Week 9 NFL Picks: Bet on 49ers in NFC West Battle vs. Rams

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 2:30 PM GMT

The 49ers are near double-digit favorites over the visiting St. Louis Rams for this NFC West game at the brand new Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. Can San Francisco cover the big number or are the Rams worth a bet?

Odds Overview
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers (49ers -9½, 44, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Sunday, 21:05 (4:05 p.m. ET/1:05 p.m. PT): The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook’s Early Line last week for this Week 9 game between the NFC West’s San Francisco 49ers (4-3 SU, 4-3 ATS) and the St. Louis Rams (2-5 SU, 2-5 ATS) was -7½, so the 9’s, 9½’s and 10’s now showing up at casinos and sportsbooks around the world reveals how much Sunday’s 34-7 pasting the Rams received at Kansas City has affected the point spread here as well as oddsmakers and the public’s perceptions of how bad St. Louis may really be right now. But you try being the weak sister in a division with the Super Bowl champion Seahawks (4-3), this rugged 49ers (4-3) team and the upstart and now easy division and overall NFC leaders, the Cardinals (6-1). Six games against these three annually for St. Louis is almost reason enough to install a revolving door at the team’s headquarters at the Russell Athletic Center in Earth City, Missouri.

As mentioned, oddsmakers have made San Francisco 9½-point Favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) on Sunday Afternoon in Frisco with the Total Points for the game set at 44—relatively low in this day and age for the NFL, but spot on as the 49ers are #2 in Total Defense (306 ypg) and St. Louis could only put 7 points on the board Sunday against the Chiefs. The Money Line (Winner) odds here are 49ers -500, Rams +380 (Paddy Power) while the 49ers Total Team Points has been lined at 26½ (Stan James) with the Rams Total Team Points set at a miniscule 16½ (Paddy Power).

 

St. Louis Rams
The Rams not only suffered the humiliation of losing to their semi-in-state rivals Kansas City on Sunday, but St. Louis also took a couple of major hits on the injury front, losing its leading WR, Brian Quick (25 receptions, 375 yards, 3 TDs) and LT Jake Long. Quick suffered both a torn rotator cuff and a dislocated shoulder while Long suffered an ACL injury, the same injury that has Rams QB Sam Bradford sidelined. So, this is a team now both beat up mentally and beat up physically and now has to travel across the country to play a rested team two games behind Arizona in the division and expecting to get the W here. CBs Trumaine Johnson (knee) and Janoris Jenkins (knee), DT Ethan Westbrooks (hand), C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and T Rodger Saffold (shoulder) were all listed Day-to-Day for the Rams on Monday, so, this team is sort of a patchwork quilt although the 49ers have a bunch of players injured and concerns of their own.

On defense, St. Louis has allowed 34, 26, 31, 34 and 34 points over their L5 games and on offense, this team is being run by QB Austin Davis so for all practical purposes, this team is already done for this 2015 NFL season. As if it wasn’t hard enough playing in the NFC West to begin with.

 

San Francisco 49ers
Another big advantage San Francisco has here in this game—besides the Rams injury woes—is that it will be properly rested after having an Open Date in Week 8. And in terms of skill position players who can rack up the yardage and the points, QB Colin Kaepernick (143/224, 1,719 yards, 11 TDs), RB Frank Gore (423 rushing yards), TE Vernon Davis and WRs Anquan Boldin (39 receptions, 447 yards, TD) and Michael Crabtree (32 receptions, 322 yards, 3 TDs) give the 49ers an incredible balance of dependable and proven players to mix it up enough and San Francisco ranks 10th in the league in Rushing and 20th in Passing. But where this team really has an advantage here, and in most games, is with its hard-hitting defense which ranks an impressive #4 against the Rush and #8 against the pass. These stats also help explain why the Rams Total Team Points (16½) is so darn low for this contest.

San Francisco also has its share of injury problems with star LB Patrick Willis (toe), C Maurice Martin (knee), G Mike Iupati (head), S Jimmie Ward (quadricep), DB Chris Culliver (shoulder) all listed as Questionable while Daniel Kilgore and Chris Cook were just placed on the I-R list. The 49ers also have a plethora of valuable players sidelined with various hurts now including RB Kendall Hunter (knee), LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) and DL Glenn Dorsey (bicep) who worked out with the team on Monday. LB Aldon Smith is also unavailable but will be eligible next week after serving a suspension.

 

Best Betting Approaches
Last year in this game, San Francisco won 23-13 as 7½-point Favorites but the Rams are in worse shape now than they were then and in even worse shape than even just a week ago, as the jump in the SuperBook’s Early Line (-7½) last week up to this week’s Opener (-9½) indicates. Trend-wise, the 49ers are 10-2-1 SU in their L13 against St. Louis and a sweet 9-4 ATS the L13 and 14-8-1 ATS in the L23 here in San Francisco. But the 49ers are also just 1-4 ATS in their L5 games at Home so tread lightly. The Total Points bet has gone Under in 8 of the Rams L12 games (8-4) and is 5-1 L6 Away while the Under is 7-3 L10 49ers games.

The big thing here is the collective psyche of this Rams team which is now without its starting QB (Bradford), its leading WR (Quick) and its offensive Left Tackle (Long) and the reality that they will be going up against a rested team with one of the strongest defenses in the league. Toss in the fact that St. Louis has allowed 30+ points in 4 of its L5 and the 49ers should be able to win and cover this one by holding the Rams under 17 points while putting up around 30 of their own.

NFL Pick: 49ers -9½ at Bet365

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