This Rams vs. 49ers spread screams out “misdirection”.
The numbers have been so titled in one direction that Rams bettors will consider whether they are set to go the other way.
Here’s what Rams players might take personally and what bettors may take to the window:
The highest DraftKings support of any team in the league – 93% betting handle – rests with the Niners this week. That’s with the game at SoFi Stadium, where the Rams stamped their ticket to the 2022 Super Bowl with a 20-17 playoff victory.
The handle percentage looks even more of an insult to Rams fans given the 49ers’ last performance, a 44-23 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Lose by three touchdowns at home, go on the road as a favorite against the defending Super Bowl champs and the public rides with you? Wow.
What’s Behind the Sentiment
The Niners have owned the Rams during the regular season in recent years. San Francisco has won seven straight, including the 24-9 drubbing it pasted on the Rams in early October.
The Niners have the Rams’ number right now. But is this the game that changes?
Why bettors would think so:
- Van Jefferson is slated to return. The Rams have missed a receiver who caught 50 passes for 802 yards and six touchdowns last year. If nothing else, he may provide more operating room to Rams’ receiving star Cooper Kupp.
- The Rams moved the ball just as effectively as the Niners in their first game. Their problem came in the red zone. They could not punch the ball in, while San Francisco found the end zone twice. Any Rams improvement in this area puts them in a good spot.
- How many highlight reels can Deebo Samuel have? His 57-yard touchdown run in the second quarter of the first matchup was a thing of beauty. Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk give the Niners an extensive edge in team speed.
- But Deebo is battling a hammy. Samuel did not practice Wednesday on account of a hamstring injury and players are never 100% while facing that.
- The first game was tight until Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw a late Pick 6. That changed the game from 17-9 to 24-9.
- San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was in a rocking chair for the first game. No fuss, no muss, no pressure. No sacks. He found open receivers in the middle of the field and let them loose.
- Stafford, by contrast, was sacked seven times and constantly hurried. A Rams bettor would think that any improvement in this category significantly enhances their chances.
How the Rams defense could change the dynamic: blitzing Garoppolo, forcing throws to receivers who haven’t fully run their patterns.
The Rams also need to revoke the All-Day Pass they gave Niners receivers in the middle of the field. This may start with harassment of Garoppolo to disrupt the timing of plays.
Things could be worse.
The 3-3 Rams enter the week ahead of the 3-4 Niners. They are only one game off the NFC West lead, which is held by the surprising Seattle Seahawks. They are right in the mix, if they can right the ship.
Finally, the law of averages.
The Rams are due to break through in the Red Zone. Is this the week?
Why bettors would think the Rams can’t win
Stafford isn’t mobile and there isn’t a run game to support him. Kupp, Allen Robinson and Tyler Higbee form a talented receiving corps, but this team doesn’t have a powerful backfield performer. That leads to no respect at the line of scrimmage, and the sacks.
The team has been lethargic.
Super Bowl hangover.
When they win, they do just enough. Witness the big lead they nearly coughed up against the Atlanta Falcons. Or their last effort, in which they trailed the Carolina Panthers at home before prevailing. They don’t have a victory over any team with a winning record.
They have lost to the Buffalo Bills and Dallas Cowboys, at home, along with the Niners on the road. That’s no way for a Super Bowl champion to perform. There is no urgency or spark to the Rams. Did the bye week change that?
The Niners have upgraded.
Christian McCaffrey is a monster. He is a dual threat, both regarding his rushing totals and ability to catch a pass out of the backfield. The Niners have upgraded themselves, the Rams have not.
What bettors will look for in this game.
There are so many directions gamblers can go, regardless of their viewpoint on the spread.
Both Stafford and Garoppolo can be pressured into tossing a turnover under pressure. Garoppolo threw a big one in the NFC championship game last year.
Stafford is always a candidate for a Pick 6. Sack someone seven times and he will release the ball earlier than he wants.
What gamblers will consider is whether the betting line price supports turnover props.
Anytime Touchdown Scorers
Look for the usual contenders like Kupp, McCaffrey and perhaps George Kittle. The first-touchdown stab always pays well but is hard to hit.
There is one up at DraftKings for McCaffrey to rush for 75 yards, gain 50 yards receiving and rush for a touchdown. Pretty specific requirement. It pays +600 though.
Bettors don’t have to be that complicated, however.
More DraftKings options
Can the Rams adjust? The over-under of 20.5 for their total points is a fair prop. It’s -110 on either side.
Will the Niners record three or more touchdowns? The Over 2.5 is +115 and the Under is -155.
Will the Rams gain three touchdowns or more? The Over 2.5 is +125 and the Under is -105.
Do you sense dominance by either team?
The Rams would pay +360 to win both halves. The Niners would pay +310.
A tie in any half is a loss. Betting this wager reflects the belief that a team will have a narrow lead at halftime and then win the second half. A 15-point halftime edge, for example, sets up a team to coast in the second half.
Which half will produce the most points? The first half is -105, the second is -115 and a draw is +1500.