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Rams look to push winning streak to five games
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Los Angeles (-7.5) is a home favourite against the Tennessee Titans, who are without Derrick Henry
The Los Angeles Rams appear to be back in the driver’s seat of the NFC West, thanks to four consecutive wins. They’ll look to make it five straight victories, when they host the Tennessee Titans to close out Sunday’s schedule of NFL action for Week 9.
The Rams were, as of Thursday, favoured by 7.5 points at home against the Titans, who were dealt a significant blow earlier this week with the loss of running back Derrick Henry. Tennessee would’ve been in tough no matter what against the Rams, who are 7-1 on the season and looking to take over top spot in the division, but the loss of Henry removes a critical X-factor from the Titans offence.
This was, after all, a Titans team that had come back to defeat Buffalo, and embarrassed Kansas City earlier in the year. Now, the loss of Henry perhaps for the entire season looms large.
It was announced earlier this week that Henry would have to undergo foot surgery, and was expected to miss six to 10 weeks. He’s been the focal point of the Titans offence for the past few seasons, and was by far the NFL’s leading rusher at the time of the injury, suffered last week.
The Titans ground game is now a serious question mark, and losing such a key piece of the offence lends favourably to the Rams defence – a defence that was given a jolt this week with the addition of linebacker Von Miller from the Denver Broncos.
After another big move, it appears to be championship-or-bust time in Los Angeles, which is tied with Arizona for the division lead, although the Cardinals may be down a star player of their own in quarterback Kyler Murray for this weekend’s matchup with San Francisco.
While the Rams are 7-1 straight up, they are just 4-4 against the spread, including 2-2 on home field. They were 16.5-point favourites last week in Houston, but the Texans managed to cover thanks to a 22-point fourth quarter that led to a 38-22 final score.
The Rams offence has been impressive throughout the season, scoring 24 or more points in seven of eight games, and sitting third in the league in total touchdowns. They’ve put up 38 points in two of their last three games, and the Over is 5-3 in Rams games this season.
L.A. currently boasts a 65.7% Red Zone scoring rate (touchdowns only), according to TeamRankings.com, which puts them in the top 10 in the NFL. It helps that Cooper Kupp has become such a proficient red zone option, with a league-leading 20 targets, 14 catches and nine touchdowns inside the 20-yard line, according to Football Reference.
Tennessee sits at 62.5% in red zone scoring (TDs only) and only 55.5% on the road, which could pose a problem for them against the Rams. If the Titans without Derrick Henry, who was tied for the league lead in rushing touchdowns from inside the 10-yard line and among the league leaders in red zone rush attempts, can’t capitalize from inside the Rams 20-yard line on Sunday, settling for field goals very likely won’t be enough against the Rams.
Bengals look to rebound after tough loss to lowly Jets
As mentioned last week, the Cincinnati Bengals found themselves in rare territory last week – as double-digit favourites against the New York Jets and unheralded first-time starting quarterback Mike White.
The Bengals, in a fight for the AFC North as a surprise contender this season, lost 34-31 to the Jets.
This week, Cincinnati turns its attention to the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have dropped three of their last four games. There currently appears to be internal turmoil involving receiver Odell Beckham Jr., and their offence hasn’t scored more than 17 points in a game since Week 5.
The Bengals were favoured by 2.5 points at home, as of Thursday. Cincinnati is 11-2 against the spread in their last 13 games versus Cleveland.
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