 Seattle   (Monday Night) -1.5 .53 +2.5 .45
11 Arizona -8.5 .80 -6 .71
12 Green Bay pk .50 +2 .46
13 @ Baltimore +4 .34 +2.5 .45
14 @ New Orleans +8.5 .20 +10 .16
15 Atlanta -1.5 .53 -.5 .50
16 LA Rams +2 .46 +3.5 .36
17 @ Seattle +5.5 .31 +2.5 .45

Win Total (CG Technologies): 8 (Over -120 / Under +100)
Expected Wins (CG Technologies): 7.54
Expected Wins (Personal NFL Model): 7.21

After concluding the 2017 season with 5 straight wins, perhaps no team entered last season with more hype than the San Francisco 49ers. As we know, however, the season came crashing down in Week 3 as QB Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL on a 4th quarter run and after a 1-1 start, the 9ers went just 3-11 the rest of the way. While there is little to celebrate in a 4-12 season, there were a few silver linings. For one, 2nd year TE George Kittle had a breakout campaign as he ripped off an 88-1,377-5 stat line while making his 1st Pro Bowl and likely winning a few fantasy leagues along the way. Additionally, while many stats I’ll sight were down on the 49ers in 2018, Warren Sharp’s custom metric of Early Down Success Rate (EDSR) showed the 49ers to be only one of two teams to finish in the top 10 on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. That certainly speaks to the coaching job done by 3rd year HC Kyle Shanahan and also provides a reason for optimism for the 9ers upcoming year.

Injuries did not only hit the San Francisco quarterback position in 2018. Overall they finished 4th in the illustrious category of Adjusted Games Lost last season (105.5) and had the 5th most on the offensive side of the ball (61.3). Outside of Garoppolo, these offensive injuries landed almost entirely on the skill positions of running back and wide receiver as RBs Jerick McKinnon and Raheem Mostert as well as WRs Pierre Garcon, Dante Pettis, and Marquise Goodwin each missed all to parts of the season. As we look ahead to the offense in 2019 we can assume a healthy Garoppolo and much-improved quarterback play, however, expecting the elite level production he flashed at the end of 2018 may be a bit much, at least early in the year. The skill-position group will have a bit of a different look than last year as McKinnon will return and join newly signed Tevin Coleman in the backfield. McKinnon and Coleman as well as returning running backs Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert all graded out well in their last season of action according to PFF. How the talent in a crowded backfield will be allocated remains to be seen however the additions of McKinnon and Coleman will certainly make it more versatile with their abilities to catch the ball out of the backfield. The draft day additions of WRs Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd will pair with young pass-catchers Pettis and Kittle to provide Jimmy G with an interesting mix of receivers this year. A lot will need to be shaken out with regard to roles this season at both the RB and WR positions however this 18th ranked group surrounds the young QB with a lot of talent and potential. Much of the responsibility as to how this potential plays out in ‘19 will depend on the men blocking for Garoppolo. Veteran T Joe Staley and 2nd year T Mike McGlinchey are solid pieces and will provide stability and leadership at the bookends. The interior of the line is a bit more concerning as guards Laken Tomlinson and Mike Pearson have yet to demonstrate anything more than serviceable play while C Weston Richburg’s PFF grade has declined every year since his excellent 2015 campaign while with the Giants. The model currently touts the San Fran offensive line as 12th overall however some improvement from the interior could boost this unit into the top 10 as the season progresses.

