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Rams-Chargers opening odds: Baker Mayfield back to being an underdog in Week 17

Despite the L.A. Rams Christmas Day blowout, they are 8-point underdogs to the Chargers

Denver Broncos v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams were a dominant force in their 51-14 win over the Denver Broncos on Christmas Day, with historic days for Baker Mayfield, Cobie Durant, and a defense that intercepted Denver quarterbacks four times. But that hasn’t stopped people from betting against them in Week 17’s L.A. showdown with the Chargers.

The Chargers open as 8-point favorites “at home” at SoFi Stadium against the Rams according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The game’s over/under is set at 41 points, 10 points less than what the Rams scored on Christmas.

If the Rams look even half as good against the Chargers as they did the Broncos, the score will be much closer than eight points, if not another victory for Baker Mayfield. The former Browns and Panthers quarterback is now 2-1 in the three games that he started or got extensive action as L.A.’s signal caller. Mayfield beat the Raiders 17-16 and the Broncos 51-14, so he’s doing great against the AFC West.

Mayfield went 24-of-28 for 230 yards and two touchdowns, the second-best completion percentage for a Rams quarterback ever.

Durant had two of L.A.’s four interceptions against the Broncos, with Jalen Ramsey and Bobby Wagner accounting for the others. It was the best game of the year for the Rams offense and the Rams defense, while Matt Gay went 3-of-3 on field goals, including two from beyond 50 yards. Gay has tied the franchise record for most 50+ yard field goals in a season, making 7-of-8.

Sean McVay is intimately familiar with Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, a former Rams assistant. Next he faces Brandon Staley, the former Rams defensive coordinator in 2020. So McVay again may have a coaching advantage. The Chargers have won three of their last four games to get back into the AFC playoff hunt, but L.A. doesn’t play their Week 16 game until Monday Night Football against the Colts.

If the Chargers win against one of the worst teams in the league, they will be 9-6 heading into next week’s game against the Rams. Lose and they will be 8-7, three games better than the Rams.

Is eight points a fair spread for a Rams team that was so bad prior to Week 16? Or is it underrating how good the Rams were in Week 16?

Certainly the optimism for the future is looking up.