The Los Angeles Rams (2-2) host the undefeated Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday (10/8/23) at 4:05pm ET. The Eagles are the betting favorites at -4.5 on the spread, and this matchup has the second-highest over/under on the week 5 slate at 49.5.
This article provides Eagles vs. Rams analysis, predictions and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the over on 49.5 total points.
Eagles vs. Rams Best Bet
Before the season started, this matchup looked like one where the Eagles might be a touchdown favorite (or more) on the road. But after four weeks, the Eagles have not looked as dominant as they were last season, while the Rams have looked much better than expected thanks largely to QB Matthew Stafford being healthy. It also helps that rookie WR Puka Nacua has burst onto the scene and looks like the second coming of Cooper Kupp.
Speaking of Kupp, his presence (or lack thereof) looms large over this matchup and any betting predictions. Some reports have indicated that Kupp is likely to play but will be on a snap count.
It would be extremely surprising if Cooper Kupp sits
It would NOT be extremely surprising if he’s on snap count https://t.co/IXAbNqYFz7
— Edwin Porras, DPT (@FBInjuryDoc) October 5, 2023
Other reports have indicated the Rams will play it safe with Kupp to avoid further aggravating his injury and risk losing him for the rest of the season.
— Sports Injury Central (@SICscore) October 4, 2023
The Rams look like they have a chance to push for a playoff spot this season, but they will need a healthy Kupp to do that. The way the offense has been clicking without Kupp, it seems sensible to hold him out at least one more week, but it would also be tough to keep him off the field if he looks and feels ready.
If he plays, he will be a huge matchup problem for the Eagles, and not only because of his supreme talent. Kupp operates primarily out of the slot and the Eagles are still figuring out how to replace their starting slot CB Avonte Maddox, who is out for the season. Even if he’s on a snap count, Kupp’s presence would take the Rams’ offense to another level that could potentially swing the outcome of this game (or least of spread bets).
With or without Kupp, we lean towards the Rams against the spread in this game, but our favorite bet in this matchup is the over on 49.5 total points.
The Eagles’ passing defense has looked very vulnerable under new defensive coordinator Sean Desai. Their defensive philosophy to play soft coverage and avoid big plays has allowed quarterbacks like Mac Jones, Kirk Cousins and Sam Howell to pick them apart on underneath throws. Matthew Stafford is by far the best quarterback they’ve faced so far this season, and he should be able to have similar success connecting with Nacua, Tutu Atwell and TE Tyler Higbee.
The Eagles’ offense has looked out of sync at times this season, but they are still top 5 in total offense and top 10 in offensive DVOA (9th) and EPA (10th). The scary part is that they still have plenty of room for growth, and the Rams’ defense has been in the bottom third of the league in most statistical categories through 4 weeks. The Rams are better against the pass than they are against the run, so we could see another big game from D’Andre Swift this week.
The Rams are going to struggle to run the ball against the Eagles’ stout run defense, which is 2nd in rushing yards allowed per game, 5th in yards per carry allowed, 1st in rush defense DVOA, and 7th in rush defense EPA allowed. That becomes even more true if Kyren Williams misses this game. That means Stafford will be forced to pass a lot, which will increase the pace of play and support a higher-scoring game.
Eagles vs. Rams Best Bet: Eagles win 31-27, Rams cover +4.5, over 49.5 total points (best bet)
Eagles vs. Rams Best Odds
The spread in this game has moved between Eagles -4 and -5.5 at various sportsbooks but seems to have settled in at -4.5 and will like closely within 0.5 of that number. There is a chance that news about Cooper Kupp playing (or not) could move the line a bit more than that.
The over/under is trending up after opening as low as 46.5 at some sportsbooks. It has been as high as 50.5 at several sportsbooks but is currently at 49.5. It could fluctuate within that range but it’s unlikely that it will go any higher than 51, and will most likely close within 0.5 of the current line.
The implied outcome of these odds is the Eagles winning 27-23.
Eagles vs. Rams Key Injuries
As noted above, the most significant injury to monitor in this game is Rams WR Cooper Kupp, who is reportedly pushing to return from his hamstring injury this week. While the reports are encouraging, the Rams still might choose to play it safe with their star pass catcher, and a decision likely won’t come until Sunday.
The Rams have several other key players on offense to monitor. Starting RB Kyren Williams has been excellent this season but is dealing with a hip injury and is questionable after missing Wednesday’s practice. Starting LT Alaric Jackson and RG Joe Noteboom (who is also the backup LT) also missed Wednesday’s practice and are questionable. Missing any of those players would be a tough blow for the Rams, and missing multiple of them would likely have a big impact on the offense.
The big name to monitor for the Eagles is DT Fletcher Cox, who received an epidural injection in his back this week to alleviate discomfort he’d been having. It’s possible he could miss one game, and it would be a big loss for the Eagles, though that is a position where they have good depth. Besides Cox, the Eagles will be missing starting RG Cam Jurgens and could be missing punt returner Britain Covey.
Eagles vs. Rams Key Matchups
Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Eagles vs. Rams below.
Rams pass catchers vs. Eagles’ banged up secondary
As noted above, we expect this to be a big passing day for Matthew Stafford and the Rams’ offense. That is not only the best way to attack the Eagles’ defense right now, but the Rams also could be without starting RB Kyren Williams.
Stafford is currently 2nd in the NFL with 307.3 passing yards per game, while the Eagles are allowing the 6th most passing yards per game at 260.8. Puka Nacua leads the NFL in receptions (39) and targets (52) and is 2nd in yards (501), while Tutu Atwell is 18th in yards (270) and 22nd in receptions (22).
Perhaps most impressive is that Stafford has been able to do this despite the offensive line continuing to struggle with protection (PFF’s 30th graded pass protectors). That is a critical related matchup in this game against an Eagles’ defensive front that has generated a league-leading 54 pressures (on the 5th-highest pressure rate).
Injuries have been part of the reason for the Eagles’ struggling pass defense. With Maddox and backup slot corner Zech McPhearson both out for the season, James Bradberry has been playing in the slot in nickel packages with undrafted 2nd-year corner Josh Jobe on the outside. The Eagles like Jobe more than any other options in the slot right now, so that alignment gets their best players on the field, but Bradberry is not a natural fit in the slot and Jobe is significant downgrade from Bradberry on the outside.
Van Jefferson has been the Rams’ primary slot receiver, lining up there on just over 50% passing snaps, but coach Sean McVay moves his receivers all over the formation, and both Atwell and Nacua have also played over 30% of snaps from the slot. Expect McVay to get creative with alignments and pre-snap motion to create mismatches against both Jobe and Bradberry (when he’s in the slot). Stafford is more than capable of capitalizing on that as long as he has time.
Eagles’ offensive line vs. Rams’ defensive front
This matchup could easily just be labeled as Eagles O line vs. Aaron Donald, who is still the center of gravity on the Rams’ defense in his age 32 season. Donald has not been quite as dominant last season and so far this season as he was at his peak, but he is still by far the most dangerous player on the Rams’ defense and the only one that commands extra attention from offensive coordinators.
The Eagles’ offensive line is arguably the best in the league and well equipped to handle a player of Donald’s caliber, even with reserve guard Sua Opeta starting in place of RG Cam Jurgens. Donald certainly represents an imposing challenge, but the Eagles should have the advantage over the rest of the Rams’ front seven.
If the Eagles can control the line of scrimmage, as they usually do, then they should be able to not only run the ball effectively but also create time for Jalen Hurts to get the ball to A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert, who should all have mismatches against their primary defenders in this game. The Rams need to find a way to stop the run and create pressure on passing downs, or the Eagles are going to pick them apart.