The numbers are somewhat mixed with regards to the 49er defense. On one hand, they ranked 26th in Defensive DVOA and 28th in Total Points Allowed yet, on the other hand, they were a respectable 8th in Yards Per Play Allowed and 9th in Defensive EDSR. The most eye-popping stat with regards to the San Francisco defense, however, was their league-worst 7 total takeaways last year. This inexplicably low number of takeaways is even more mind-blowing when considering that it set the NFL record in futility that was previously held by 1982 Colts (11) and that the Green Bay Packers hold the record for takeaways in a single game (during the Super Bowl era) when they accumulated 5 picks and 6 fumbles from the San Diego Chargers in Week 4 of the 1978 season! This stat will surely turn around by sheer luck, however, the talent on the 49er defense is currently a mix of aging veterans, talented players returning from injury, promising youth, and a blue-chipper for good measure. The San Francisco Front 7 is the better of the two units and rank 16th according to the model. 1st time Pro Bowler DT DeForest Buckner anchors the line that received some new and promising pieces this offseason. 2nd overall pick DE Nick Bosa and free-agent signee DE Dee Ford bring a ton of talent and upside potential to the new 9er line. Injured LB Kwon Alexander was also brought in via FA to boast the linebacking core and replace Reuben Foster who was released last season. Altogether this unit has solid upside potential as defenses often show more variance season-to-season and therefore it would not be all that surprising to see this group catalyze a quick turnaround. They will need support from a secondary that has a few question marks and currently sits at 28th in my rankings. Starting CBs Jason Verrett and Richard Sherman would have been a formidable pair in 2015. Since that year, however, age has begun to catch up to Sherman who last year posted the lowest PFF grade of his career while Verrett has played in just 5 games since his Pro Bowl year of 2015. Adrian Colbert was the lowest graded safety in the league according to PFF and his partner Jaquiski Tartt has been a replacement-level player throughout his 4-year NFL career.

Even in the age of analytics, the winner of the turnover battle still remains the single most important determinant to the outcome of a football game. Given that San Francisco was a -25 in turnover differential last season we can certainly expect some positive regression in that department which should lead to more wins. Add to that, a quality head coach, better injury luck and the addition of some talented pieces, the 49ers should be improved in 2019. Although the model sees this as an under team in 2019 it cannot account for a likely positive regression in the areas of turnovers and health. Nor can it fully account for a capable coach and the positivity of a locker room which can get off to a good start given the way the schedule sets up. Therefore I’m going to buck the model here and take the 49ers over the 8 wins for 2019.

 

Seattle Seahawks

(Lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
(Personal NFL model lines based on expected starting Week 1 lineup as of July 11, 2019)

Week Opponent CG Tech. Line Expected Wins NFL Model Line Expected Wins
1 Cincinnati -8 .79 -4.5 .67
2 @ Pittsburgh +3 .41 +4 .34
3 New Orleans pk .50 +2 .46
4 @ Arizona -5 .68 -3 .59
5 LA Rams (Thursday Night) +1 .49 +1.5 .47
6 @ Cleveland +1 .49 +3 .41
7 Baltimore -4.5 .67 -5.5 .69
8 @ Atlanta -1.5 .53 +4 .34
9 Tampa Bay -7.5 .78 -7.5 .78
10 @ San Francisco (Monday Night) +1.5 .47 +1 .49
11 BYE
12 @ Philadelphia (Sunday Night) +3.5 .36 +6 .29
13 Minnesota (Monday Night) -3 .59 -3.5 .64
14 @ LA Rams (Sunday Night) +7.5 .22 +4.5 .33
15 @ Carolina +1.5 .47 +4.5 .33
16 Arizona -12 .89 -7.5 .78
17 San Francisco -5.5 .69 -2.5 .55

Win Total (CG Technologies): 8.5 (Over -140 / Under +120)
Expected Wins (CG Technologies): 9.03
Expected Wins (Personal NFL Model): 8.09

Jerry Glanville famously coined the phrase “Not For Long” in reference to the NFL in the late 1980s. Like any quote or phase, this one has stuck because of its subtle insightfulness. Yet, we can’t necessarily apply the “Not For Long” moniker to the Seattle Seahawks during QB Russell Wilson and HC Pete Carroll’s tenure. 2018 marked the pair’s 7th NFL season together and in that time they’ve amassed a 75-36-1 record, a Super Bowl, and two pretty solid resumes worthy of future Hall of Fame consideration. With the slow depletion of the once fierce Seahawk defense, it was thought that this team would decline however they have remained a steady and feisty bunch. In fact, while together the Seahawks have yet to have less than 9 wins in a season. So it this the year that Seattle regresses? Or does the 2nd best QB and HC tandem in the league continue to buck Coach Glanville’s phase? With an RSW number sitting at 8.5 it would appear that the betting market is currently split on their opinion.

