The 2022 NFL regular season opens on Thursday with a potential Super Bowl matchup when the defending champion Los Angeles Rams host the Buffalo Bills. It’s been an agonizing offseason for the Bills, who were eliminated from the postseason for the second straight year by the Kansas City Chiefs in an epic divisional round game last season.
Still, Buffalo’s championship window is open with Josh Allen emerging as one of the top quarterbacks in the game. It’s been nearly two decades since the NFL last had a repeat Super Bowl winner so the odds aren’t in LA’s favor. And they aren’t for the season opener, either, with the Bills positioned as a 2.5-point favorite on the NFL betting line.
Bills vs Rams Date & Time
The Week 1 contest between the Buffalo Bills and Los Angeles Rams will take place at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, CA at 8:20 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 8, 2022 and will be televised on NBC.
Bills vs Rams Odds
Buffalo Bills -2.5
Los Angeles Rams +2.5
The Rams were a slight favorite when early odds were revealed over the summer, but things have changed since. In a sign that the Bills are and will be a force in the AFC, they were hit hard reversing roles to become a 2.5-point favorite on the betting line. And under Allen the Bills have been good against NFC competition going 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS since 2018. They finished last season going 12-7 SU and 10-7-2 ATS.
The Super Bowl hangover is always a concern, especially in the first game since winning it all. And most LA regulars didn’t take a snap during the preseason. The Rams played as an underdog just three times last season and they made the most of the points they were getting. They actually didn’t need them winning all three outright. Another noticeable trend in those games was the amount of points. The Rams scored at least 30 in all three contests cashing the OVER every time. With two top QBs running explosive offenses the total hit the board at 52 with a slight increase to 52.5.
When you can score points and hold opponents out of the end zone good things usually happen. While Allen and the offense get a lot of attention, the defense led the NFL in 2021 giving up 17 points per game. However, the group was picked apart by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs in the 42-36 playoff loss. Five times last season the Bills surrendered at least 23 points losing all five games. So while Allen and the offense will put up numbers, the fate of the club resides on defense. Acquiring Von Miller was one step toward improving the overall effectiveness of the unit.
I don’t expect a dropoff in offensive production with many of the same faces back. The group averaged nearly 30 points last year finishing among the top-3 in scoring for a second straight season. While the numbers were down slightly it was still an impressive season for Allen throwing for 4,407 yards and 36 touchdowns and he was nasty in the playoff loss throwing for 329 yards and four TDs. He added nearly 800 yards and six scores on the ground during the season keeping defenses on their toes.
Los Angeles Rams
A lot of things went LA’s way last season for them to advance to and win the Super Bowl. Acquiring Matthew Stafford in a blockbuster deal proved to be the final straw. The club didn’t do much during this offseason and added few players from the draft since they lacked picks. So the club is basically running it back for another go. The talent is certainly there but what about the motivation? The hardest thing to do in sports is to repeat as champion and the NFL is no different. At least the team will be eager to play since Sean McVay sat all his regulars during the preseason. The strategy paid off last season with Stafford throwing three TD passes in a 34-14 opening day win over Chicago.
Defensively the Rams were middle-of-the-pack last season ranked 17th in yards allowed and 15th in scoring. They have two of the best defenders in the game in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, who can both make game-changing plays. And the Rams showed resiliency during the playoffs winning their last three games, including the Super Bowl, by a field goal.
Bills vs Rams Prediction
Two teams that have no problems moving the football give plenty of value to the OVER. The clubs played a few seasons ago with Buffalo earning a 35-32 victory. They haven’t played all that often but points have been plentiful. As much as a I want to take Buffalo in this matchup, the Rams are an experienced club and taking on one of the best in the AFC should be enough motivation. And the points are nice, too.
Prediction: Los Angeles Rams +2.5 / OVER 52.5