49ers vs. Rams Odds For NFC Championship Game: Analyst Likes SF To Cover Spread As a Road Dog In NFL Playoffs

49ers vs. Rams Odds For NFC Championship Game: Analyst Likes SF To Cover Spread As a Road Dog In NFL Playoffs article feature image

Getty Images. Pictured: 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, Rams WR Cooper Kupp

  • We break down the latest NFL odds, including the spread and over/under, for the 49ers-Rams NFC Championship Game.
  • Find expert projections, picks and how these teams made it to the NFC title game below.

49ers vs. Rams Odds

Rams -3.5
Odds via DraftKings. Find real-time NFL odds here.

The 6-seeded San Francisco 49ers pulled off back-to-back road upsets of the Cowboys then the Packers in order to reach the NFC Championship Game, where they'll face a familiar foe: Their NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams.

Find our Director of Predictive Analytics' projected odds, one analyst's early spread pick, and a recap of each team's seasons below.

49ers vs. Rams Schedule

Sunday, Jan. 30
6:30 p.m. ET

49ers vs. Rams Projections

Our Director of Predictive Analytics, Sean Koerner, reveals his initial projections for the spread and over/under based on his model.

These are subject to change before kickoff, though, so be sure to check out our NFL PRO Projections — i.e. real-time consensus projections based on models of six experts (including Sean).

  • Spread: Rams -2.5
  • Total: 46.5
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49ers vs. Rams Predictions

Lean 49ers +3.5

Brandon Anderson: It’s a divisional rematch for the NFC title, and the Rams are happy to be here  —  and hosting!  — but this is not the opponent they wanted to see.

The 49ers have owned the Rams, sweeping them in six matchups over the past three seasons. Sean McVay is 3-7 against Kyle Shanahan, both straight up and against the spread (ATS), and McVay's Rams were favored in eight of the 10. Considering McVay is 44-32-2 (58%) ATS against all other coaches, per our Action Labs data, Shanahan and his staff appear to have his number.

These teams met in Week 18 with plenty on the line. The Rams were playing for a division title while the Niners needed a win to make the playoffs. Los Angeles jumped out to a quick 17-0 start but had only 123 more yards after that, 92 of them on one drive. San Francisco gave McVay his only loss ever with a halftime lead (45-1!) while sacking Matthew Stafford five times, stuffing the run game, and coming back to win in overtime.

The game was nowhere near as close as the final score indicated — the 49ers dominated 449-to-265 in yardage even without stud LT Trent Williams, but Rams magic on third down (10-for-17) and in the red zone (3-for-4) kept it tight.

In the Week 10 meeting, San Francisco dominated from the start, winning 31-10. The Niners controlled the clock with nearly double the time of possession, picked Stafford off on his first two drives, eliminated their run game and rumbled 44 times for 156 yards.

Football is a game of matchups, and this one has leaned heavily in San Francisco’s favor. The Niners have repeatedly shown they can run on the Rams with Shanahan’s system. Their defense has held its own, too. Coordinator DeMeco Ryans put on a masterclass in Green Bay this weekend, shutting down the league-leading Packers offense the final three quarters.

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So what can we learn from the Divisional Round?

San Francisco didn’t have much offense but produced just enough when needed. Jimmy Garoppolo was poor, but Deebo Samuel and George Kittle made the big plays, and the defense and special teams did the rest. Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead pressured Aaron Rodgers all game in an incredible defensive effort.

The Rams? Their game looked a lot like Week 18 against the 49ers. LA was awesome early and had myriad chances to put the champs away for good, but nearly blew the entire game with an incredible succession of fumbles and mistakes late. The Rams pass rush was in the Bucs backfield all game and never gave Tom Brady a chance.

Really, neither game should have been close. The Rams should have run away with it while the 49ers should have been blown out. That’s certainly how both games felt early. But those results may be buying us a little value.

Are we positive the Rams are awesome again? They felt more like an exhausted and banged-up defending champ sputtering to the finish line for the second half of the Divisional Round. And the Cardinals were awful in the Wild Card Round. The Rams D looked awesome in both wins, but the Bucs tackles were turnstyles, especially with Tristan Wirfs missing.

The Niners have the offensive line to keep the Rams pass rush at bay, even though the Rams rush leads the NFL in ESPN's pass rush win rate. The Rams had four sacks against the Niners this season, but the Niners recorded seven themselves.

These playoff games are won in the trenches, and the Rams offensive line is the weak spot in this matchup. It will help if Andrew Whitworth returns after missing the last round, but Bosa and Armstead should put Stafford under pressure while Trent Williams et al should hold their own.

