NFL Picks: 49ers vs. Rams Thursday Night Opening Odds

Jason Lake

Monday, September 23, 2013 3:57 PM UTC

Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 3:57 PM UTC

We thought the San Francisco 49ers might regress a little in 2013. But the NFL odds have been even more unkind toward the St. Louis Rams thus far.


Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to September 20 inclusive:

9-6-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

0-3 Totals

In the immortal words of Tom Vek, this is a one-horse race. The Seattle Seahawks were supposed to go down to the wire with the San Francisco 49ers this year, just like they did in 2012. But after three weeks of play, the Seahawks are 3-0 SU and ATS, while the 49ers are a disappointing 1-2 SU and ATS. 

Disappointing, yet not nearly all that surprising to those wizened football betting Shar-Peis. The San Francisco team that’s preparing to visit the St. Louis Rams this Thursday night (8:25 p.m. ET, NFLN) is simply not the same San Francisco team that did so well last year. But the Niners are still the favorites on the early Week 4 NFL odds opening at –3.5 on Sunday afternoon.


So Much for Health Care

One of the hidden reasons behind San Francisco’s 11-4-1 record last year (9-7 ATS) was good health. According to The Dallas Morning News, the Niners led the NFL with only eight man-games lost from the starting unit. That is a ridiculously low number. Four of those games were from WR Mario Manningham, who tore up his left knee late in the season. 

The 49ers have already blown that number out of the water. After only having to place one player (Manningham) on injured reserve last year, San Francisco already has five players on IR, and another six on the Physically Unable to Perform list. It’s like the Niners have turned into a Sam Peckinpah movie, and the recent play of Colin Kaepernick doesn't help the cause.

Bring Me the Head of Aldon Smith

It gets worse. LB Aldon Smith ran his truck into a tree and ended up in jail Friday morning, arrested on suspicion of DUI and (maybe) possession of marijuana. Smith was allowed to play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, but Niners CEO Jed York confirmed that Smith would miss Thursday’s game against St. Louis, and maybe more games on top of that after taking an indefinite leave of absence from the team.

Why don’t these guys just hire chauffeurs? Smith set the team record for sacks last year with 19.5, forcing three fumbles and adding an interception for good measure. He’ll be sorely missed on a team that might also be without LB Patrick Willis (120 tackles, nine passes defended last year), who injured his groin against Indianapolis and is officially listed as questionable for Thursday night.

St. Louis Blues 

The only saving grace for the Niners on Thursday is that they’re playing the Rams. This is not how the 2013 season was supposed to go down for St. Louis, but after three weeks, the Rams have yet to cash in at 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS. And after Sunday’s 31-7 loss to the Dallas Cowboys (–3.5 at home), people are wondering what the heck happened to the Rams team that finished No. 7 in defensive efficiency last year.

At least the offense is making some progress. Sam Bradford has been one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL, coming in at No. 6 on the passing DYAR charts (Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement) at Football Outsiders after two weeks. His Week 3 performance against Dallas wasn’t all that bad: 29-of-48 for 240 yards, one TD and zero picks. But it was mostly dink-and-dunk. RB Isaiah Pead had seven of those catches for 43 yards.

Dinking and dunking beats drinking and driving. I’ll take the Rams in this situation, thank you kindly.

NFL Pick: Take St. Louis +3.5 at Sports Interaction
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