Rams-Bengals NFL Picks: Bookies Giving League's Least Efficient Offense 8 Points?

Jason Lake

Friday, November 27, 2015 3:35 PM GMT

Apparently it doesn't matter who quarterbacks the St. Louis Rams this Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals – St. Louis is still the biggest road dog on the NFL odds board.

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 25: 43-37-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 24-31 Total

 

Who's going to start at quarterback for the St. Louis Rams this week? Will it be Case Keenum, who got his bell rung last week and is still working through the NFL's concussion protocol? Or will it be Nick Foles, who lost his starting gig to Keenum in Week 11? It remains a mystery as we go to press.

And nobody seems to care. The Rams will be visiting the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX), and despite the uncertainty over Keenum's status, St. Louis opened as a 9-point puppy on our NFL odds board – with 100 percent of first responders taking the Rams. That unanimous support extended to the moneyline, where the Rams were +340 at the open.

 

The Gurley Shuffle
There might not be that much difference in the end between Keenum and Foles. The quarterback switch was made after one too many ineffective starts from Foles; he's second-last on the QB efficiency charts at Football Outsiders, ahead of Peyton Manning. But Keenum didn't do much better in last week's 16-13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens (-3 at home). He was 12-of-26 for 136 yards, one touchdown, and -52 Total DYAR. That was good for No. 26 overall out of 28 quarterbacks in Week 11.

The Rams (4-6 SU, 4-5-1 ATS) have the least efficient offense in the league at this point, so there should be plenty of blame to spread around. However, the offensive line has done its part, allowing just 14 sacks while providing league-average run blocking. Rookie RB Todd Gurley (5.0 yards per carry) has been outstanding. In the bigger picture, the Rams have done very well at the draft when it comes to their No. 3-ranked defense, but not nearly as well on offense, and Foles was a poor fit in what has become a run-heavy scheme.

 

Bounty Bounty Bounty
So why were the Rams getting so much love at the open? Getting all those points helps. So does the fact that the Bengals (8-2 SU, 8-1-1 ATS) have lost back-to-back games. There's no need for Cincy fans to panic, though. The Bengals played very well in last week's 34-31 loss to the Arizona Cardinals (-4 at home), and that was without CB Adam Jones (foot), who was back at practice on Thursday in a limited role.

We've seen the Rams defense (led by co-ordinator Gregg Williams, he of the “Bountygate” New Orleans Saints) obliterate more than its fair share of players this year. If they can get to Andy Dalton on Sunday, he's proven to be much less effective under pressure than his contemporaries. But the Rams have a pair of key injuries on the defensive line: DE Chris Long (knee) and DE Robert Quinn (hip) are both listed as questionable to face Cincinnati. Too many things have to line up correctly for us to add St. Louis to our NFL picks this week.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Bengals -8 (-102) at Pinnacle

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