Matthew Stafford-Nick Bosa
Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images. Pictured: Rams QB Matthew Stafford, 49ers DE Nick Bosa

Many wondered how the 49ers defense would handle the Packers offense, but it did just fine. The Niners ranked fourth in Football Outsiders' defensive DVOA over the final eight weeks, leading the league in run D over that span. The Rams have gotten nothing from the run game, so that puts this all on Stafford beating the pass rush and getting to the secondary.

Cooper Kupp had 240 yards combined in the last two meetings with the 49ers and should be big again, but the Niners defense largely shut down the Rams for all but one quarter.

Don’t misunderstand what we've seen the last two weeks; the Rams offense is not suddenly “back." It ranked only 14th in Weighted DVOA down the stretch, and it’s been fine — not amazing — against two defenses that faded late with key injuries. If the Rams win, it will be because of the defense again . And the Niners offense has had this defense’s number.

Sometimes the schemes and matchups just work, and until proven otherwise, that’s been the case on both sides of this matchup. The 49ers can run on the Rams and control the clock. And the San Francisco defense has handled Los Angeles' attack.

Really, the metrics say San Francisco is every bit as good as Los Angeles, maybe even better since the Niners were missing key players for the middle chunk of the season. The Rams get the home game, but it sure sounded like a 49ers crowd at SoFi in Week 18, so I’m not sure there’s much home-field advantage to factor in, nor any weather.

That means we’re getting a couple free points on the line.

Then there’s the history of division matchups in the playoffs. Visitors are 15-8-1 (65%) ATS in division matchups since 2003, and home teams had failed to cover in eight straight until doing so in both such games this postseason. The team with the worse winning percentage is also 14-6-1 (70%) ATS and teams that won the last meeting by a touchdown or less are 8–5 (62%) ATS.

History tells us we give too much credit to the presumed “better” home team in these division playoff matchups.

History also tells us to trust Shanahan as an underdog and fade Stafford as a favorite. Shanahan is 27–18 (60%) ATS as a dog, including 2-1 ATS in the playoffs, and he’s won 12 of the last 19 such games outright. The 49ers are built to play as underdogs, controlling the clock with a run game and playing tough defense. As for Stafford, he’s still only 14-35-2 (29%) ATS against teams over .500 in November or later. That includes 7-8 straight up as a favorite, just 5-9-1 (36%) ATS.

If you’ve been following my picks this season, this one should not come as a surprise. I backed the 49ers to cover and win as Week 10 underdogs against the Rams, then did so again in Week 18. I picked them to cover and win against the Cowboys and Packers in the first two rounds, and I have Super Bowl futures on the Niners, too.

There’s just one thing that will keep this pick a "lean" for now: The injury report for San Francisco is cloudy at best.

Garoppolo is nursing thumb and shoulder injuries. Bosa and Fred Warner played this past weekend but went into it questionable. Williams is playing hurt and struggled. Kittle and Samuel both limped off on the final drive. That’s basically a "who’s who" of their most important players.

I expect all of them to go, but we'll wait to make sure before going all-in on the 49ers again. I’m less worried about the spread since I’ll almost certainly be playing the moneyline again, and if we lose a little value there, it’s likely because the injury report looks clean. That’s a fair trade worth waiting for.

Once we get the green light, we’re backing San Francisco all the way.

How 49ers Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs

  • Divisional Round: Beat Packers, 13-10
  • Wild Card Round: Beat Cowboys, 23-17
  • Regular Season: 10-7

Chase Howell: The 49ers had an up-and-down season but were able to sneak into the playoffs in the NFC. It’s clear the Niners have the firepower to be one of the top teams in the NFL, but it was rare that they performed like it throughout the regular season.

Deebo Samuel has emerged as one of the best offensive weapons in the league and Elijah Mitchell has shown he can be a reliable starter at running back. They may have a quarterback controversy on their hands heading into the postseason with Jimmy Garoppolo returning from a thumb injury and No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance looking more than serviceable in relief.

On the defensive side, they ranked eighth in the NFL in Football Outsiders’ total DVOA on defense and are one of the better units in the NFL with elite pass rushing.

Patrick McDermott/Getty Images. Pictured: 49ers kicker Robbie Gould (far left) celebrates game-winning field goal vs. Packers in Divisional Round

How Rams Reached 2022 NFL Playoffs

  • Divisional Round: Beat Bucs, 30-27
  • Wild Card Round: Beat Cardinals, 34-11
  • Regular Season: 12-5

Avery Yang: There are few teams in the NFL with more upside. This team is all in, with stars at half their positions, and the lack of draft capital to show for it.

But they have some problems, especially offensively. Matthew Stafford has had a good year, sure, but he leads the league in pick-sixes and always seems to put this team into precarious positions.

Can the Rams rip off three straight wins to get the Super Bowl? Absolutely. But football is a game of variance, and it's up to you to depend on Stafford for three straight high-pressure games.

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