LAS VEGAS — How the mighty have fallen.
The Los Angeles Rams have slipped from the NFL’s penthouse all the way to the league’s — uh, we’ll put this nicely — basement.
They are 3-8, with rafts of injury issues. And the aging quarterback trio of Aaron Rodgers (4-8 Green Bay), Tom Brady (5-6 Tampa Bay), and Russell Wilson (3-8 Denver) are losing battles to keep their noggins above water.
Worse, those who have consistently been betting on them have lighter wallets. Going against them has produced a 30-13-2 record against the number.
“Because of the Rams’ [injury] situations, I would probably rank them 31st out of the 32 teams, with the Texans 32nd,” said Westgate SuperBook vice president Jay Kornegay. “And I’d rank the Broncos 30th.”
Those Rams, though. Kornegay had to think for a few seconds about a titlist that has slipped so far, so fast, from the élite. The lifelong Denver Broncos supporter didn’t have to ponder long.
Denver won consecutive Super Bowls in the 1997 and ’98 seasons, then quarterback John Elway retired. The Broncos followed that with a 6-10 campaign, losing their first four games of ’99.
The Broncos won it all again in 2015, went 9-7 after Peyton Manning retired, and have been skidding ever since — a sixth consecutive losing season all but ensured as this season’s disaster drags on.
The defense is stellar, but the offense is putrid. Even with all that fodder, though, Kornegay spoke this week with a Broncos beat writer who wondered if last week — with a slight edge over Carolina — would be the last time Denver might be favored in a game this season.
“I said, ‘Welllllll … you gotta look at that Rams game.’ As ugly as the Broncos have been, which the whole nation has seen, they have a chance,” Kornegay said. “If it were played right now, the Broncos actually would be favored.”
The Broncos play the Rams in Inglewood, Calif., on Christmas Day. In May, when the SuperBook concocted the odds on every NFL game this season, it made the Rams a 3.5-point favorite against Denver.
Defensive tackles Aaron Donald (ankle) and A’Shawn Robinson (knee), quarterback Matthew Stafford (concussion), and receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle) are just some of the Rams residing in their M*A*S*H unit.
Before Stafford was listed as “out” this week, Kornegay called him “very, very doubtful” to play against the Seahawks.
That game has received tremendous interest at the SuperBook, moving from Seattle favored by 4.5 to 6.5 and 7, then to 8, before settling at 7.5 by the middle of the week.
“When you see that kind of movement in the market, a lot of that is by the bookmakers themselves,” Kornegay said. “Also, there’s some sharp play in there … to be honest, I don’t even think Stafford will play the rest of the year.”
Seattle Seahawks (6-5, 6-5 ATS) at Los Angeles Rams (3-8, 3-7-1 ATS)
Bryce Perkins started at QB for the Rams last week at Kansas City, going 13-for-23 for 100 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions in a 26-10 defeat. The Rams have dropped five in a row, and seven of their past eight games.
Riley Dixon and John Wolford have also played the position this season, and Kornegay isn’t certain about the latter. “I don’t even think he’s 100 percent, but he hasn’t looked very good.”
Two consecutive losses might have cooled some people on Seattle QB Geno Smith, but he had won four in a row before the dip. Plus, he has won in this arena this season, a 37-23 decision over the Chargers.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-2, 3-7-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (7-4, 8-3)
In those opening lines in May, the SuperBook placed a 50 on this total. By Thursday, the SuperBook had bumped this up from 52.5, in line with several other Vegas shops.
“It will probably be the highest-scoring game of the week,” Kornegay said, “and very entertaining. The Bengals have quietly gotten back into contention, and the Chiefs have separated themselves from the Bills, as being the top-ranked team as we speak.
“I would expect them to light up the scoreboard pretty well.”
Ja’Marr Chase, the wideout from LSU, has missed the Bengals’ past four games (five overall weeks) with a hip injury, and he was limited in practice this week. The team called him questionable for this game.
No worry, though, as Cincy QB Joe Burrow has won five of his past six games, averaging more than 300 yards in that stretch with 14 TDs and three interceptions.
