When you bet on football, you usually want to follow a team that isn’t in turmoil. But the San Francisco 49ers are getting plenty of love on the early Week 4 NFL betting lines.
Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to September 22 inclusive:
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
Week 3 of the NFL betting season was just your typical bag of crazy. Some of the standard sharp plays won (Detroit, Miami), and some of them lost (Arizona, Tampa Bay). My sports picks went 3-3 ATS in Week 3 – again, a typical result. Betting on football is a grind if you’re doing it right; more weeks will end up around .500, with the rare 6-0 ATS and, hopefully, the even rarer 0-6 ATS. It’s a bell curve. Everything’s a bell curve.
Okay, almost everything. The San Francisco 49ers are more like Dead Man’s Curve right now. After starting the 2013 season with an impressive win over the Green Bay Packers (+5 away), the 49ers have come up dry in back-to-back games over the Seattle Seahawks (–3 at home) and the Indianapolis Colts (+10.5 away). So why do our early NFL consensus reports show over 60 percent support for San Fran in Thursday night’s matchup (8:25 p.m. ET, NFLN) versus the St. Louis Rams?
Review my thoughts on the 49ers vs. Rams Opening Betting Odds.
Candlestick Park is Frightening in the Dark
First of all, we have to dig deep, peel back the layers (h/t “Weird Al” Yankovic), and get to know the real consensus on this game. Although more bettors are lining up behind the Niners, the Week 4 NFL odds board shows the line moving from San Francisco –3.5 (–105) at the open to San Francisco –3 as we go to press. If the online sportsbooks are indeed trying to balance the action out on both sides, that line move means more money has been bet on the Rams up to this point. More money from fewer bettors means deeper pockets. Deeper pockets means sharper action.
We’ll have a clearer picture of this once more betting has taken place and the data starts rolling in. Meanwhile, story checks out: You’d have to be a little square to be unconcerned about the 49ers at this point. We can usually count on the NFL betting public to react poorly when it comes to injuries, and as I discussed earlier this week, the Niners have already suffered more key injuries than they did all last year. The name on the back of the uniform does indeed matter when you bet on NFL games.
Catch as Catch Can
We can now confirm that LB Aldon Smith has left the Niners indefinitely after his arrest on suspicion of DUI, although earlier reports of possible marijuana possession or pills have yet to be verified. It’s a big blow to San Francisco’s already frayed defense. But let’s switch focus for a moment and look at the Niners offense – or what’s left of it. TE Vernon Davis (groin), WR Michael Crabtree (Achilles) and WR Mario Manningham (knee) are all injured; Davis appears to be a game-time call for Thursday after sitting out against the Colts.
Now QB Colin Kaepernick knows how Tom Brady feels. Davis (41 catches), Crabtree (85) and Manningham (42) were San Francisco’s top three targets last year. WR Randy Moss (28) was No. 4, and he’s retired again. WR Anquan Boldin is in town after winning a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens, but he’s being covered closely now as opponents dare Kaepernick to throw to anyone else.
The Rams have yet to cash in this year at 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS, but at least they were competitive in their first two games before losing 31-7 to the Dallas Cowboys (–3.5 at home). QB Sam Bradford (88.7 passer rating) is putting up better numbers now that he has No. 8 overall pick Tavon Austin (18 catches, 2 TDs) at wide receiver and former Tennessee Titan Jared Cook (13 catches, 2 TDs) at tight end. Funny how that happens. I’m sticking with St. Louis.
NFL Pick: Take the Rams +3 (+100) at Sports Interaction