August 10, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA;Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola (51) snaps ball to quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
The Rams have been one of the worst Week 1 bets over the past decade and they get nine points at Detroit Sunday. Has enough changed in St. Louis to encourage Ram bettors?
The Rams are 1-10-1 ATS in season openers, almost as lousy as Cleveland's 1-11-1 ATS mark. But a lot of early money came in on St. Louis from large bettors who either doubt Detroit's pedigree as a home favorite or who approve of the job new head man Jeff Fisher has done so far. [ Historical worst NFL Week 1 bets ]
"Almost as soon as we opened the Rams at +9 going into Detroit, we saw some sharp money take the points and quickly dropped to 7.5," said Kevin Bradley, sportsbook manager at Bovada. "We are now seeing blanced action, but I personally expect a solid flow of Detroit public money to come in and we will be needing the Rams either way."
The Detroit Lions look to follow up on a successful 2011 season with a win in their home opener at Ford Field.
After years of futility near the bottom of the NFL, the Detroit Lions solid drafting and hard work in recent years finally paid off with a playoff berth last season. Even when they were league doormats, they were tough Week 1 underdogs as their 7-2 ATS in the past nine season openers proves. They are also 5-1 ATS in openers at home.
The Lions finished the regular season with a 10-6 straight up record (7-8-1 ATS) before losing to the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs. This year, they'll be looking for similar regular season success along with a deeper playoff run.
For St. Louis, the rebuild is in full swing. Quarterback Sam Bradford and running back Steven Jackson make up a talented core offensively, but the Rams still have a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball to get back into playoff contention.
Last year the Rams won just two games in the regular season, and didn't put up much of a fight either with an ATS record of just 3-12-1. [ Rams vs Lions Matchup Report and Trends ]
Detroit's issues at running back and tough division may make a return to the playoffs difficult, but neither should have any impact on this week.
Matthew Stafford should have a field day against this weak secondary throwing it up to Calvin Johnson and newcomer Ryan Broyles, and Ndamukong Suh and this talented defensive line should also have plenty of success making Bradford's day very difficult.
The Rams covered the spread just once on the road in 2011, going 1-7 both straight up and ATS with the only win and cover coming against the aforementioned Browns. Without any major improvements made this offseason, this will be a tough team to endorse until they can show us that things will be different in 2012.
For now, we'll take the Lions to win comfortably.
Lions vs Rams Pick: Detroit -7.5 (courtesy of Pick Shark)