In one of the games of the season so far, the 9-1 Los Angeles Rams and 9-1 Kansas City Chiefs do battle in Mexico City’s Estadio Azteca. Despite a minor hiccup in New England, the Chiefs have emerged as the premier team in the AFC this season, winning 6 of their games by double digits. The Rams currently enjoy the best record in the NFC, with a loss to the 2nd place Saints being their only hiccup so far. With an opportunity for both sides to stake their claim as the NFL’s best team, I expect a very entertaining affair in Mexico here. Let’s take a look at our best spread, total and first touchdown scorer bets on the board.
Where to Watch: ESPN, 7 Mae or NFL Game Pass Monday 12:20 pm
Los Angeles Rams
The Rams bounced back from their loss in New Orleans with a competitive win over the division-rival Seahawks. QB Jared “Halle Berry” Goff has had an excellent start to the campaign, throwing for over 3100 yards and 22 scores through his first 10 games. RB Todd Gurley has been the best back in the NFL so far, totalling a shade under 1400 yards and 17 total touchdowns. In Brandin Cooks, Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, the Rams have one of the best trios of pass catchers in the league. The Rams have only scored less than 30 twice this season and Coach Sean McVay will be looking for another big outing here.
After a strong start, the Rams defence has been rather underwhelming in recent weeks. Defensive Linemen Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers haven’t been able to support Aaron Donald effectively, combining for only 4.5 sacks so far this season. This has meant that their secondary has been regularly torched, with CB Marcus Peters receiving a ton of the blame. Even the usually strong rush defence has been carved apart recently, allowing 273 yards and a touchdown in Seattle last week. Against the high-flying Chiefs, this performance will have to improve here.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs have rebounded from their lone loss in New England with a month of consecutive comfortable victories. QB Patrick Mahomes has been excellent in his first season as a starter, completing two thirds of his passes for 31 touchdowns to just 7 interceptions so far. Wide Receiver Tyreek Hill has also emerged as one of the primary Wide Receivers in the league with 9 touchdowns so far. He is capably supported by Receiver Sammy Watkins and Tight End Travis Kelce, the latter of whom has been one of the best Tight Ends in the league for his entire career. The passing game is capably supported by RB Kareem Hunt, who has a shade under 1100 yards and 14 total touchdowns this season.
On defence, the Chiefs have noticeably improved in recent weeks. They’ve allowed 23 points or less in each of their last 4 outings, against some admittedly poor offences. They completely shut down the Arizona passing attack last week, allowing just 5.3 yards per attempt and forcing two interceptions. Defensive End Chris Jones helped the pass rush finally get going, registering 2 of 5 total sacks on the afternoon. Against this versatile and dynamic Rams attack, they’ll be looking for a repeat of that performance here.
Whilst the Chiefs have had an incredible start to the campaign, I don’t think they’ve played a team at the Rams’ level so far. After their loss to New England, their schedule has been a cake walk. Their defence hasn’t played an offence with anywhere near the Rams quality since Week 2, where they gave up 37 points to the Steelers. The Rams have excellent offensive coaching and talent that I believe can be the difference in this one.
Similarly, Mahomes hasn’t faced the pass rush that the Rams front 3 is capable of generating. Despite underperforming so far, both Ndamukong Suh and Michael Brockers are elite pass rushers in this league. Aaron Donald has continued to emerge as the best interior pass rusher in the NFL, leading the league with 12.5 sacks so far. If they can get in Mahomes’ face early, I’m confident that the offence will do enough to both win and cover.
Under 63.5 Points
Whilst these two teams have two of the most dynamic offences in the league, this is simply a line value play. This total started off at around 58.5 but has skyrocketed upwards. You may even be able to get a better total before kick-off. What this tells me is that the public are somewhat overrating these offences compared to the oddsmakers.
Before the last 2 games, the Rams had 3 straight contests that went under this total. Similarly, the last 3 Chiefs games have all fallen under this total. Both Todd Gurley and Kareem Hunt have been in strong form of late and I can see both sides looking to establish the run here. 63.5 points is a ton in the NFL and this gives us a lot of room to play with. Whilst it takes a brave man to bet under in a Rams game, this is where the value lies.
First TD Scorer: Todd Gurley
When analysing the first touchdown scorer market, it’s tough to look past the man who has scored 17 touchdowns so far this season. RB Todd Gurley is a legitimate threat in both the rushing and receiving game and is sure to get some red-zone action here. I think the Rams get off to a very fast start here and score the 1st touchdown in the process. This is still an offence that leans on Todd Gurley and he represents strong value at anything $5.50 or above.
Score Prediction: Los Angeles Rams 33-30 Kansas City Chiefs