NFL Betting Preview: Dallas Cowboys vs Los Angeles Rams Odds, Preseason Analysis

OddsShark.com@@OddsSharkFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2016

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum, left, hands off the ball to running back Todd Gurley, right, during the NFL football team's training camp, Saturday, July 30, 2016, in Irvine, Calif. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
Ryan Kang/Associated Press

The Rams will officially make their return to Los Angeles on Saturday night when they host the Dallas Cowboys in their first preseason game there in nearly two decades.

Los Angeles is expected to be fired up for the exhibition matchup at Memorial Coliseum, which is one of the reasons the Rams are 4.5-point favorites—the biggest chalk on the betting board in Week 1—against the Cowboys at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark.

Although Case Keenum is expected to start at quarterback for Los Angeles, fans and bettors will likely get a good look at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NFL draft, former Cal signal-caller Jared Goff.

The Rams picked Goff over North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz and Memphis’ Paxton Lynch, who both went later in the first round. Wentz was drafted No. 2 overall by the Philadelphia Eagles, while Lynch was picked at No. 26 by the Denver Broncos, who are looking to replace Brock Osweiler and future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

Regardless, Los Angeles also has one of the best young running backs in the league in Todd Gurley, who missed last year’s preseason action while recovering from knee surgery. Like most starters, Gurley does not figure to see the field much, but he could still break a long run or two and make an impact in the game as long as he plays.

For Dallas, starting quarterback Tony Romo is expected to see little, if any, action in Saturday's game; a surgically repaired collarbone limited Romo to only four games last season. In addition, backup Kellen Moore will not play due to a broken fibula.

That means rookie Dak Prescott could get the bulk of the playing time after the Cowboys selected him in the fourth round of the NFL draft. Prescott was one of the top offensive players in the SEC when he played at Mississippi State, earning first-team all-conference honors in 2014 and 2015.

Former Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott is doubtful to play for the Cowboys on Saturday night in Los Angeles because of a hamstring injury. The Cowboys are hoping Elliott, selected fourth overall in the NFL draft, can fill the void left by DeMarco Murray when he left before last season.