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Game Time Is Here. But Who’s Betting On Aaron Donald Joining The Party?

At last, September is upon us, and that can only mean one thing. Forget training camp, forget preseason, forget contracts – it is time to get down to the serious business of the regular season.

At least, that would usually be the situation. But when the man widely regarded as the best defensive player, not only in the Rams but in the entire NFL, remains “out east,” holding out for a new deal, it is inevitable that the talk is still on when he will put pen to paper and join up with the rest of the team.

McVay optimistic

Sean McVay says Aaron Donald will be returning soon, but the fact that the star defensive tackle is still in Pittsburgh, some five hours flight from LA, suggests that it will not be soon enough to participate in the week one match up against the Colts.

The Head Coach’s optimism remains undiminished that Donald will be joining up with the team before the regular season gets underway, at least in public. However, behind the bravado, he must have growing doubts as the clock counts down.

Make or break

There is a general consensus among even the most impartial commentators that the Rams have a realistic shot at making the playoffs this year, after their disappointing return of 4-12 in 2016. However, despite the depth in talent within the defensive line, it would be disingenuous to suggest that Donald’s absence will not have an effect.

It is not just the fact that he is “in his own world,” to use the words of nose tackle Michael Brockers, or that he has been a shoe in for every pro bowl since he made the step up to the NFL. Like every great player, he also brings a sense of belief that helps the entire team raise its game.

The NFL betting perspective

On paper, the Rams are generally considered warm favorites over the Colts for the week one match up, but as the big day approaches, how is Donald’s absence likely to affect their chances? With the increase in NFL betting in the UK, a great way to find out is to take a look online at one of the many UK sports betting sites.

The prevalent view is that the Rams are still seen to have the edge, with odds in the order of 10/19 being offered for a win. You can currently pick up around 8/5 on a Colts victory.

Why the dispute?

So how have we ended up in this unedifying situation? When it comes down to it, Donald has had a meteoric rise to fame and is being vastly underpaid. This might sound churlish given that the guy is set to earn just under $2 million in 2017 and almost $7 million in 2018, but that is well short of his market value.

Ultimately, the saga has run longer than it should and is doing Donald, the Rams and the entire NFL no favors.

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