When he enters his age 31 season, Russell Wilson will do so with an impressive track record. He’s collected 5 Pro-Bowl appearances, an 8-5 postseason record, and never missed a game. He is the unquestioned leader of the Seattle team and rightfully so. With the 6th overall QB grade in 2018 according to PFF, and above-average marks in completion %, Yards per Attempt, and QBR, he remains in the prime of his career and will continue to be the centerpiece of this offense moving forward. The retirement of long-time WR Doug Balwin represents the loss of a reliable target for Wilson however he continues to be surrounded with a decent collection of skill-position talent which the model lists in the 19th overall spot. Replacing Baldwin along the outside is expected to be intriguing 2nd round draft pick, DK Metcalf. Metcalf posted an excellent 40 time and a ridiculous 27 bench reps at the combine but neck injuries and a poor showing in lateral drills nearly dropped him to the 3rd round. It will be interesting to see how he transitions to the NFL however it is unlikely he will match Balwin’s steady production in year 1. Slot receiver Tyler Lockett is Wilson’s best pass-catching option currently. Last season he posted a 67% success rate when targeted from inside and was Football Outsiders #1 WR in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) as well as DVOA. He will likely be asked to shoulder more of the load this season. WR David Moore has been just average thus far in his 1st two years while Ed Dickson isn’t a threat at the TE position. Despite having an elite QB the Seahawks surprisingly relied on their running game more than one would expect in 2018 as they were the league’s most run-heavy team. While many would argue that this isn’t a solid strategy in today’s pass-happy NFL, Seattle has remained an above-average offense with regard to Offensive DVOA over the past three seasons. Assuming this philosophy continues in 2019, expect RBs Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny to shoulder the majority of carries. Carson, the 249th pick in the 2017 draft has been a nice find for the Seahawks as he was PFF’s 5th overall RB and FO’s 17th RB in DVOA. Blocking for Wilson will be the model’s 23rd overall unit. LT Duane Brown is a steady and elite piece for this unit however the rest of the group are average at best. For most teams, a below-average offensive line would likely be a detriment however as we’ve seen, Wilson can be an escape wizard in the backfield and mitigate his offensive line’s lack of talent. While this group is slightly better then other blockers he’s had over his career, it’s likely that he will continue to receive below-average protection. This hasn’t been an issue in the past however Wilson is now on the wrong side of 30.

With the departure of Earl Thomas this offseason, the Seahawks lost the final remaining piece of their infamous “Legion of Boom” secondary. Also gone from the Seattle defense is productive DE Frank Clark and solid Slot CB Justin Coleman. Their subtractions have left this team fairly weak with regards to pass rusher and secondary depth. To address the defensive line former Lion DE Ziggy Ansah was signed via free agency. Ansah is a plus player when healthy however he started just 2 games last season and has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. Ansah will line up with ascending DT Jarran Reed and rookie DE LJ Collier along the line. Long-time Seahawks KJ Wright and Bobby Wagner remain the starters at the linebacker position. Despite their approach of age 30, Wright continues to be solid and Wagner an elite linebacker. Lack of depth and high-end talent along the defensive line place the Front 7 group at the 22nd spot according to the model. The weak spot for the defense is the secondary which falls in at an ugly 30th overall. The best piece on this unit is S Bradley McDougald who has been a consistently above-average player throughout his 5 years in Seattle. Surrounding him however is a group of replacement level to below-average players at this point in their careers.

