8 min read

Matchups Week 6: Rams vs. Panthers

Aaron Donald Falcons Rams vs. Panthers
Sep 18, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; Los Angeles Rams linebacker Justin Hollins (58) is congratulated by defensive tackle Aaron Donald (99) after a sack of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota (1) in the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams (2-3) vs. Carolina Panthers (1-4)

Opening Spread: Rams -10.

Opening Game Total: 41.

Team Totals: Rams (25.5), Panthers (15.5).

Weather: Hybrid stadium, no weather concerns.

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Rams -10.
  • This line has moved down to Rams -9.5 as of Friday afternoon.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Rams -10.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Rams -10.
  • This total opened at 41 points.
  • This total has moved slightly up to 41.5 points as of Friday afternoon. 

Notable Injuries

Rams: IR: WR Van Jefferson. Out: RB Cam Akers, C Brian Allen. Questionable: WR Cooper Kupp, TE Tyler Higbee, DL Aaron Donald.

Panthers: IR: QB Sam Darnold, QB Matt Corral, S Jeremy Chinn. Doubtful: QB Baker Mayfield. Questionable: WR Robbie Anderson, LB Frankie Luvu, CB Donte Jackson, CB Jaycee Horn.

Rams Offense vs. Panthers Defense

The Rams offensive line has been among the more disappointing units of this season to date, and they are still down their starting center in Brian Allen. They are a below-average unit. So is the Panthers' front four, even though edge rusher Brian Burns can give most left tackles issues. I’m treating this trench matchup as a relative draw between two underachieving units from a macro sense, where Burns could be an issue for left tackle Joe Noteboom.

Betting Notes

  • The Rams are 1-4 against the spread this season.
  • The Rams are 1-4 on overs this season.
  • Matthew Stafford is 83-99-5 against the spread in his career.
  • Matthew Stafford is 95-89-3 on overs in his career.
  • Sean McVay is 44-40-2 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
  • Sean McVay is 40-45-1 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.

Rams Offense

  • The Rams are scoring 16 points per game, which is 28th in the league.
  • Los Angeles is 12th in the league in yards passing per game and last in yards rushing.
  • Matthew Stafford has five touchdown passes to seven interceptions through the first five games.
  • With Cam Akers out, Darrell Henderson takes over the Rams backfield. I view this as more of a parallel shift than a talent downgrade.
  • Per the Edge, Cooper Kupp is second in the league in yards receiving (527), first in receptions (49), second in target share (33.9%), and 11th in air yards share (39.1%).
  • Allen Robinson has a 12.2% target share with a 17.6% air yards share. Robinson has only exceeded 25 yards receiving once in five games this season.
  • Among tight ends, Tyler Higbee is tied for the league lead in receptions (33). He’s fourth in yards receiving (290), and he’s second in target share (25.4%) with a 12.6% air yards share.
  • Per TruMedia, Cooper Kupp has played 150 snaps on the perimeter and 153 in the slot.
  • Tyler Higbee is third in the league in snaps as an inline tight end with 196. Higbee has played 54 snaps on the perimeter and 45 in the slot.

Panthers Defense

  • The Panthers have allowed 24.4 points per game, which is 21st in the league.
  • Per The Edge, the Panthers have allowed the seventh-most yards rushing and the 14th-most yards receiving to running backs this season.
  • Carolina has given up the 16th-most yards receiving on the 12th-most receptions to wide receivers this year.
  • The Panthers have allowed the 21st-most yards receiving on the 21st-most receptions to tight ends this season. 


Panthers Offense vs. Rams Defense

The Rams' front four is a unique one, as the group as a whole is in that average veering into below average territory. However, Aaron Donald is a historically relevant pass rusher and edge rusher Leonard Floyd is a solid compliment. The Panthers' offensive line is closer to the front than the back of the below-average tier. From a macro sense, the Rams' front has a slight advantage, while Aaron Donald is an individual matchup nightmare against anyone he plays.

Betting Notes

  • The Panthers are 1-4 against the spread this season.
  • The Panthers are 2-3 on overs this season.

Panthers Offense

  • The Panthers are scoring 18.6 points per game, good for 24th in the league.
  • Carolina is 27th in the league in yards passing per game and 28th in yards rushing.
  • Over his three-year NFL career, P.J. Walker has played in 10 games. He has a 57% completion percentage with two passing touchdowns to eight interceptions.
  • Per the Edge, among running backs Christian McCaffrey is 16th in yards rushing and fourth in yards receiving.
  • McCaffrey is arguably the best route runner among running backs in the league. He has a 22.9% target share.
  • DJ Moore leads the Panthers with a 24.2% target share and a 34% air yards share.
  • Robbie Anderson has a 17.6% target share and a 30.7% air yards share.
  • Per TruMedia, D.J. Moore has played 201 snaps on the perimeter and 65 in the slot.
  • Robbie Anderson has played 218 snaps on the perimeter and 27 in the slot.

Rams Defense

  • The Rams have allowed 23.2 points per game, which is 17th in the league.
  • Per The Edge, the Rams have allowed the 19th-most yards rushing and the third-fewest yards receiving to running backs this season.
  • Los Angeles has allowed the fifth-most yards receiving on the most receptions to wide receivers this year.
  • Los Angeles has allowed the most PPR points to perimeter wide receivers this season.
  • The Rams have given up the fewest yards receiving on the fewest receptions to enemy tight ends this season.

This is What You’re Betting On in Rams vs. Panthers

A bet on the Rams is a bet on the struggling defending champs in an obvious correction spot coming off back-to-back losses. The Rams offense has been shockingly below-average through the first five games. A lot of that offensive disappointment came against three premium defenses in the Bills, 49ers, and Cowboys. In the Rams' last correction spot coming off their opening day beating by Buffalo, the Rams hung 31 points on the Falcons. You’re looking for a similar outing against floundering Carolina if you’re a Rams bettor. The Rams defense is more of an average unit with some great players than the dominant force it once was. That said, they get P.J. Walker this week. Your biggest concerns as a Rams better are that Los Angeles’s offensive line continues to struggle.

A bet on the Panthers is a bet on a football operation that’s in complete disarray. They just fired head coach Matt Rhule and promoted Steve Wilks. That’s probably a positive, but Carolina will also be marching out P.J. Walker this week. We’ve seen Walker start NFL games in the past, and he’s only on the roster due to Carolina having three other injured quarterbacks. If you’re betting on the Panthers, you’re going to need Walker to be an entirely different player than he’s been in the past. Your other path as a Panthers bettor is a strong defensive effort against a struggling Rams offense, paired with Christian McCaffrey spearheading a few successful drives.

Rams vs. Panthers Pool Picks

Awards Market Ramifications: Cooper Kupp is an Offensive Player of the Year contender.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’ll be taking the Rams in winner pools and ranking them at the top of confidence pools. That will be the standard in confidence pools, but this is chalk I’m comfortable with.

Spread Pool: Rams -10 is a high number, but it’s probably the right number. I will either take the Rams or pass here.

Survivor Pool: The Rams will be the logical survivor chalk this week. Last week, I completely avoided the Jaguars chalk. This week, I’ll ask you the question: if we aren’t taking the Rams in this spot, where can we confidently take them? I would have been more confident in the Rams if Rhule was still calling the shots in Carolina, but I’ll use the Rams in multiple survivor entries this week, anyway.

Ryan’s Recent Betting Record

ATS 2021: 49-31

ATS 2022: 17-8

Props 2022: 16-10


WATCH MORE: Former NFL GM Rick Spielman breaks down how a team decides to fire a coach and what to look for in a new one.