Raiders vs. Rams prediction: Quarterback status creates uncertainty in this matchup

Rams turn to backup quarterback on Thursday night

NFL, Raiders, Rams, Thursday night football, prediction, odds
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws against the Indianapolis Colts in the first half of an NFL football game in Las Vegas, Sunday, Nov. 13, 2022. The Associated Press

Week 14 in the NFL gets underway as the Los Angeles Rams host the Las Vegas Raiders.

Given their 3-9 record, the Rams have less than a 0.1% chance to make the playoffs, per FiveThirtyEight, while the Raiders (5-7) still have a path at 16%.

Las Vegas enters this contest on a three-game winning streak, whereas Los Angeles has lost six straight.

The Rams are also dealing with injuries at the quarterback position, as they’re now 6.5-point underdogs, an increase of 2.5 points when bookmakers first released the lines.

We’ll dive into this matchup and assess whether there’s any value at the current price.

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Raiders vs. Rams odds

Spread: LVR -6.5 (-118) vs. LAR +6.5 (-104)

Moneyline: LVR (-290) vs. LAR (+235)

Total: Over 43.5 (-105) | Under 43.5 (-115)

Raiders vs. Rams pick

Rams 1Q +0.5 (-110)

Raiders vs. Rams analysis

There were some early warning signs about this Rams team entering this season as quarterback Matthew Stafford underwent an offseason procedure to relieve some discomfort in his right elbow.

Part of the procedure also included receiving an injection.

The reality is the Rams have never been forthright about the injury that head coach Sean McVay labeled as “abnormal” when he met the media.

Stafford never looked much like himself the entire season, as his 51.2 Total QBR was his lowest over the past eight seasons.

But there were also concerns regarding other areas of this Rams team as the offensive line struggled to protect Stafford and keep him upright.

After playing nine games, Stafford’s 29 sacks are just one shy from the previous campaign in which he played in all 17 regular-season games.

That lack of protection on offense caught up to the Rams as Stafford suffered a neck injury that landed him on the injured reserve list.

When you have a team like the Rams that is dealing with multiple issues on both sides of the ball, it’s difficult for a quarterback, let alone a backup, to step right in and turn things around.

John Wolford got the start at quarterback on Sunday and also suffered a neck injury that kept him limited in practice this week.

The Rams’ injury report listed Wolford as questionable for Thursday night.

If Wolford can’t go, the Rams could decide between Bryce Perkins and possibly Baker Mayfield, who was claimed off waivers.

Despite the uncertainty at the quarterback position, I’m still not sure this point spread will reach the critical number of seven.

After running the numbers, my model makes Las Vegas closer to a five-point favorite.

Yet, I’m not rushing to take the points with this Rams outfit.

And while I’m still cautious about this Raiders team, they have played better over their past three games, as they covered the spread in each contest.

However, the Raiders tend to start to slow out of the gates.

According to EV Analytics, the Raiders are just 1-4 against the spread in the first quarter over their past five games and 0-3 ATS over their past three.

Thus, I could only consider backing the Rams in the first quarter, where they might catch the Raiders sleepwalking.

If Los Angeles can at least keep the game tied, we’ll cash our ticket as a half-point underdog.

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