The last two NFC champions will square off on Sunday Night Football this week as the San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams. The Rams missed out on the playoffs last year, and the 49ers are in danger of becoming the most recent team to suffer the Super Bowl losers’ curse. San Francisco is currently in last place in the NFC West, and a loss here would drop the Niners to 2-4 on the season. Their next four games are against New England, Seattle, Green Bay, and New Orleans, so a third straight defeat would make it difficult for San Francisco to rally and make the playoffs.
NFL Odds at Bookmaker.eu
Los Angeles Rams -3.5
San Francisco 49ers +3.5
It’s been a tumultuous season in San Francisco, and we’re a little over a month into the 2020 campaign. The 49ers have dealt with more injury woes than any other team, leading to the Niners’ only victories coming against the winless New York teams.
The three best players on offense have already missed multiple games. Jimmy Garoppolo and Raheem Mostert were injured in the Week 2 victory over the Giants, while George Kittle was sidelined in Week 1. All three players have since returned, but the play of Jimmy G has not been inspiring.
Garoppolo has not been effective. He has completed just over 60 percent of his passes on the year, and he really struggled in his return to action last week against Miami. Kyle Shanahan pulled Garoppolo at halftime of that game, but neither C.J. Beathard nor Nick Mullens has been particularly sharp either.
Kittle is the leading receiver on San Francisco despite missing two games. He has 23 receptions for 271 yards and a touchdown, but that highlights how ineffective the receiving corps has been this season. Deebo Samuel has been dealing with injuries, and neither Kendrick Bourne nor Brandon Aiyuk have looked solid.
That will lead to Kyle Shanahan leaning heavily on the ground game in this one. Raheem Mostert hasn’t been asked to carry the ball too much as he returns from injury, but he will likely receive his biggest workload of the season. Mostert is averaging 7.0 YPC, and the Rams aren’t great stopping the run. LA is conceding 4.7 YPC on the year, and they have the best pass defense in the league, conceding just 5.5 YPA.
The Rams are getting back to what made them one of the league’s best offenses in 2017 and 2018. This offensive line is healthy once more, so Sean McVay is having this team run the ball a ton. Los Angeles has run more often than all but one team this season, as they have a stable of talented, young running backs in Darrell Henderson Jr., Malcolm Brown, and Cam Akers. They are only averaging 4.1 YPC collectively, but that has allowed Jared Goff to shine.
Los Angeles is averaging more yards per pass than any other team. Goff has completed 71.7 percent of his passes for 9.0 YPA on the season, as this Rams haven’t missed a beat without Brandin Cooks. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods have posted very similar numbers, but this team doesn’t throw to running backs out of the backfield much. Only 26 passes have been thrown to running backs this season.
The 49ers were shredded through the air by Ryan Fitzpatrick last week. Top cornerback Richard Sherman has yet to take the field this year due to injury, and Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley haven’t been great. However, the bigger concern is a suddenly thin defensive line. This was the deepest area on the team for San Francisco last year, but DeForest Buckner was traded in the offseason and Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, and Solomon Thomas are all on injured reserve.
Rams at 49ers NFL Betting Prediction
Currently, the Rams’ offensive line is one of the best in the league. They are doing a very good job of run blocking, and that will likely lead to a win in San Francisco on Sunday night.
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