Nine points. That is what odds makers are giving the Detroit Lions in their season opener against the St. Louis Rams. For Rams fans high on the good vibes of a new era, the spread seems wide enough to drive a truck full of fake mustaches through it. Then you consider the divergent paths these two teams took last season.
Matthew Stafford passed for more than 5,000 yards, a number that would have raised eyebrows in a previous era of the NFL. Detroit scored an average of 29.6 points per game last season, the fourth-best total in the NFL.
Touchdowns did not come easy for the Rams, as you well remember. They scored an average of 12.1 points per game. That's kind of a noticeable gap between the two teams, and something that is not going to magically disappear in one offseason, hence the spread.
Defensively, the Rams allowed an average of 25.4 points, and out of all the deficiencies, that one looks to be the one where Jeff Fisher's team really stands to improve. The Lions allowed 24.2 points per game last season, so if the Rams offense can hang in there, they might just have a chance.
The Rams are 1-9 against the spread in their last 10 road games.
St. Louis has one statistical trend on its side. Over the last decade lopsided home favorites have struggled to cover a big spread in the opener, going 4-14 against the spread.
The over/under on the game is 45.5 points, and most are picking the over.
Thoughts on the spread here?