Rams-49ers Betting Preview: How to Find Value When Two Offensive Gurus Meet

Rams-49ers Betting Preview: How to Find Value When Two Offensive Gurus Meet article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Sean McVay, Kyle Shanahan

Betting odds: Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers

  • Spread: Rams -9.5
  • Over/Under: 52
  • Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: The biggest favorite of the week, the Rams are getting less support heading into this week than they typically have. At 53% of spread bets as of writing (see live data here), this would be their second-lowest bet percentage behind their Week 4 matchup with the Vikings, in which they closed with 48%.

Perhaps the public is tired of losing.

Even though the Rams are 6-0 straight-up, the fell to 3-3 against the spread last week with their third consecutive loss ATS. With C.J. Beathard and San Francisco putting up a fight in Green Bay, almost half of bettors want the points. Some books have moved the line from 10 to 9.5 as a result. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: Undefeated teams favored by double-digits have been more profitable in the first two months of the regular season than the last two, with a 34-22-1 ATS record in September and October compared to 8-16 ATS record in November and December. John Ewing

The Rams have been dominant in 2018. They’re the last undefeated team in the league and have been listed as the favorite in all six games, with their smallest spread being -6.5 in Week 1 against the worst team in the NFL (the Raiders).

Since 1990, the Rams are the 38th team start the season 6-0. Of the 37 teams before, 17 were favored in all six games, but only one other was favored by at least 6.5 points in each of its first seven games: The 2000 Rams, who were favored in all 16 games and were upset by the Saints in the wild-card round. Evan Abrams

Did you know? While the Rams have won six consecutive games, the 49ers have lost four in a row. Since 2015, teams that have won at least four straight that are facing teams that have lost at least four straight are 9-0 SU and 8-0-1 ATS, covering by 13.1 points per game. Abrams

Biggest mismatch: 49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin vs. Rams cornerback Marcus Peters

It’s obvious that Todd Gurley and his offensive line — which ranks first in Football Outsiders’ Adjusted Line Yards with 5.68 per carry — should be able to dominate the 49ers defense, which has a league-low Pro Football Focus grade of 54.7.

For that matter, Jared Goff and his wide receivers should be able to exploit the 49ers’ pass defense, which is last in the league with a dreadful 38.5 PFF grade.

These mismatches are why the Rams are such big favorites on the road.

But perhaps the biggest one-on-one mismatch is that between Goodwin and Peters.

Ever since Peters (calf) and fellow cornerback teammate Aqib Talib (ankle, injured reserve) exited Week 3 early with injuries, the Rams have been vulnerable through the air, giving up big performances to all manner of wide receivers: Mike Williams (4-81-2), Adam Thielen (8-135-1), Stefon Diggs (11-123-0), Aldrick Robinson (2-33-2), David Moore (3-38-2), Tyler Lockett (3-98-1), Emmanuel Sanders (7-115-1) and Demaryius Thomas (3-57-1).

Although he’s playing through his injury, Peters has been poor over the past month, giving up a league-high five touchdowns in his coverage and 271 yards with an 84.2% catch rate on 19 targets.

Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: 49ers receiver Marquise Goodwin.

Finally healthy after battling quad and hamstring injuries, Goodwin — who has a 4.27-second 40-yard dash time — just torched the Packers for 4-126-2 receiving on five targets last week. He has more than enough speed to get deep on the hobbled Peters for multiple big plays.

If the 49ers cover, it will probably be because Goodwin wins his matchup. Matthew Freedman

Which team is healthier? Rams

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle) won’t suit up on Sunday, but the Rams will welcome back kicker Greg Zuerlein (groin). Receiver Josh Reynolds (hand) is expected to play, so the only key question marks for the Rams are defensive end Michael Brockers (shoulder) and left guard Rodger Saffold (knee).

The 49ers remain banged up at receiver between Pierre Garcon (shoulder/knee), Dante Pettis (knee) and Trent Taylor (back). Cornerbacks Jimmie Ward (hamstring), Ahkello Witherspoon (concussion) and Richard Sherman (calf) also aren’t 100% entering this difficult matchup.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Dashboard for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Gurley is an obvious play this week, but to reach his salary, you’ll need some help from a value play like Reynolds, who is only $3,500 on DraftKings with a 91% Bargain Rating.

Kupp has already been ruled out, and Goff has attempted the fifth-most passes from three-wide receiver sets this season, making Reynolds a serviceable play with a +2.12 Projected Plus/Minus on DK. Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: Over 52

The Rams’ explosive offense requires no introduction, but the 49ers have quietly continued to move the football well in Jimmy Garoppolo’s absence.

Both teams possess leaky pass defenses, giving the matchup the week’s highest combined explosive play rate in the passing game.

The Rams (No. 7) and 49ers (No. 8) also make up the week’s only matchup between two teams ranked in the top 10 in situation neutral pace, so both offenses should have plenty of opportunities against their opponent’s respective below-average defense in Football Outsiders’ overall DVOA. Hartitz 

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.