Rams vs. Panthers Betting Odds & Predictions: Cam Newton Undervalued At Home?
Photo credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Cam Newton
Rams vs. Panthers Betting Odds
- Odds: Rams -2
- Total: 50
- Time: 1 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: FOX
All odds above are as of Thursday and via PointsBet.
Since 2000, teams that lost the Super Bowl are 3-16 against the spread in the next season opener. Will the Los Angeles Rams buck that trend on Sunday?
The market has already moved against them, going from -3 to -2 as of writing. Are our experts aligned with that movement?
They compare their projections to the odds and reveal their picks below.
Rams-Panthers Injury Report
The Rams seldom had players injured last year, and that remains the case heading into their first game.
Cam Newton was dealing with a foot injury, but practiced in full on Wednesday and is ready to roll. Both teams are healthy in this one. — Justin Bailey
Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.
Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds
- Projected Spread: Rams -0.5
- Projected Total: 51
The Rams graded as an F and the Panthers received an A-plus in my Buy/Sell Ratings. I’m looking to buy into the Panthers here as a result.
My plan was foiled a bit when Newton suffered an ankle injury in Week 3 of the preseason. He appears to be fine for Week 1, but could be limited. While waiting for that news, the line has dropped off a key number in +3. I still like the Panthers at +2.5 (available at some books) since I think this should be a pick ‘em.
The best way to buy into them here is forego the spread altogether and take them on the moneyline at +120. The betting behavior and line movement all indicate that sharps are on the Panthers this week.
The total has dropped from 51 to 49.5 at some books. I have this graded out as 51, so might nibble on the over here if the line continues to fall. The line move has not lined up with the betting behavior at all as it looks like 89% of bets have come in on the over.
Generally, Week 1 is the hardest when it comes to gauging these things because all lines have been up for months now. — Sean Koerner
Rams’ Pass Offense vs. Panthers’ Pass Defense
Lost in the talk of how Newton’s preseason injury scare would impact this game is the return of a healthy Cooper Kupp for Jared Goff.
In the Sean McVay era, Goff has averaged a middling 7.3 yards per attempt in eight games without Kupp. In 23 games with Kupp in the lineup, though, that figure skyrockets to 8.6. Kupp’s ability to win on the inside opens up the full play-calling arsenal for McVay.
The Carolina defense ranked 22nd in Football Outsiders’ pass DVOA a season ago and fields two corners — Donte Jackson and James Bradberry — who each graded outside the top 50 in Pro Football Focus’ coverage grades. — Chris Raybon
Stuckey: Panthers 1H +0.5
McVay held out his starters during the preseason again. While that did prevent injuries and is probably the smart decision in the long run, it definitely could lead to a slow start in the season opener.
The Rams did the same thing in 2018. And if you just look at the final score of their season opener vs. the lowly Raiders, you’d assume it had no adverse impact in a 33-13 blowout win. But the Rams came out extremely slow and actually trailed the Raiders 13-10 at the half before outscoring them 23-0 in the second half.
Look no further than the words of recent acquisition Eric Weddle: “I’m sure the first couple quarters, or maybe even a game, my timing will be a little off.”
There will be rust early and the Panthers can take advantage.
More importantly, I’m looking to buy the Panthers early while selling a Rams team that got very fortunate last season.
Just take a look at the differences between these teams in 2018:
- Rams’ One-Score Games: 6-1; 4-0 in field-goal games; +11 turnover margin (four more returns for TDs)
- Panthers’ One-Score Games: 3-7; 1-3 in FG games; +1 turnover margin
The Rams also recovered a league-high 66% of fumbles last season. You can expect a number closer to their 2017 rate (47%) in 2019. All of that fumble luck in all of those close games makes a huge difference.
I also believe the Rams got worse along the offensive line (up the middle) and at linebacker. Micah Kiser, who was projected to replace Mark Barron, is out for season. That means Bryce Hager, a special teamer, will now start. This LB group is horrendous and a unit Carolina can exploit.
The Panthers can also generate pressure up the middle against the Rams. And when you pressure Goff, the Rams’ offense falls apart. Goff doesn’t have the strongest arm, but since he’s so mechanically strong, he can make all the throws and very accurately — as long as he gets time.
If you can pressure Goff, he’s basically Josh Allen. In the 2018 regular season, Goff finished with a 59.8 QB rating when under pressure — 28th in the NFL among QBs with a minimum of 200 snaps, per PFF.
I’m buying the Panthers, who are improved in the trenches and have a healthy Newton who can actually throw the ball down the field.