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49ers vs. Rams Live Betting Strategies In NFC Championship for 2022 NFL Playoffs

49ers vs. Rams Live Betting Strategies In NFC Championship for 2022 NFL Playoffs article feature image
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Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Image. Pictured: 49ers DL Nick Bosa looks on as Rams players huddle

49ers at Rams

Spread Rams -3.5
Total 45.5
Time 6:40 p.m. ET
TV FOX
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The 49ers and Rams are meeting for a third time, only now there’s a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. San Francisco won each of the first two meetings this season, though the Week 18 contest meant a lot more to the 49ers than it did the Rams.

Despite the 49ers’ head-to-head superiority, the Rams are favored at home. That’s a crucial data point when deciding to bet live on a game. Live lines — with fairly significant deviation from book to book — are weighted to various degrees based on the prior expectation of how this one plays out. As an example, the Rams leading by seven at halftime would produce a very different live line than if San Francisco pulled out ahead.

While it’s impossible ahead of time to figure out exact live bets to make, we’ll be looking for some potential situations where we may have an edge over the books. It’s crucial to have multiple outs here — live lines generally vary a lot more than they do pregame.

Let’s look ahead at a few potential scenarios, what kind of lines we’re likely to see and how best to exploit them.

If the Rams Take an Early Lead

Based on the pregame lines, this is the most likely scenario here. What we’ll be looking for is an overreaction from any of the books to a Rams advantage. We need to be quick on these lines since they could happen early on, or only if the Rams get up by multiple scores.

Other than very late in the game, I’ll be looking to take the 49ers’ spread if it gets above 7.5 or so, though I’d prefer eight. We saw last week how the Rams struggled to hold onto a lead, having nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of a 27-3 lead.

Additionally, the 49ers are the second-best team in the NFL in run defense by DVOA. That makes it exceedingly hard to kill the clock, giving the 49ers enough time to potentially make a comeback. Furthermore, Cam Akers is averaging under 2.5 yards per carry since returning. Matthew Stafford has also been fairly turnover — and pick-six — prone when forced to throw, which could flip the game quickly without the Niners offense contributing.

We’re banking on an improved showing from Jimmy Garoppolo here, but the 49ers have enough explosive weapons to make a play somewhere if given the chance. Keep an eye on which books move their lines the furthest if the Rams score first — they’ll likely be the first to go above the threshold we’re looking for.

I’ll also be looking to bet the under if the Rams control this one early. This total has dipped steadily throughout the week — suggesting value on the original under — and we’d likely see it bounce above the opening line with a quick score or two.

However, both teams are at their worst (offensively) if the 49ers are chasing. Garoppolo is yet to throw a playoff touchdown, and we’ve discussed the Rams running struggles.

Furthermore, the pace of both teams sets up nicely for unders with the Rams in the lead. Los Angeles plays at the fourth-quickest situation-neutral pace, but it drops to 16th when leading by at least a touchdown. San Francisco plays at the seventh-slowest pace when trailing.

If the 49ers Take an Early Lead

San Francisco taking charge sets up nicely for both offenses. The Rams are better at throwing the ball, and the Niners are worse at defending the pass. Stafford making a few key mistakes also boosts scoring — turnovers early in drives or pick-sixes are ideal.

San Francisco could then run the ball to their heart’s content. While that slows the game down, the 49ers are likely to have more success doing so than if they’re forced to pass, particularly if a chunk of those runs go to Deebo Samuel.

The pace also quickens considerably here. The Rams are the third-fastest team when trailing by a touchdown or more.  San Francisco ranks 21st in pace with a lead.

While that isn’t fast overall, it’s the split that leads to the 49ers playing their fastest. (Situation adjusted pace numbers are relative to other teams in the same situation. The 49ers play slower with a lead, but they slow down less than the average team.)

Ideally, we’ll be able to catch this line at or below the opening number once San Francisco gets in front. As with the Rams lead, keep an eye out for which books adjust more based on game conditions. This time though, we’ll be looking for those that move up the least based on new information, namely the 49ers putting up points.

What to Expect in NFC Championship Game

The beauty of live betting is we don’t need an accurate pregame read to have an edge.

The Rams playing with a lead early is the likelier scenario, but we need to be prepared for that to go off script. Keep these options in mind as you watch the game, and opportunities will appear.

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