Welcome to the Saturday Night Football betting breakdown, where I’ll provide a betting overview of the upcoming Saturday Night Football game utilizing moneyline, points spread and projected total odds from DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook. Additionally, I’ll hone in on at least one player or game prop each week that I feel has profit potential at one of those three sportsbooks.
All betting takes will be classified as either a “lean” or a “pick”. A lean is a wager that we have a certain degree of certainty in. However, it’s one that still falls somewhere short of a high-confidence selection. A pick carries an additional degree of confidence based on a variety of factors. These include relevant injuries; past track record of each team in those bet types and under the specific conditions that apply; and recent performances of each team leading up to the game.
Both teams come into this pivotal late-season divisional matchup with plenty of playoff-related stakes in play. For the Niners, it’s the chase for the NFC West title, and a first-round bye. Then, the Rams are in survival mode. Los Angeles needs a win and ongoing help to stay alive and have a chance at defending their NFC title this January.
Earlier in the season, this would have been a particularly ugly matchup on paper for the Rams offense. The 49ers still boast an intimidating defense, but it’s shown some cracks in recent games. San Fran has allowed 20 or more points in six of its last seven. That includes five tallies of 25 or more. Three of those came at Levi Stadium. Finding sustained success through the air against the Niners on the road is still the toughest statistical task in the NFL (134.3 passing yards per game allowed). However, that figure has been steadily climbing. The 49ers have allowed an average of 198.8 passing yards per game over their last four home contests — impressive, but also partly bogged down by Kyler Murray’s 150 yards in Week 11.
Then, the ground game could be in solid shape. The Niners have actually been average against the run. San Fran checks in allowing an elevated 127.7 rushing yards per game over its last three and 114.5 per home game overall. Prior to last week’s debacle in Dallas — when the game got away from the Rams — Todd Gurley had logged carry counts of 25, 19 and 23 in three of the prior four contests. Given the more challenging passing game matchup, this could be a game that features another heavy dose of the Pro Bowl running back.
The 49ers’ offense is also up against a talented unit. The Rams still rank in the top 10 in passing yards per road game allowed (212.9) and a middle-of-the-road 113.8 rushing yards per road contest. Jimmy Garoppolo has been much better about ball security in the latter portion of the season and threw for a solid 243 yards the first time these teams met. He also didn’t have Emmanuel Sanders at his disposal yet. On the ground, Raheem Mostert, the clear lead back for the moment, had only a minor complementary role at the time of that Week 6 contest. His recent surge makes the offense even more well-rounded, while Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida make up the most talented “complementary duo” in the league.
While I expect the Rams to battle hard throughout in this do-or-die scenario, I see the 49ers’ talent on both sides of the ball — as well as their own motivation for the best postseason seeding possible — propelling San Francisco to a key home victory.
SNF Point Spread
As alluded to earlier, the 49ers have looked a bit less like a juggernaut against some quality opponents (Ravens, Saints) and one mediocre one (Falcons) lately. San Fran’s defense is still a force to be reckoned with, but the Niners have had their share of close calls this season at home.
The Rams are 9-5 (64.3 percent) against the spread this season, including 5-2 (71.4 percent) as an away team.
The 49ers are 8-5-1 (61.5 percent) against the spread this season, including 3-3-1 as a home team.
There’s plenty at stake for both teams in this matchup, but the Rams are in total must-win mode with respect to a playoff berth. A defending conference champ rarely goes down easy. Given Los Angeles’ very strong track record against the spread as well, I’m leaning toward them sliding in under this number.
The Lean: Rams +6.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook
SNF Over/Under Total
The Rams have their primary offensive weapons at full health and could even have Gerald Everett (knee) back for this contest. Los Angeles comes in averaging 23.7 points per game and has scored at least 20 points in six of seven road contests. San Francisco has tallied 24 points or more in six of seven home games.
The Over is 5-9 (35.7 percent) in the Rams’ games this season, including 3-4 (42.9 percent) in their away games. Then, the Over is 7-7 in the 49ers’ games this season, including 4-3 (57.1 percent) in their home games.
The total here is fairly modest when considering the quality of the offensive pieces, as well as the occasional leaks each of these team’s quality defenses has shown a propensity for springing from time to time. As such, I’m in the camp of the Over for this key matchup.
The Pick: Over 45 points at FanDuel Sportsbook
Best SNF Prop Bet
Home team 1st Half Points- Over 13.5 (+102 at DraftKings Sportsbook)
As just mentioned, I expect a relatively healthy amount of points to be scored in this game overall. The 49ers have averaged 14.6 first-half points per game (including 14.9 per home game), fifth highest in the league. San Francisco figures to be aggressive early, given their recent defensive breakdowns and the quality of the opposing offense. Granted, the Rams have allowed just 10.5 first-half points per contest. However, the potential absence of starting cornerback Troy Hill (thumb) and a 49ers offense with plenty of firepower stands a chance of bucking Los Angeles’ trend of strong early-game defense in much the same way the Cowboys did Week 15.