Rams vs 49ers Preview & Free Pick [October 18th 2020]

LA Rams (4-1) at San Francisco (2-3)
When: Sunday, October 18th, 2020
Where: Levi’s Stadium,
Santa Clara, CA
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: San Francisco -3/49.5

Two NFC West rivals meet on Sunday Night Football this week as the San Francisco 49ers host the Los Angeles Rams. The defending NFC champion Niners are still looking for their first home victory (0-3), but more importantly, are trying to get healthy again. San Francisco’s most recent loss was a little embarrassing, losing at Levi’s Stadium 43-17 to the Miami Dolphins despite getting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and running back Raheem Mostert back from injuries. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan pulled Garoppolo at halftime to give his quarterback some extra rest in the blowout loss. He had missed the previous two games due to a high ankle sprain. Shanahan was being cautious considering his team has allowed 18 sacks in five games, the fourth most in the NFL. The Rams are coming off a 30-10 at Washington, but lost rookie safety Jordan Fuller to a shoulder injury. Los Angeles has held four of its first five opponents under 20 points and they are tied with the Steelers for the league lead with 20 sacks.

The visiting Rams come into this contest as 3-point favorites with a total set at 51.5. The under is 5-0 in the Rams last five games in October and 10-2 in their last 12 games when favored. Los Angeles is 3-0-1 ATS in their last four games against NFC West opponents and 10-3 ATS in their last 13 road contests. On the flip side, the over is 6-0-1 in San Francisco’s last seven games when coming off of an ATS loss. The 49ers are 6-1 ATS in their past seven Week 6 matchups and 5-1 ATS in their last six games as an underdog. The Rams swept San Francisco in 2019 en route to a Super Bowl appearance and the 49ers did the same las season before their appearance in the big game.

In last week’s win over Washington, Jared Goff threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns, while being picked off once. The running game has helped take some pressure of Goff as well, with three backs rushing for at least 30 yards last week. The team ranks seventh in the NFL in rushing offense at 139.6 yards per contest. Cam Akers saw nine carries last week, Darrell Henderson got 15, while Malcolm Brown carried it eight times. The defense was dominate last week, recording eight sacks with four of them coming from Aaron Donald and three from Troy Reader. The Rams are fourth in the NFL with 403.6 total yards per game and will host the Chicago Bears next Monday night.

Before Garoppolo was pulled from the game last week, he threw for only 77 yards with two interceptions, but will be back under center Sunday night. Mostert totaled 90 yards on only 11 carries, but the Niners got behind early and were forced to abandoned the running game. The unit of Mostert, Jerick McKinnon and Jeff Wilson Jr. should be able to find some daylight through a Rams defense that is allowing 4.7 yards a carry. San Fran didn’t get much pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick and the unit has already lost Nick Bosa, Richard Sherman and Solomon Thomas for the season. Fitzpatrick torched the Niners with 350 yards and three touchdowns. San Francisco will be at New England next Sunday afternoon.

This San Francisco team is a mess right now, but can turn it around at any time. I’m hoping this is not the week they do that. I like taking the Rams on the road (10-3 ATS run) and they are 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 division contests. Should be a good game, but I’ll take the favorite.

Pick: Rams -3
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