Ah, predictions for a new NFL season – what are they really worth? Sure, sometimes people look prescient by saying that a certain team will have a great season, but, more often than experts care to admit, those predictions will go wayward. Want some proof? You can count on hand over how many pre-season favorites have gone on to win the Super Bowl at the end of the season.
Opinions differ, of course. A good NFL prediction site will take an objective view, but there is always some subjectivity mixed in there. But when looking at the Rams and Chargers hopes for the new season, we wanted to take a broader look at what the experts say, bringing an average of the latest power rankings from notable football sites and betting odds from major sportsbooks.
Before we start, a quick note on the methodology. We picked three major media organizations – ESPN, NFL, and Pro Football Network – and averaged the power rankings for each team. We also chose five sportsbooks and ranked the Chargers and Rams in terms of the odds. Is the exercise pointless? Sure, but it’s interesting to see where those predictions stand – broadly – as we approach the new season. Let’s get on with it, starting with the Rams:
Average Power Ranking: 6th
Average Betting Odds: +1200 (4th)
ESPN led the way in banging the drum for the Rams, opining that the team had a good free agency (we won’t argue with that). Pro Football Network and NFL both went for 7th in the power rankings.
What they said: “The Rams are a solid roster overall”, Pro Football Network. “The Rams are obsessed with trading top draft assets for established veterans”, NFL.
As for the sportsbooks’ odds, they range from around +1000 to +1400. That suggests the bookies think the Rams are contenders. Sportsbooks don’t always agree, of course, and some betting firms have put the 49ers and Ravens slightly ahead of the Rams. However, there is almost unanimous consensus that the Chiefs, Buccaneers, and Bills are the front three in the betting for Super Bowl LVI.
Average Power Ranking: 17th
Average Betting Odds: +3000 (14th)
As you can see, bookmakers tend to rate the chances of both LA teams slightly better than those who make the power rankings. They are two different metrics, of course, but it’s interesting nevertheless. ESPN ranked the Chargers at 16th, whereas Pro Football Network was the least keen at 19th. The latter, however, ranked the Chargers in its section marked possible division winners/playoff contenders – so all is not lost.
What they said: “The Chargers, on paper, have an incredibly competitive team.”, Pro Football Network. “It will be exciting to see whether it all works.” ESPN.
You can see by the rhetoric used in the power rankings that there is a lot of mystery surrounding the Chargers – they could be great, or could stink the place out. That provides a headache for bookmakers, and it leaves them beside other unpredictable teams – the Patriots, Dolphins – in terms of odds rankings. The nature of this means that should the Chargers new-look roster gel and get off to a winning start, those odds will soon tumble.