Pick the Niners ATS vs. Rams for Monday Night Football

Nikki Adams

Wednesday, October 8, 2014 7:52 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014 7:52 PM UTC

The NFC West clash between San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams wraps up what should be a highly entertaining week 6 of NFL betting. Join us as we preview this Monday primetime football showdown and serve up our choice NFL picks.

San Francisco 49ers (3-2, 1-1 away)
San Francisco 49ers opened on a convincing 28-17 win over Dallas Cowboys in week 1 of the NFL season.  Early season wobbles followed, not unlike those they suffered last season, in week 2 and 3 of NFL betting as they succumbed to back-to-back defeats to the Chicago Bears (at home) and divisional rivals Arizona Cardinals (on the road). Those prompted many to question their Super Bowl credentials on the season.

Since week 3’s 23-14 defeat to the Cardinals, however, the 49ers have bounced back with two consecutive victories over Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs (both at home) to move into the green with a 3-2 SU record on the season, as well improving to 3-2 ATS. In their last NFL outing, the 49ers wore down the Chiefs, the same side that trounced Tom Brady and company spectacularly the week prior.

Colin Kaepernick hardly stole the show – he went 14-of-26 for 201 yards and a touchdown – but for his shortcomings in the air, he crucially avoided any interceptions and got the ground attack up and running. The Niners had 171 rushing yards by game-end, with Frank Gore accounting for 107 of those yards, adding to his previous tally of 119 yards at the expense of the Eagles in week 4.


St. Louis Rams (1-3, 0-2 home)
The NFL betting public lost faith in the St. Louis Rams early in the season after injuries hit the heart of the team. Losing their first-string quarterback Sam Bradford was a huge blow, but when their second string guy went down too it was tantamount to disaster. Forced to rely on third-string quarterback Austin Davis, expectations weren’t high at all.

Surprisingly, Davis stepped up to punch above his perceived weight class as third fiddle: he’s completing 67.8% of his passes and averaging 7.9 yards per pass, all while notching up 1129 yards, 6 touchdowns and three interceptions. Indeed, he’s seventh in the league in yards per pass attempt and tenth in the league on QBR (96.8). One could say he’s got form right now as well: in the last two games (bye in between) he’s thrown for 300-plus yards and three touchdowns. Davis’ revelation at centre is responsible for raising Rams’ offense to 6th in passing with 283.5 yards per game (they are also 19th in rushing at 109.3 yards per game).

That being said, those stats need to be put into the context of the opposition. Fact is the defenses they’ve stared down so far haven’t been up to snuff – for instance, Dallas and Philadelphia rank 18th and 29th against the pass, respectively, while Tampa Bay are a lowly 30th in the league. San Francisco 49ers present a much tougher challenge on the defensive-side of the ball, ranked seventh against the pass (209.0 yards per game allowed) and third against the rush (73.8 yards per game allowed). It remains to be seen how well the Rams stack up against one of the best defensive units in the league.


49ers -3.0 (-125) vs. Rams +3.0 (+105)
NFL betting markets opened with the Niners installed as the 3.5-point favourites against the spread. Although the Niners have enjoyed a streaky start to the season, they’ve recently righted the ship, which should prompt NFL bettors to pile onto the Niners. Yet, the point spread has come down by half-a-point across most sports betting platforms, which typically suggests sharp NFL action has been coming down the wire on the home dogs. Needless to say, home dogs do strike an appealing pose as value NFL picks. In this particular case we’re not convinced this home dog poses the value, and certainly not now that the betting line is down to just a field goal on the NFL odds page.


NFL Betting Verdict
The Rams have the top passing defense in the league, which could challenge Colin Kaepernick – he’s completed less than 60% of his passes in the last two games. That uncertainty at centre is probably responsible for the tight betting spread on this game, which has whittled down to a field goal in midweek sportsbook markets.

Still, for all the stats and yards Austin Davis and the Rams have put up in the last two games, the pivotal “W” has eluded them. Niners are the better team on paper. They should run roughshod over St. Louis, perhaps even more convincingly than odds makers would have you believe with such a tight NFL betting line. The Rams are struggling on rushing defense, ranking near the bottom of the leagues at 29th (152.5 yards per game allowed), which is a goldmine for the likes of Gore and Hyde. So, whichever way you slice this game, the Niners are the smart NFL pick as the 3-point chalk.

Another caveat: is the motivation to clinch the NFC West title. The Niners are a win away from going 4-2 on the season, potentially taking control of the NFC West. The team that goes 4-2 could take control of the title race in the division especially if the Cardinals are upset by the Redskins and Dallas pulls off the unthinkable in Seattle on Sunday. Granted that scenario smacks of wild optimism, particularly the latter part of the script. But even if half of it came to fruition on Sunday, it would alter the dynamic of this Monday Night Football primetime extravaganza.

NFL Picks: San Francisco Niners -3-.0 (-125) at 5Dimes

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