Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams Preview: Prediction, Best Bets, Odds, Depth Charts (12/17/23)

The Los Angeles Rams (6-7) play host to the Washington Commanders (4-9) on Sunday (12/17/23) at 4:05 p.m. EST. Betting odds have the Rams as nearly a touchdown favorite at -6.5 against the spread, while the over/under is set at 50.5 total points.

This article provides Commanders vs. Rams analysis, predictions, and betting recommendations and explains why the best bet in this matchup is the Rams against the spread.

Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams Prediction & Best Bet

The Los Angeles Rams are one of the more dangerous teams in the league right now. They have won three of their last four games and it probably should have been four in a row. They outplayed the Baltimore Ravens for most of the game on the road last week before yielding a walk-off 76-yard punt return TD in overtime.

The Commanders are one of the most uninspiring teams in the league right now. They have lost four games in a row and have given up 45 points in back-to-back games (albeit against two of the best offenses in the league in Miami and Dallas). They look like a team that has given up on its season and is full-on in tank mode, planning for a top 5 draft pick.

This is also a really bad matchup for the Commanders, who have the worst defense in the league and especially the worst pass defense in the league. They are dead last in DVOA and EPA overall and against the pass, and they are also dead last in points allowed per game (30.4), total yards allowed (379.8), passing yards allowed (266.0), net yards per pass attempt (7.2) and passer rating allowed (106.0). Some of those numbers are significantly worse than the next-worst team.

Now they face a resurgent Rams passing attack with a healthy Matthew Stafford and an elite and healthy WR duo of Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua. Since returning from injury in Week 11, Stafford leads the league in passing TDs and is sixth in passer rating.

Oh, and Kyren Williams is back from injury and back to being one of the best RBs in football this season. Since he returned in Week 12, he is second in rushing yards (115 per game), sixth in yards per attempt (5.6), and leads the league in missed tackles forced (seven per game) and yards after contact per attempt (4.23).

The Rams’ offense should explode in this game, which is a big reason why the total is so high. The over seems like a good bet, but the Rams’ defense has also been much improved in the last few weeks, and they might not need to run up the score to win this game comfortably. That hasn’t mattered the last two weeks, as the Commanders have lost by 30+ points each time and still allowed tons of points. While we would not bet on that happening again, we also can’t bet against it, so the total is a no play here.

Instead, our best bet in this game is simply the Rams -6.5. We would even be interested in playing an alt line like -9.5 (+125 at BetMGM), but we’ll play it safer and stick with the standard spread for our official pick.

Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams Prediction & Best Bet: Rams win 35-16 | Best Bet: Rams -6.5 (-110 at BetMGM)

Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams Betting Odds

The spread in this game has made a significant move from the lookahead line of Rams -3 to the current line of -6.5. It briefly reached the key number of -7 at DraftKings and it’s possible it could make that jump again before kickoff.

The over/under is trending up after opening at 48.5 points and is now at either 50 or 50.5 depending on the book. That is tied for the highest total on the week 15 slate, as of this writing.

The implied outcome of these odds is the Rams winning 29-22.

Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams Key Injuries

The most notable player on the Commanders’ injury report is RB Brian Robinson Jr., who injured his hamstring against the Dolphins before the team’s bye last week and is unlikely to play this week. This will also be their first game without top LB Jamin Davis, who suffered a season-ending shoulder injury.

For the Rams, WR Tutu Atwell and RT Rob Havenstein are the most important players at risk of missing this game.

Washington Commanders vs. Los Angeles Rams Key Matchups

Check out the key matchups and mismatches for Commanders vs. Rams below.

Los Angeles Rams’ WRs vs. Washington Commanders’ CBs

This is a massive mismatch. As we covered above, the Commanders’ pass defense is horrible. The Commanders 2023 1st round pick, CB Emmanuel Forbes has looked like a bust in his rookie season, and their veteran starters Kendall Fuller and Benjamin St. Juste haven’t been much better. All three are allowing passer ratings over 100 and completion percentages over 64% this season.

The Rams’ receiving duo of Cooper Kupp and Puka Nacua is one of the best in the league. Kupp had his best game since Week 6 last week with eight catches for 115 yards and a touchdown. Nacua has been a bit inconsistent since Kupp’s return changed his role in the offense, but he has started getting into a rhythm over the last two weeks with nine catches (on 16 targets) for 189 yards.

You better believe we are betting the over on both Kupp and Nacua’s receiving yards, and that is the biggest reason we are so high on the Rams in this matchup.

Sam Howell vs. Los Angeles Rams’ pass defense

It would be surprising if Brian Robinson Jr. plays in this game, which puts even more pressure on the right shoulder of the Commanders’ signal caller. Sam Howell leads the league in pass attempts at 39.2 per game and is 5th in passing yards at 266.6 per game. We can expect a similar volume, if not higher, in this matchup.

The Rams can be vulnerable against the pass, as they are 20th in passing defense, 22nd in DVOA and 18th in EPA this season. They have also struggled to get after the passer, ranking 26th in sack rate and 27th in pressure rate. That could be a big factor considering Howell has been sacked at the fifth-highest rate (10.2% of dropbacks) and has been sacked the most times overall (58).

If the Commanders can keep Howell protected, he should be able to find some success against the Rams’ pass defense. Whether that will be enough to keep this game close remains to be seen.

Washington Commanders Depth Chart

QB: Sam Howell
RB1: Brian Robinson Jr.
RB2: Antonio Gibson
LWR: Terry McLaurin
RWR: Jahan Dotson
SWR: Curtis Samuel
TE1: Logan Thomas

Los Angeles Rams Depth Chart

QB: Matthew Stafford
RB1: Kyren Williams
RB2: Ronnie Rivers
LWR: Tutu Atwell
RWR: Puka Nacua
SWR: Cooper Kupp
TE1: Tyler Higbee

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Noah hails from Philadelphia and is a diehard Philly sports fan. He graduated from Penn where he was a sports writer and editor for the student newspaper and also spent a summer covering the Baltimore Orioles for MLB.com. He has been playing fantasy sports since before live stats were a thing, and he has enjoyed learning the nuances of DFS in recent years. As a current resident of Florida, he is hoping the wave of sports betting legalization will eventually reach his home state.

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