49ers vs. Rams Odds, Picks, Predictions: How To Bet This NFL Week 18 Showdown Based On Jimmy Garoppolo’s Status
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: George Kittle.
- The 49ers vs. Rams odds have shifted with Los Angeles now positioned as a 3-point favorite in this Week 18 NFL matchup.
- That's still within our analyst's range for his spread bet — find his pick in the betting preview below.
|Time||4:25 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.|
On Sunday, there will be plenty on the line when the Los Angeles Rams host the San Francisco 49ers. A 49ers victory would guarantee them a playoff berth, while a Rams win would clinch the NFC West division title and the 2-seed in the NFC. The injury report will be critical to this game, with 49ers quarterback, Jimmy Garropolo, listed as questionable. Let’s dig into this matchup and see where the value might lie.
Click the arrow to expand injury reports
49ers vs. Rams Injury Report
- QB Jimmy Garoppolo (right thumb): Questionable
- T Trent Williams (elbow): Questionable
- LB Azeez Al-Shaair (knee): Questionable
- LB Dre Greenlaw Full Name (groin): Questionable
- DL Maurice Hurst (calf): Questionable
- LB Marcell Harris (Achilles): Questionable
- S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder): Questionable
The Rams have no players listed as out, doubtful or questionable for Week 18.
49ers vs. Rams Matchup
|49ers Offense||DVOA Rank||Rams Defense|
|49ers Defense||DVOA Rank||Rams Offense|
|Football Outsiders’ DVOA measures efficiency by comparing a team’s success on every play to the league average based on situation and opponent.|
49ers Keep Starting QB A Mystery
I get the sense that there’s a bit of arrogance with 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. He’s often described as a genius for his nuanced take on the outside zone running scheme. And generally, when you’re regarded so highly by your peers and the media, you don’t want to give away any of your secret powers.
Shanahan seems to enjoy this veil of secrecy that hangs around him like one’s own shadow. We saw an example of this during the 2021 NFL Draft when Shanahan and 49ers general manager John Lynch wouldn’t even tell members within their organization who they would select with the third overall pick.
49ers did not tell their coaches or scouts their pick. They didn’t know the team was selecting Trey Lance until the pick was announced.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 30, 2021
Now it appears that Shanahan is up to his old tricks as he’s refusing to announce beforehand who he’ll start at quarterback on Sunday.
Garropolo has an injury on his right thumb, which could be problematic during handoffs with running backs. While simply handing the ball off might sound like a minor issue, Shanahan is meticulous down to the positioning and placement of where the running back and quarterback are supposed to be for each exchange. If Garropolo is favoring his thumb, it could disrupt the plays or even result in a turnover in the backfield.
Garropolo and backup Trey Lance split snaps during this week’s practice to keep the Rams guessing even more. However, the notion that both players shared snaps suggests quite a bit of confidence on the 49ers part ahead of the game. It also indicates that both quarterbacks have a good grasp of the offense if they’re not taking the entire bulk of the snaps.
If we return to San Francisco’s outside zone running, we know that the 49ers are very skilled in this scheme. Running backs are often asked to make a single cut before planting their foot and accelerating up field. And because the linemen block on each down as if it’s an aggressive running play, they’re better able to deceive their opponents on passing plays.
The 49ers do an excellent job taking advantage of this scheme inside the red zone. San Francisco converts a league-high 68% of its red-zone trips. And while the Rams are highly regarded defensively, the flexibility within San Francisco’s offensive scheme does seem to trouble them.
Stafford’s Turnover Woes Create Rams Liability
In Week 17, I cashed a ticket on the Rams by playing them as part of a two-team teaser. However, I have to be honest because I was worried about the Rams’ ability to cover the spread on the road. I thought they’d somehow find a way to leave the backdoor open. But it was Los Angeles that needed to come from behind to win after trailing 10-0 with under two minutes remaining in the first half.
Although I went into the handicap wanting to fade Matt Stafford, I admitted that perhaps I’d been a bit harsh on him in my writeup. Yet, after watching him throw two more interceptions, including another pick-six, it’ll be a little while before I’m running to the window to back him again.
Stafford’s turnover woes are certainly a concern, and if you go back and review the Rams’ four losses, they committed a total of nine turnovers in those games. However, when you look at the Rams’ overall numbers across the board, it’s difficult to find many faults with them given their 12-4 record on the season. But for bettors, we care less about their overall record and more about their ATS mark.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the phrase, “Good teams win, great teams cover.” If we believe that, then the Rams certainly wouldn’t fall into the category of a great team. Instead, the Rams are 8-8 ATS, which doesn’t make them that much of a reliable option for bettors. Moreover, the Rams are just 6-8 against the spread (ATS) as a favorite.
Part of the reason Los Angeles struggles to cover the spread is that it often starts slowly in the first half. Los Angeles also has an 8-8 ATS mark in the first half of its games. According to rbsdm.com, during the first half, the Rams offense ranks 17th in success rate (44.9%) and 18th with 0.018 expected points per play (EPA). However, the Rams jump to second in success rate (49.9%) in the second half and third in EPA (0.153).
Unfortunately, by the time the Rams figure things out in the second half, it’s often too late for them to cover the spread.
49ers vs. Rams Predictions
It took a few weeks, but I finally got to the bottom of what’s been troubling me about the Rams. They’re often burdened by slow starts, making it difficult for them to cover the point spread consistently. While I haven’t been able to nail down the teams they generally have success against, I know enough to say that they struggle against Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers’ offensive scheme.
Rams head coach Sean McVay worked under Shanahan in Washington for almost seven years. While McVay might have intimate knowledge of how Shanahan thinks and operates, it hasn’t benefited him in the past five meetings. San Francisco is a perfect 5-0 in those meetings and 4-1 ATS. Moreover, San Francisco is 4-0 ATS in those meetings as an underdog.
Lastly, since 2003, the 49ers are 15-6-1 (+8.45 units) as an underdog in this matchup.
The Rams already have enough trouble on their hands trying to halt this five-game losing streak against the 49ers. I feel Shanahan’s decision not to announce his starter ahead of the game is another mind game he’s playing on McVay to keep him guessing. While it might seem subtle, it could create just enough distraction to give the 49ers an edge.
A week ago, the 49ers were catching as many as six points for this contest. Now, that number has careened down to +3.5. There’s still value at the current number, but I wouldn’t play it any lower than +3. As a result, I’ll only risk a half-unit on this play, given the line movement.
Pick: 49ers +3.5 (0.5 unit) | Bet to: +3
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