The Las Vegas Raiders look to keep their playoff hopes alive when they travel to take on the slipping Los Angeles Rams.
Las Vegas Raiders (5-7) @ Los Angeles Rams (3-9)
- Location: SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, CA
- Time: Thursday, December 8th at 8:15 p.m. ET
- Channel: Amazon Prime
- SPREAD: LV -6
- OVER/UNDER: 44.5
- MONEYLINE: LV (-260), LAR (+210)
After a slow start to the season, the Raiders have won three straight games and are back in the playoff race in the AFC. After a crucial 27-20 win against the divisional rival Los Angeles Chargers, they now head to Los Angeles to take on a reeling Rams team that is now 3-9 on the season after winning the Super Bowl last year.
Injuries to Cooper Kupp, Matthew Stafford, and Allen Robinson have crushed the Rams’ offense, but it wasn’t particularly explosive before they got hurt either. The Rams are 25th in the league in passing offense this season, averaging 195.8 yards per game through the air, and just 30th in rushing offense with an average of 87.3 yards per game.
On the whole, Los Angeles is 29th in the league in scoring offense with an average of 16.8 points per contest, so they don’t seem primed to take advantage of a Las Vegas defense that is 27th in opponent’s scoring rate and 27th in yards allowed per play.
Los Angeles’ running game has been a mess this year, but the backfield seems to have reverted back to Cam Akers, who was expected to be traded or cut in the middle of the season. Last week against the Seahawks he rushed for 60 yards on 17 rush carries and scored two touchdowns. Since the Raiders are allowing 113.8 rushing yards per game this season, that might be the best avenue of attack for the Rams.
That’s also because we don’t know who will be the quarterback. John Wolford has been starting since Matthew Stafford got hurt, but the Rams claimed Baker Mayfield off of waivers on Tuesday, so there’s a chance he could be thrust into the starting role.
Regardless of who starts under center, injuries mean that the two leading receivers remaining in Los Angeles are Tyler Higbee (50 catches, 444 yards) and Ben Skowronek (31 catches, 284 yards), which is not exactly an intimidating group.
On offense, the Raiders are 11th in the league in rushing yards per game, ninth in passing offense with 241.5 yards per game, and tied for the seventh most passing touchdowns per game. Meanwhile, the Rams are 22nd in scoring defense, allowing an average of 23.3 points per game, so the Raiders shouldn’t have too much trouble putting up points.
Derek Carr is 258-of-414 passing on the season for 2,980 yards with 20 touchdowns and eight interceptions, averaging just shy of 250 passing yards per game. While those are not eye-popping numbers, he has been consistent and should have room to work against a Rams defense that has given up the third most passing yards over the last three games.
When Carr takes to the air, he’s almost always looking for Davante Adams, who leads the team with 79 receptions for 1,176 yards plus 12 touchdowns in his first season since coming over from Green Bay. He will likely be covered by Jalen Ramsey, but that hasn’t stopped many receivers this season, so it’s not much to be worried about with Adams. Mack Hollins (45 catches, 566 yards, three touchdowns) has also stepped up with Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow hurt.
However, the real star for the Raiders has been running back Josh Jacobs, who has 1,303 rushing yards on 242 carries with 10 touchdowns. Despite many people assuming Josh McDaniels would bring in a committee approach to the running game, Jacobs has been the team’s bell cow and carried them to a few wins this year. With Aaron Donald, Travin Howard, Terrell Lewis, and David Long all not practicing for the Rams on Monday or Tuesday, Jacobs could be in for another big game.
Raiders 30 Rams 20
Top Player Props:
If you’re going to be betting on action besides the spread, here are three player props we like from Thursday night’s game:
Derek Carr over 245.5 Passing Yards
We covered the Rams’ struggles of late against the pass, and this total is actually below Carr’s weekly average. Without Aaron Donald, I don’t expect there to be much pressure on Carr, so I think he can hit some big plays and go over this prop.
Where to bet: -120 at BetMGM Sportsbook
Josh Jacobs under 89.5 rushing yards
I know I mentioned how good Jacobs has been, but he’s also been nursing a calf injury that has kept him out of practice. I don’t expect him to be 100% for this game, and I also don’t expect Las Vegas to need to rely on him heavily to win this one. The risk is that he breaks one big run to cover the prop, but I expect Las Vegas will be able to rest him a lot in the second half, so I’m going to take the under
Where to bet: -114 on FanDuel
Cam Akers under 44.5 rushing yards
Cam Akers went over this prop last week, but barely, getting just 60 yards on 17 carries, which is not efficient at all. The issue there is also that the Rams kept that game close, so they were able to rely on Akers. When they are down and need to catch up, they’ve been using Kyren Williams far more as their pass-catching back. I expect the Rams to be trailing a bunch here, which makes this more of a Williams game than an Akers game.
Where to bet: -114 at FanDuel Sportsbook