Rams Are All-In for 2018 ... Worth a Super Bowl Futures Bet?

rams football

Jay Pryce

Friday, April 13, 2018 2:49 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 13, 2018 2:49 PM GMT

The Rams have been the most aggressive team in the NFL this offseason, making their Super Bowl odds shrink considerably. Can they compete for a championship? You bet, and there is still plenty of value to buy in.

Rams Super Bowl 53 Odds: +1000-12002018-19 NFC Championship: +500

The Rams are going all-in to win Super Bowl 53, easily the most aggressive NFL team in the market this offseason. General manager Les Snead is making moves to put this team over the edge talent-wise, including acquiring defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, former Pro Bowl cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, and most recently wide receiver Brandin Cooks in a trade from New England. Depending on the sportsbook, L.A. is anywhere from second to fourth choice at +1000-1200 odds to hoist the Lombardi Trophy next February in Atlanta. This is nearly half the +1800 offered pre-draft and free agency in the first wave of Super Bowl futures. Oddsmakers opened the Rams seventh choice overall.

Believe the hype. Sean McVay, the youngest coach in NFL history, baffled defenses last season with his brilliant offensive schemes. He turned around a unit that averaged 14.0 points per game in 2016 into the third-highest scoring outfit (28.9) in the league. A Mike Shanahan disciple, McVay implemented a zone offense reminiscent of the 2016 Atlanta Falcons. It rejuvenated Todd Gurley and the running game, while allowing quarterback Jared Goff to excel in play action. Overall, the unit proved the most efficient in the NFL, putting up 0.461 points per play.

Little has changed with McVay’s offense. The squad lost wideout Sammy Watkins to the Chiefs, but the line and remaining skill players remain largely intact. Cooks may prove a better fit with fellow receivers Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods than Watkins. The trio of receivers each ranked in the top 25 in production last season, and Cooks, a true vertical threat, will relish Goff’s arm. The 2017 Pro Bowler was the sixth most accurate passer on deep balls last season. Expect last year’s 7.2 yards per pass attempt to inch up ever so slightly.

The defense is where most of the offseason changes are taking place, and the first team is downright scary. Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, a schematic genius known for getting the most out of aging stars, is determined to shut down any passing threat he faces. Suh joins Aaron Donald as the best one-two inside punch in the NFL. The two compiled 17 sacks, 21 hits and 96 hurries on quarterbacks combined last season. Listen to Donald give his take on the opportunity to bring in Suh:

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“If he [@NdamukongSuh] can come in and do what he’s been doing… bring him in, Coach. We’re trying to win a Super Bowl.” - @AaronDonald97

“Behind the Grind” Episode Three: Hard Work Pays Off

Watch full episode 📺 » https://t.co/BZdvVxAhjd pic.twitter.com/VWjYckbmED

— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) April 13, 2018
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Couple this with a secondary full of shutdown options, and this unit could rival some of the best Ds ever ('85 Bears,' 00 Ravens, '13 Seahawks, etc.). To do so, it will have to improve stopping the run. It yielded 4.6 yards per carry last season, 30th in the league. Equally a product of chasing a lead, L.A. went 2-5 SU and ATS in 2017 when allowing more than 123 yards on the ground. It went 8-1 SU and 6-3 ATS in all other contests. The linebacker corps and defensive ends will have improve in this area particularly to reach elite status.

The NFL will likely release team schedules next week, giving the betting market a refined forecast on the Rams win totals and chances to make the postseason. They are co-top choice with the Eagles to win the NFC at +500 odds. Pretty good value for a team that ranked third in the league in average margin of victory (5.8 points per game). Buy in.

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