Altogether, the Seattle defensive unit has slowly bled away the talent from their Super Bowl years due to decline and Wilson’s contract. Overall, this defense projects to be the least talented of Wilson’s time in Seattle which places even greater pressure on the quarterback to perform and put points on the board. As we have seen numerous times Wilson is more than capable of pulling a rabbit out of his hat yet has the talent drain in Seattle become too much for him to overcome? While it’s difficult to bet against the duo of Wilson and Carroll that’s the lean for Seattle this season. Wilson IS this team and by replacing him with a solid QB like Matt Stafford in the model would place the Seahawks in the bottom quarter in the league. Therefore, while the Seahawks have certainly bucked Coach Glanville’s “Not For Long” I believe that their above .500 streak will come to an end this season as the under 8.5 wins is the side for the Seahawks for 2019.

 

Arizona Cardinals

(Lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
(Personal NFL model lines based on expected starting Week 1 lineup as of July 17, 2019)

Week Opponent CG Tech. Line Expected Wins NFL Model Line Expected Wins
1 Detroit +1.5 .47 +1.5 .47
2 @ Baltimore +8.5 .20 +6 .29
3 Carolina +3 .41 +1.5 .47
4 Seattle +5 .32 +4 .34
5 @ Cincinnati +4 .34 +8 .21
6 Atlanta +3 .41 +4 .34
7 @ NY Giants +4.5 .33 +4 .34
8 @ New Orleans +14.5 .05 +14 .08
9 San Francisco (Thursday Night) +3 .41 +2 .46
10 @ Tampa Bay +4.5 .33 +3.5 .36
11 @ San Francisco +8.5 .20 +6.5 .28
12 BYE
13 LA Rams +8 .21 +8 .21
14 Pittsburgh +3.5 .36 +2.5 .45
15 Cleveland +3 .41 +2 .46
16 @ Seattle +12 .11 +8.5 .20
17 @ LA Rams +14 .08 +10.5 .14

Win Total (CG Technologies): 5 (Over -110 / Under -100)
Expected Wins (CG Technologies): 4.64
Expected Wins (Personal NFL Model): 5.01

It would be difficult to argue that the 2018 Arizona Cardinals were anything but an unmitigated disaster. Rookie QB Josh Rosen was placed in the unenviable position of attempting to lead an offense that sustained the most Adjusted Games Lost along the offensive line in the league (47.8) and that started 14 different blockers last year. With zero continuity along the line, only one receiver who had caught more than 100 balls in his career, and a running back returning from knee surgery it is little surprise that the Cardinals offense was at or very near the bottom of nearly every statistical category last season. While this situation may not have entirely been his fault, 1st year HC Steve Wilks was the fall guy and got the ax after just one year. In light of a terrible offensive season, the front office decided to throw caution to the wind and ink Texas Tech HC Kliff Kingsbury. Kingsbury brings a wide-open approach to the passing game with his “Air Raid” offense which was successful at the college level. How it transitions to the pro game remains to be seen.

To lead this new offense, Heisman Trophy winner QB Kyler Murray was selected with the 1st overall pick in the draft while Rosen was shipped off to Miami. Murray is no stranger to Kingsbury’s offense which he ran while at Oklahoma and seems an ideal fit for the new system. Surrounding Murray is a cast of offensive talent which boasts veteran RB David Johnson, future Hall of Fame WR Larry Fitzgerald, and a group of rookies and young talent specifically chosen to fill roles in the new offense. WRs Christian Kirk and Andy Isabella are worth noting as both players have the potential to break out this upcoming season. Kirk finished tied for 3rd in receptions amongst rookie WRs last year despite playing in just 12 games while Isabella finished #1 in receiving yards and 2nd in receptions during his last season in college. Both could be target monsters this season and should be on your fantasy radar come draft day. It is difficult to say what predictive value some of last years player grades and statistics mean given the mess the offense was as well as the fact that they will be deployed in a unique and different system this season however for what it’s worth, the Cardinals skill position talent sits at 31st in my model currently.

As we know, Kliff Kingsbury could be the next Bill Walsh with regards to offensive innovation yet it will mean little if his quarterback doesn’t have time to throw. Luckily, the Air Raid offense does schematically set up well for a poor offensive line because that’s just what Arizona appears to have as it ranks 26th according to the model. Tackles DJ Humphries and Marcus Gilbert are solid pieces at the bookends however the interior line is simply not good and this could potentially be an issue which is exploited as defensive coordinators adjust to the new offense.

