The New England Patriots have won four of their last five games and will look to add to that streak Thursday night when they face the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.
The 6-6 Patriots will face the 8-4 Rams as part of the NFL’s Week 14 slate. It’s a rematch of Super Bowl LIII.
The “Thursday Night Football” matchup will mark New England’s second consecutive game at SoFi Stadium, with the Patriots fresh off a dominant 45-0 win over the crosstown Los Angeles Chargers in Week 13.
The Patriots, while still in play for one of the AFC’s wild-card spots, likely will need to win out and finish 10-6 in order to reach the postseason. A win Thursday will be another step in the right direction, while a loss essentially could end New England’s season.
Los Angeles has won three of its last four, as well. It’s helped the Rams put themselves in position to not only earn an NFC wild-card spot but also make a run at the NFC West title with the rival Seattle Seahawks.
Here’s a betting preview for Patriots-Rams, with all lines and props via consensus data:
New England Patriots at Los Angeles Rams (-5)
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick welcomes “Thursday Night Football.” The Patriots are 5-1 against the spread in their last six Thursday night games, having both the coaching and well-established program in place to succeed on a short week.
Of course, New England hasn’t had the same longstanding success as past years in 2020. The Patriots’ ATS record (6-6) is identical to their overall standing. They’re a modest 2-4 ATS on the road. The Patriots have hit the over in just four of their 12 games this season, but they have done so at a .500 clip (3-3) on the road.
Most recently, New England has covered three of its last four games. That includes a Week 12 win over another NFC West opponent, the Arizona Cardinals, and a Week 13 win in which the Patriots were 1.5-point underdogs against the Chargers.
Los Angeles is slightly worse against the spread than overall this season, compiling a 7-5 ATS record. The Rams are 3-2 ATS at home, but they have yet to cash in on the over at home — a noteworthy 0-5. Identical to New England, LA has hit the over in just four of 12 games this season.
First-half line, total
Los Angeles -2.5, 22.5
First touchdown scorer
Cam Newton +600
Cam Akers +650
Darrell Henderson +800
Robert Woods +900
Cooper Kupp +1000
Malcolm Brown +1200
Damien Harris +1400
James White +2000
Jared Goff over/under 270.5
Cam Newton over/under 185.5
Damien Harris over/under 48.5
Cam Newton over/under 44.5
Sony Michel over/under 18.5
James White over/under 13.5
Robert Woods over/under 60.5
Cooper Kupp over/under 60.5
Jakobi Meyers over/under 49.5
Damiere Byrd over/under 37.5
Josh Reynolds over/under 33.5
Tyler Higbee over/under 27.5
PICK: Patriots +5
We’re not going to be one of those “Belichick is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers” fanboys, but there’s no denying the Patriots reaped a huge benefit staying at UCLA this week. Los Angeles would have had a massive advantage if New England had to travel cross country to play on a short week, but that’s not the case. Ironically, the Patriots played a game at the Rams’ home stadium more recently than the Rams have.
Anyway, getting back to on-field influence, the Rams’ defense undoubtedly will give the Patriots’ offense a hard time. LA is third in the NFL at stopping the run, which has become the Patriots’ bread and butter. The Rams are even better against the pass, as they’re headlined by Defensive Player of the Year candidate Aaron Donald and star cornerback Jalen Ramsey. The Rams, however, have had some trouble with mobile quarterbacks who can make plays outside the pocket. LA allowed 28 points to the Kyler Murray-led Arizona Cardinals and 35 points to Josh Allen’s Buffalo Bills. Cam Newton isn’t on the same level as those two, but perhaps he could present a similar problem.
The Patriots, on the other hand, have a lengthy injury report and the possibility of being without some defensive standouts — J.C. Jackson and Jonathan Jones — could greatly impact their ability to stop the Jared Goff-led passing attack. Receivers Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp and tight end Tyler Higbee would make it tough on a fully healthy secondary, so if the league’s leader in interceptions (Jackson, seven) isn’t able to play, it could provide a major swing. And while the Rams are ranked inside the top 10 in rushing, they’ve had below-average showings against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. Additionally, the Rams are among the worst in the league when it comes to turnovers, giving the ball away 20 times this season, with Goff having 10 interceptions and four fumbles. Doesn’t that sound like something Belichick will feed off of?
The Patriots are rolling. The Patriots are desperate. And we’re not willing to bet against them in this situation.