Sure, new head coach Sean McVay brings a record of success from his time as the offensive coordinator at Washington, but this will be his first live action of the year (not counting the preseason). It takes time for new systems to be learned and properly executed. Not everything will go smoothly in Week One.
2) Wade Phillips.
One good move on McVay's part was hiring Wade Phillips to coordinate the defense. Phillips does his best work in his first year with a team, often making dramatic improvements in a team's defensive turnovers, sacks, and points allowed.
Phillips also has a startling record of success in Week One. Going back to his time as the head coach of Dallas, teams with Phillips overseeing the defense have allowed an average of 17 points in the first game of the season.
Phillips has matched wits with Andrew Luck six times. Luck is 4-2 SUATS in those games, with a TD/INT ratio of 12/2. However, Phillips's defenses have held Luck to 52% completions and 6.3 yards per pass attempt. The average score in those games was 24-22.
3) The line and the total for this game are all wrong.
The total for this game is currently 48. Indie is favored by 3.5 points, so that implies they will win by a score of 26-22. We've already noted that the Rams scored 12 points a game last year with Goff at quarterback, and the team has lost almost all of their offensive playmakers, so where are those 22 points going to come from? Is Goff's offense going to score 10 points above last year's average just because he now has a new coach? I don't think so.
4) Andrew Luck.
Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck had offseason surgery on his shoulder. He's likely to play little or not at all in the preseason. If that's the case, he's going to be rusty.
In his five previous Week One games, Luck's team has scored 21, 21, 24, 14, and 35 points. Going back to the line and total which call for Indianapolis to score 26 points in this game, Luck has scored more than 24 points only once on Opening Day. Here, he's going up against one of the league's better defenses and one of the league's top defensive coordinators.
5) Systems and trends point to the under in this game.
Turning to Marc Lawrence's 2017 Playbook Football Preview Guide, pages 242-243, you can find an excellent article on totals betting by Victor King (yet another reason to buy the magazine). Victor describes a Week One totals system that has gone 23-3-2 under the total since 1986, and that system fits this game like a glove.
In the same article is another Week One totals system that has gone 17-5-1 under the total since 1998. It also fits this game. Victor also points out that the Rams have gone under the total in 7 of their last 11 Week One games.
I don't know about you, but I'm taking the under in this game.
For more insightful content from Michael Mains click here