While the Arizona offense is currently low in the model rankings, the system change and new philosophy provide it with solid upside potential. The same cannot be said, at least not to the same extent, for the Cardinal defense. Coming in the 26th spot overall, the Arizona defense will be returning to a 3-4 scheme after playing in a 4-3 alignment last year. The Front 7 added some interesting pieces this offseason in veteran LBs Terrell Suggs and Jordan Hicks as they look to improve a front which ranked 29th rush defense according to Football Outsiders. Both players have value and help improve that area of weakness however Suggs is likely playing in his final professional season and Hicks has been hampered by injuries throughout his career. Other signees such as DT Darius Philion and DE Brooks Reed have had success in the league and will pair with mainstays on the Cardinal front such as Chandler Jones, Rodney Gunter, and Corey Peters. The Secondary performed much better last season as they were the 8th ranked unit with regards to passing defense. Rookie 2nd round pick CB Byron Murphy was added to the mix with talented CB Patrick Peterson and S Budda Baker. With Peterson the secondary can be a strength however the young CB will be suspended for the first 6 games of the regular season. Without Peterson the secondary ranks 28th according to the model. New DC Vance Joseph had some success with the Dolphin defense in 2016 and will have experienced players to build around in 2019. As a whole, however, outside of Peterson, the group lacks the elite talent necessary to improve any further than a slightly below-average defensive overall.

With a new coach, new quarterback, and a new system there will likely be some growing pains for the Cards this season. Lucky for them they have a 4th place schedule and play 4 of their 1st 6 games at home. Another benefit is that they only play 6 teams in the upper half of the league according to the NFL model and only one of them (Atlanta) in the 1st 7 games. These scheduling advantages certainly provide a benefit to a growing team especially during the 6 games without Patrick Peterson. That being said the model aligns almost perfectly with the market’s 5 win projection and I personally have had a recent habit of being “early” on teams (Chicago 2 years ago and Cleveland last year). Therefore, while I think there is some upside for Arizona this year, the youth, offensive line, and lack of elite defensive talent is going to make it a lean under 5 games for 2019. 2020? With some good drafting and front office moves, things could look very promising, very quickly.

 

LA Rams

(Lines Weeks 2-16 from CG Technology as of May 16, 2019)
(Personal NFL model lines based on expected starting Week 1 lineup as of July 17, 2019)

Week Opponent CG Tech. Line Expected Wins NFL Model Line Expected Wins
1 @ Carolina -3 .59 pk .50
2 New Orleans -3 .59 pk .50
3 @ Cleveland -3 .59 -1.5 .53
4 Tampa Bay -11 .87 -10 .84
5 @ Seattle (Thursday Night) -1 .51 -1.5 .53
6 San Francisco -8.5 .80 -6.5 .72
7 @ Atlanta -2 .54 pk .50
8 Cincinnati

(London)

-13 .89 -5 .68
9 BYE
10 @ Pittsburgh pk .50 -.5 .50
11 Chicago  (Sunday Night) -5.5 .69 -4.5 .67
12 Baltimore (Monday Night) -7.5 .78 -7.5 .78
13 @ Arizona -8 .79 -8 .79
14 Seattle    (Sunday Night) -7.5 .78 -4.5 .67
15 @ Dallas pk .50 -2.5 .54
16 @ San Francisco -2 .54 -3.5 .64
17 Arizona -14 .92 -10.5 .86

Win Total (CG Technologies): 10.5 (Over +120 / Under -140)
Expected Wins (CG Technologies): 10.88
Expected Wins (Personal NFL Model): 10.25

In Sean McVay’s 2 years with the LA Rams, they have quickly transformed themselves from a perennial afterthought to a consistent Super Bowl contender. With a 24-8 record and an NFC Championship over those 2 seasons, McVay and his team have become the envy of many NFL franchises. As they enter 2019, they return much of last year’s Super Bowl team and remain the odds on favorite to win the NFC West for a 3rd straight season. Will another year of growth by QB Jared Goff and other young players be enough to propel the Rams over the hump or will the chronic injuries to RB Todd Gurley and the expected improvement of other divisional foes cause them to take a step back this season?

