NFL Picks: San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams Thursday Night

David Lawrence

Thursday, September 26, 2013 11:58 AM GMT

Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013 11:58 AM GMT

Our NFL betting experts share their free picks for the Thursday Night Football matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams. Let's look at the current odds on offer, and decide where the best NFL betting value lies.

The San Francisco 49ers have unexpectedly wobbled in the early stages of the 2013 NFL season. In particular, quarterback Colin Kaepernick – after a strong opener against the Green Bay Packers – has been below average against the Seattle Seahawks and the Indianapolis Colts. The loss at home to Indianapolis has raised fresh questions about the 49ers’ ability to not only return to the Super Bowl, but – yes – even make the playoffs this season. There are doubts about the 49ers’ overall quality in late September that a lot of NFL experts simply didn’t anticipate. How the Niners address these doubts will tell the story this Thursday in St. Louis.

Review our thoughts on the 49ers vs. Rams Opening Betting Odds.

The 49ers can win because…

They are the better team… just not because of their own excellence. The Rams are a bad, bad football team right now. St. Louis has been blown off the field in each of the past two weeks, falling behind Atlanta and Dallas by big margins. The Rams rallied against Atlanta to make that game close, but they didn’t have any answers for Dallas. St. Louis has failed to show up in the first half each of the past two weeks, especially on offense. The Rams were expected to be a non-losing team this season (at least 8-8, possibly 9-7) but people who’ve been making NFL picks this season see them closer to a 5-11 or 6-10 kind of team right now.

The huge point of concern for St. Louis is that quarterback Sam Bradford just doesn’t seem to be cutting the mustard. Bradford was given a lot of reinforcements in the offseason. The Rams drafted speedy wide receivers so that their offense – which plays its home games on field turf in a dome – could flourish. Moreover, St. Louis’ three games this season have all been played in domes. Yet, the Rams have not moved the ball well or scored with any real consistency. Bradford is utterly failing at his job, and that’s why the 49ers should win this game. This is not a matter of San Francisco being so superior, but the Rams being inferior. San Francisco’s defense should be able to dominate St. Louis’ offense from the opening kickoff to the final gun.

Click here to read our NFL Picks: 49ers vs. Rams Pick on the Spread.

The Rams can win because… 

Their opponent is not only struggling but losing confidence as it struggles. The San Francisco 49ers entered this season with a great deal of belief as the NFC favorite according to the NFL odds. Winning the NFC should indeed produce such an attitude. However, after getting destroyed by Seattle and then suffering a highly unexpected home-field loss to Indianapolis, San Francisco is doubting itself.

People making their sports picks know that quarterback Colin Kaepernick has lost his way and since he’s a young quarterback, there are no guarantees that he’ll immediately regain a winning edge. San Francisco isn’t doing anything well on offense. Not having a healthy Michael Crabtree matters here, but Kaepernick’s lack of playmaking production is the foremost worry for head coach Jim Harbaugh. St. Louis knows it has a chance to leap ahead of the 49ers in the NFC West. The Rams’ best performance should be enough to beat the reeling Niners.

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Outlook & NFL Football Betting Prediction: 

The Rams will be motivated for this game but can Sam Bradford beat the 49ers’ defense? Probably not. St. Louis’ inept offense will enable San Francisco to prevail here.

Picks: San Francisco -3

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