Twice last season, Burrow directed big comebacks against Kansas City in Cincy (34-31 after trailing 21-7) and 27-24 in overtime in KC, rebounding from a 21-3 deficit to get the Bengals into the Super Bowl.
NFL Week 13 teaser pick: Bengals (+8.5) over Chiefs
Miami Dolphins (8-3, 6-5 ATS) at San Francisco 49ers (7-4, 6-5 ATS)
Sun (12/4) @ 4:05 p.m. ET
Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
Niners -4, Total 46.5
As San Francisco gets healthy on defense, the numbers reflect that improvement. Over the season, the Niners are best in the league, allowing 0.262 points per play; over their past three, that’s been tempered to 0.144.
And here comes Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa, the NFL’s top passer with a 115.7 rating. Geno Smith leads the league with a 72.8 completion percentage, but Tua is next at 69.7%.
Over their past three games, these are the NFL’s top two teams in points-per-play margin: the Niners tops at 0.232 and Miami placing at 0.205. Kornegay noted that offensive weapons Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel will be banged up, even if they try to play.
“The Dolphins come in fairly healthy,” Kornegay said. “With the injuries the 49ers are going through right now, [4 points is] a pretty tight spread; in my opinion, a little high.”
Super Bowl 57 odds: Dolphins are one of the favorites
Tennessee Titans (7-4, 8-3 ATS) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-1, 6-5 ATS)
Sun (12/4) @ 1 p.m. ET
Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Eagles -4.5, Total 44.5
Derrick Henry had been jamming. In a five-game stretch that included four on the road, he ran for 678 yards (135.6-yard average) and seven touchdowns.
In his past three tilts, he has totaled 178 yards (fewer than 60 a game) with a single TD.
However, sharp money, according to SuperBook oddsman Ed Salmons, knocked this down from 6.5 early in the week. They might know that since Henry became a starter in 2018, the Titans are 14-9 (.609) against the spread as an away dog.
After missing two games, Tennessee QB Ryan Tannehill beat Denver 17-10 with two TD passes, won at Green Bay 27-17 with another two scoring passes, and lost a 20-16 duel at home to Cincy QB Joe Burrow.
The Eagles, meanwhile, sport the fourth-best points-per-play margin at home at 0.113.
Best teams against the spread: Titans in a three-way tie
Washington Commanders (7-5, 7-4-1 AT) at New York Giants (7-4, 8-3 ATS)
Sun (12/4) @ 1 p.m. ET
MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ
Commanders -2.5, Total 40.5
Look who has quietly, maybe, won six of his past seven games. Washington head coach Ron Rivera, of course, has that rousing victory at Philly on his résumé, while few seem to believe the Giants deserve that record.
“I think even their fans knew their tires were over-inflated,” Kornegay said of the Giants. “I think most people in the league and in the sportsbook business realize they weren’t the team that the record was showing us.
“You have to throw that record out and understand what you’re really getting with the Giants; it’s probably an average team at best.”
On the other side, Kornegay called the job Rivera has done “fantastic,” getting decent quarterback play with a “very, very solid defense. I would say the Commanders’ wins are more impressive than the Giants’ wins.”
Also read: Commanders vs. Giants odds and prediction
New York Jets (7-4, 7-4 ATS) at Minnesota Vikings (9-2, 5-5-1 ATS)
Sun (12/4) @ 1 p.m. ET
US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Vikings -3, Total 44.5
Whatever the record for most quarterbacks with at least one victory for the same team in one season, the Jets appear to be chasing. Mike White became the third for the team in last week’s home victory over Chicago.
Two other New York players have tossed at least one pass this season, too, and of those three attempts, one went for a touchdown.
In this century, the Jets most recently lost at Minnesota 30-24 after beating the Vikings 26-13 in their own home. New York owns the lifetime series, 8-3.
In points-per-play efficiency margin on the season, the Jets are in the top third of the league. But they’re No. 6 over their past three games at 0.104.
Plus, they yield fewer points on the road (15.8, second-best in the league) than they do at home (19.5). Minnesota is in the top third of the NFL, averaging 25 points per game at home.