The biggest addition to the Rams offense is likely not a draft pick or free-agent signee but rather the return of injured WR Cooper Kupp. When Kupp went down with an ACL injury in Week 10, the Rams held a 9-1 record and had an Offensive DVOA of 32.03%. Yet in the remaining 6 games without Kupp, the Rams went 4-2, saw their Offensive DVOA drop to 24.6%, and 10 points were shaved off of Goff’s completion percentage. His return will certainly benefit the Rams passing attack which also boasts talented WRs Brandon Cooks and Robert Woods. This trio (when healthy) was on the field for 92% of all offensive plays last year as McVay uses 11 personnel more than any team in the league. While Kupp’s return to regular play is likely assured for next season, the same can’t be said for All-Pro running back Todd Gurley. His shut down for the final three weeks of the season and odd usage in the postseason set off alarm bells in the NFL and fantasy community alike. Yet for his talent and record contract, the LA run game was not nearly as affected by his diminished usage as the loss of Kupp. Oddly, Gurley’s replacement, CJ Anderson, averaged 0.31 Expected Points Added per run compared to Gurley’s 0.12 last season. Anderson has departed for Detroit this offseason yet the Rams signaled Gurley’s continued muted usage moving forward as they drafted Memphis RB Darrell Henderson in the 3rd round of the draft. While it remains to be seen how the RBs will be utilized in 2019, the Rams maintain a top 5 skill position unit according to the model. The model is similarly bullish on the LA offensive line which comes in at 4th overall. Returning 4 of 5 starters from last season, this unit ranked #1 in Football Outsiders Adjusted Line Yards and 6th in Pass Protection. There is little reason to expect a fall-off for the Ram offensive line or the overall offensive production this season.

Having the back-to-back reigning Defensive Player of the Year winner Aaron Donald on your side is undoubtedly a positive for the Rams D and rightly positions them at the 6th spot in overall defense according to the model. Interestingly this high ranking on the player model disagrees largely with other metrics regarding the Rams defense as they landed in the 18th spot in FO’s Defensive Efficiency rankings and allowed a terrible 6.0 Yards Per Play in 2018. The Rams will need to improve upon these numbers this year and they will need to do so without DT Ndamukong Suh who moved on to Tampa. To replace Suh’s pressure, the Rams brought in former Packers standout Clay Matthews. Matthews is a downgrade from Suh, at least according to PFF, as he has largely been a replacement-level player for the past few years. Buoyed by Donald the Ram Front 7 sits at a mediocre 15th. The strength of the defense lies in the Ram secondary which ranks as the 3rd best unit according to the model. With talented (and expensive) corners in Aqib Talib, Marcus Peters, and Nickell Robey-Coleman, as well as new addition S Eric Weddle the Ram secondary should continue to be solid.

The LA Rams are the #5 overall team in the model rankings and are currently listed as a favorite or a pick in every game this season. They will play 5 games this year in which that will have a rest advantage vs only 2 when their opponent has a rest advantage. Additionally, they are projected to have an easier schedule with regard to opponent efficiency both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. I do expect the Rams to drop back a bit this season, as is reflected in the model’s projected wins vs the market’s implied win total however I do believe they are still the class of this division despite the likelihood of some regression. Given that they will have a win likelihood of 64% or greater in 8 of their games and are no less than 50% in any other game in 2019, I believe the Rams will win about 11 games this season and go over their 10.5 win total at “+” money.

(Editor’s note: As the division previews get posted throughout the week, we’ll link to them at the bottom of the page. Read Danny’s thoughts on the AFC EAST, AFC NORTH, AFC SOUTH, AFC WEST, NFC EAST, NFC NORTH and NFC SOUTH by clicking the appropriate link.)

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