NFL Week 1 Predictions: St. Louis Rams vs. Detroit Lions

St. Louis Rams at Detroit Lions
Sunday, 9/9/12, 1:00 PM EST, TV:  FOX
Opening Point Spread:  Detroit -9
Current Betting Line:  Detroit -7.5
Opening Total:  46.5
Current Total:  46
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Detroit Lions are looking to build off last year’s run into the playoffs

St. Louis is set to begin the Jeff Fisher era after compiling a terrible 15-65 record over the last five seasons, as he returns to the NFL after taking a one-year absence from the sidelines after spending more than a decade with the Tennessee Titans.  “I think we’re in a good spot right now,” commented Fisher this week.  “I think this is a team that’s going to be fun to watch.”  It’s certainly a rebuilding year, with 17 rookies and 15 free agent additions on the 53-man roster.  St. Louis is 3-6 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points the last two years, with the “under” going 8-2 in that situation.

The Rams offense can only go up after a horrific 2011 campaign, finishing last in the league in scoring just 12.1 points per game.  St. Louis will certainly look to get the ball into the hands of star running back Steven Jackson, who has reached the 1,000-yard mark in seven consecutive seasons.  Winning this game on the ground is the team’s best opportunity, considering its opponent doesn’t have much of an attack in that regard.

Detroit has really turned things around under head coach Jim Schwartz, who will be facing his mentor on the other sideline, as he spent 10 seasons under Fisher as a defensive assistant, linebackers coach and defensive coordinator.  “I think it’s meaningful for him,” commented Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch.  The Lions are coming off their first appearance in the NFL playoffs since the 1999 campaign, suffering a 45-28 setback to the New Orleans Saints on the road.  Detroit is 11-5 ATS at home the last two seasons, while the “over” is 9-7 in those contests.

The Lions have one of the more explosive offenses in the league, with wide receiver Calvin Johnson and quarterback Matthew Stafford.  Detroit will rely heavily on this duo due to lacking any sort of a rushing attack, averaging just 92.5 yards per game on the ground last year.  On the other side of the ball, the defense will look to get after Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, who was sacked 9.3 percent of the time he dropped back to pass last year.

Sports bettors will likely back the Rams due to their ability to run the football, while the Lions are just 4-4 ATS as favorites of 3.5 to 9.5 points over the last two seasons.

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