David Zalubowski/Associated Press
The Rams look like the best team in the NFC at the moment, while the 49ers are struggling without their starting quarterback. But it’s San Francisco that owns the recent edge in this west coast rivalry, winning four of the last five meetings with Los Angeles straight up and going 5-0 against the spread. Who’s the smart money pick for Sunday afternoon’s NFC West bout in Santa Clara?
NFL betting pick, via OddsShark computer: 32.5-21.0 Rams (NFL picks on every game)
Why the Rams can cover the spread
The Rams now stand as the last remaining undefeated team in the league, following their 23-20 victory at Denver last week and Kansas City’s loss to New England. Los Angeles scored the first six points of the game against the Broncos, led 13-3 at the half and pushed that advantage to 20-3 in the third quarter. The Rams still had the spread covered as seven-point favorites until allowing Denver to score a basically meaningless touchdown with just over a minute to go.
On the day Los Angeles out-gained the Broncos 444-357, out-rushed Denver 270-60 as Todd Gurley popped off for 208 and held a 35/25 advantage in time of possession. So on the season the Rams have out-gained every opponent except Oakland and out-rushed every opponent except Seattle.
Why the 49ers can cover the spread
The 49ers are coming off a valiant effort Monday night, although it resulted in a 33-30 loss to the Packers in Green Bay. San Francisco actually drove the opening possession of the game 75 yards to a touchdown, fell down to the Packers 17-7 then used a 23-6 run spanning the halves to take a 30-23 lead late into the fourth quarter. But the 49ers gave up a Green Bay touchdown, threw an interception, then got called for a weak penalty that kept a Packers drive alive and lost on a field goal at the buzzer.
Still, San Francisco easily covered the spread as a 10-point dog.
On the night the 49ers mined 401 yards of offense, including 174 on 30 rushing attempts. And backup quarterback CJ Beathard threw two good long balls for touchdowns. But San Francisco lost the turnover battle 3-0, resulting in a minus-9 point differential.
The 49ers have now out-rushed four of their last five opponents, each by considerable margins.
Smart betting pick
These teams split two meetings last season, each winning on the others’ home field. However, San Francisco’s win came in Week 17 with Jimmy Garappolo, against a Los Angeles team that was already locked into its playoff seeding. Also, while Beathard looked great Monday night, that was against a very iffy Green Bay defense. Smart money here gives the points with the Rams.
NFL betting trends
The total has gone over in the Rams’ last three games vs the 49ers.
The 49ers are 4-13 SU in their last 17 games at home.
The 49ers are 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games at home vs teams with winning records.
All NFL odds and betting trends according to Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. Check out OddsShark on Twitter and Instagram or head to YouTube for more betting picks and analysis on this week’s top games. You can also download the free odds tracker app.