“Even though White played very well last week, showing some offensive life, I still believe going into Minnesota is a big challenge for the Jets,” Kornegay said. “The Vikings play very well at home. For only being a 3-point favorite, I think it’s a little light.
“It should be 3.5. Not 5 or 6, but I think it should be on the high side at 3.5, and it isn’t. I know the Jets’ defense is pretty solid, but after one performance I’m not crowning White.”
NFL Week 13 betting trends: Early action on Jets
Green Bay Packers (4-8, 4-8 ATS) at Chicago Bears (3-9, 4-7-1 ATS)
Sun (12/4) @ 1 p.m. ET
Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Packers -4.5, Total 43
Chicago QB Justin Fields (shoulder, hamstrings) might not play, but Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur ran practice all week as if the versatile youngster out of Ohio State would give it a go. Trevor Siemian or Nathan Peterman are possible replacements.
For the Packers, QB Aaron Rodgers (ribs, throwing thumb) is 24-5 lifetime against the Bears, including 11-3 at Soldier Field. Packers backup Jordan Love threw a late TD pass in Philly.
“A lot of people are sold on Love, but I’m not one of them,” Kornegay said. “They said he looked good last week; yeah, that was against a prevent defense. They said he looked good during the preseason; well, defenses are not showing you everything.
“Still, those young Green Bay receivers have been performing, they still have two pretty decent running backs back there and they have an above-average defense. I’m not sure you can say any of that about Chicago.”
Bears games have gone 8-4 to Over, and their first halves are 9-3 to Over. The past three Packers games have also gone Over.
Key numbers portend points. Chicago is in the league basement having allowed 0.430 points per play this season, and it’s getting worse as it’s yielded a league-high 0.511 over the past three games.
Over its past three, Green Bay has allowed 0.428 points per play, the fifth-worst in the NFL.
Los Angeles Chargers (6-5, 7-4 ATS) at Las Vegas Raiders (4-7, 5-6 ATS)
Sun (12/4) @ 4:25 p.m. ET
Allegiant Stadium, Las Vegas, NV
Chargers -1, Total 50.5
The Chargers will be dealing with the NFL’s leader in all-purpose yardage, Josh Jacobs, with 1,484. With 1,159 rushing yards, he has eclipsed Derrick Henry of Tennessee at the top of that tree.
For what it’s worth, these two have played twice in Vegas with the combined total score being 62-62.
Indianapolis Colts (4-7-1, 5-7 ATS) at Dallas Cowboys (8-3, 7-4 ATS)
Sun (12/4) @ 8:20 p.m. ET
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX
Cowboys -10.5, Total 44.5
This got bumped from 9.5 to 10 after Monday Night Football, and then sharp play moved it to 11. By Thursday, it had eked back to 10.5. Of course, an abundance of public action flows into the SuperBook by the end of the week.
So was that early professional play part of an overall exposure of Jeff Saturday, the Colts’ new boss who won his first game (25-20 at Las Vegas) but has dropped his past two at home, 17-16 to Philly and 24-17 to Pittsburgh?
“Yeah, they had problems managing the clock last week,” Kornegay said. “It might be just the tip of the iceberg of what the true colors will be in Indianapolis the rest of the season.”
New Orleans Saints (4-8, 4-8 ATS) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6, 3-7-1 ATS)
Mon (12/5) @ 8:15 p.m. ET
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
Bucs -3.5, Total 40.5
Tampa had two weeks to prepare for the Browns after its bye week but stumbled at Cleveland in a 23-17 overtime defeat that kept the Bucs sub-.500.
After this one, it’s off to San Francisco for Brady and the Bucs, then they get the Bengals right here at Raymond James. Finishing above .500 will be a tough challenge for Tampa.
The Saints have been spinning their wheels, losing three of their past four and five of their past seven. Nothing about this one makes it deserving of the Monday night spotlight.
The visitors last hit 400 total yards in their first game of the season and none since, while Tampa hit 453 a month ago against Baltimore and accumulated 367 in Cleveland. Might be a good night to go bowling.