Hill Adds Value to Rams, Bet 1.4 Units Against Raiders

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 25, 2014 8:32 PM GMT

Raiders are off the schneid. They carry a one-game winning streak into Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, who are enjoying success against the NFL odds with the return of Shaun Hill.

Jason’s record after Week 11: 29-43 ATS, 13-17-1 Totals

Profit: minus-45.95 units

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Latavius Murray. We thought he might do some damage for the Oakland Raiders in last Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, but we weren’t expecting 112 yards and two touchdowns – on just four carries. So much for Jonas Gray. Murray suffered a concussion and had to leave the game in the second quarter, but the Raiders (+7.5 at home) won anyway, 24-20.

Not only did the Raiders earn their first win of the season, they also improved to a profitable 6-5 against NFL odds. They’ll try to keep the good times rolling this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, CBS) when they visit the St. Louis Rams, who have paid out in back-to-back games since putting Shaun Hill back under center. Which team should we add to our NFL picks? Our consensus reports at press time have 55 percent of bettors on St. Louis as a 7.5-point home chalk, with 75 percent of bettors pounding the OVER on the total of 43 points.


Murray’s Beeswax
The big question for this matchup is whether or not Murray will be cleared to play. He has no history of concussions – none reported, at least. For now, Murray and the Raiders are optimistic that he will clear league protocols and play against the Rams (4-7 SU, 5-6 ATS).

What we can count on is that Murray will get plenty of touches when he does return. Although he didn’t start against Kansas City, Murray did come in early to spell Darren McFadden (3.4 yards per carry). Then the floodgates opened. Murray’s two touchdowns – including a 90-yard romp, the longest by a Raiders tailback since Bo Jackson in 1992 – were the first two rushing TDs the Chiefs had allowed all season. McFadden, by the way, finished the game with 29 yards on 12 carries.

A healthy Murray might be all Oakland needs to bridge the gap between itself and St. Louis. According to the Simple Rating System at Pro Football Reference, the Raiders checked in at minus-6.0 SRS heading into Week 13, not far behind the Rams at minus-4.7. Using those SRS numbers as a rough guide, we can estimate a point spread of Rams –4 for Sunday’s contest. Perhaps St. Louis is a little too chalky at –7.5.


Running Up That Hill
However, if we’re giving the Raiders credit for adding Murray to the mix, then we should consider doing the same for the Rams when it comes to Hill. Except the long-time veteran backup hasn’t necessarily been an upgrade over Austin Davis. It’s a small sample size, but Hill only has a 71.3 passer rating this year, well behind Davis at 85.1. Hill also threw an untimely interception at the end of last Sunday’s 27-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers (–4 at home), with the Rams at the San Diego 4-yard line with under a minute to play.

Ah, how quickly we forget. The week before, Hill was the hero in a surprise 22-7 victory over the mighty Denver Broncos (–8 away), making very few mistakes in his return to active duty. The Rams defense did the rest, picking off Peyton Manning twice. We’ve already seen the Rams pull off some stunning upsets over the Seattle Seahawks (–6.5 away) and the San Francisco 49ers (–10.5 at home) with Austin at the controls. If Hill can keep doing what he’s been doing, it could take four full quarters of Murray goodness to keep Oakland in the hunt this week.


The Five Stars
Depth/Travel/Rest: STL
Defense/Special Teams: EVEN
Coaching: STL
Market Bias: EVEN
Betting Line Value: OAK

Verdict: 1-star pick on STL

Free NFL Pick: Bet 1.4 units on the Rams –7 (+100) at BetDSI

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