We get our first look at the Los Angeles Rams in the Odell Beckham Jr. era on Monday night. We'll see how much we actually see Beckham.
Beckham signed with the Rams this week, a rare midseason splash signing. Beckham will reportedly be involved in a package of plays, which makes sense. It's not realistic to think he can pick up enough of the offense in a few days. It might not be realistic that Beckham, who hasn't had a huge impact on the field in years, does much with the Rams on Monday night or the rest of the season, but that's yet to be seen.
We'll hear a lot about Beckham on Monday night but it will likely be the other players who will determine if the Rams can cover a 3.5-point spread at BetMGM against a disappointing San Francisco 49ers team.
The Beckham signing looked prescient when Robert Woods tore his ACL in practice on Friday. Beckham and Woods aren't the same style receiver, but when Beckham is up to speed he could conceivably replace Woods' production. On Monday, the Rams can't expect much. But they still have Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, Tyler Higbee and Darrell Henderson around Matthew Stafford. They should be fine.
The Rams have done well against bad teams, and at this point we need to put the 49ers in that category. The 49ers are 3-5. They're coming off a bad 31-17 loss to a shorthanded Arizona Cardinals team. If you're taking the 49ers and the points tonight, it's because you believe they'll have a great effort with their season practically on the brink. But they haven't shown themselves capable of that type of performance.
I'll take the Rams laying 3.5 points. There's more than enough offensive talent, regardless of what Beckham can do on Monday night. The Rams will be motivated to bounce back from last week's prime-time flop against the Tennessee Titans. Nothing in the NFL is bankable, but perhaps we'll see the good Rams show up.
Here's a first look at the sports betting slate for Monday:
Are there any good props for MNF?
I'd be surprised if Van Jefferson doesn't go over 47.5 receiving yards. He's been playing just about every snap the past three weeks, he is a proven talent and he'll get some extra targets with Robert Woods out. I don't think Odell Beckham will take too many targets away from him. Another player who could benefit from Woods not being in the lineup is tight end Tyler Higbee. I like the over on his total of 40.5 receiving yards.
On the other side, I like Brandon Aiyuk over 50.5 receiving yards. He had 45 yards two games ago and then 89 last week. He's finally emerging after a long stay in the doghouse, and he has the talent for some huge games. That over is especially enticing if the 49ers fall behind and have to pass it more.
NBA has an 11-game slate
It's a robust night in the NBA, though without too many great matchups. The Chicago Bulls take on the Los Angeles Lakers, who are still trying to get in a groove this season. The Lakers are 1.5-point favorites. The Denver Nuggets face the Dallas Mavericks, with reigning MVP Nikola Jokic going against MVP hopeful Luka Doncic. The Nuggets are an intriguing 4.5-point underdog. Those are the two best matchups on the card.
What other games are going on?
Well, there's a random noon Eastern tip for Nicholls State at Baylor basketball, in BU's "I'm Going to College" game. The school said it will be attended by about 3,500 students from 14 local elementary schools. Whatever the reason, it's a chance to check out the defending champs. There are a lot of college basketball games but not too many great matchups — Illinois (-9.5) at Marquette and Providence at Wisconsin (-4.5) stand out as two solid games, as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games.
There are only two NHL games, with the Islanders at the Lightning and the Red Wings at the Blue Jackets.
What's the best bet?
I'll do the rare prop for a best bet; I really like the over on Van Jefferson's yards. It seems like a great spot for him to have a big game, and he has legit talent. He just hasn't had many chances to be a big part of the game plan, and I think he will be on Monday night.