St. Louis Rams (3-5) at San Francisco 49ers (6-2)
The rule of thumb in NFC West divisional matchups is to always take the home team. Since 2007, the NFC West is 104-77 in general at home and they have not only the best ATS winning percentage of any division in football in that time period, they also have the winning home/road winning ATS percentage disparity of any division in football in that time period.
Because of that, it means sense that went they meet for divisional matchups, the home team generally wins and that’s in fact the case. In divisional matchups, the home team is 38-25 ATS since 2007, including 23-12 ATS as home favorites and 7-1 ATS as double digit favorites, which the 49ers are here. The 49ers are also in a good spot as double digit home favorites off of a bye. Teams are 15-7 ATS in this spot since 2002.
The Rams, however, are in a good spot too as double digit divisional dogs are 47-27 ATS before being favorites, including 38-16 ATS before being non-divisional favorites. The Rams host the Jets next weekend and are expected to be favored at home. The Rams are coming off a 45-7 loss to the Patriots. Dogs are 77-49 ATS since 2002 coming off a loss of 28+ or more as a dog. As double digit dogs, those teams are 17-8 ATS. I know they’re coming off a bye, but dogs coming off a loss of 28+ and a bye are 9-4 ATS as dogs since 1989. Meanwhile, there’s a pretty heavy public lean on San Francisco.
As some of you may know, the public killed the odds makers in unprecedented fashion last week, going 12-2 and winning every heavy lean. The odds makers aren’t going broke or anything. They killed the public for the first 8 weeks of the season and are still up on the year, but given that, I would be very nervous to bet on a heavy public lean this week because the odds makers, regardless of whether or not you believe in conspiracy theories, always have a way of bouncing back.
We’re also getting some line value with the Rams. Both the rate of sustaining drives differential metric and yards per play differential metric says this line should be -13.5. This line is -11.5. That might seem like the complete opposite of line value for the Rams, but remember their improving injury situation. Danny Amendola and Rodger Saffold are both question, but expected to play.
Amendola is by far Bradford’s best receiver. Before he got hurt, he was accounting for close to 40% of their receiving yardage by himself. It’s no coincidence that the Rams, 4-1 ATS with him, went 1-2 ATS without him and didn’t win a single game, going from 3-2 to 3-5. Even in the game he got hurt, against Arizona, his absence was noticeable. After he left, Bradford completed just 2 of his final 9 passes. They still won because they had a lead when he got hurt and because Arizona sucks, but they really missed him in his 3 ½ game absence.
Saffold, meanwhile, is his left tackle and while he’s been without him for most of the year and had some success without him, he’s still a significant upgrade over the guys they’ve been trotting out to play left tackle. He’ll help an offensive line that has ranked 29th in pass block efficiency through 8 games this season. Bradford has done a good job of playing well in spite of injuries all around, something he didn’t do last year and something you can attribute to better coaching and a higher level of maturity, but getting Amendola and Saffold is only going to help him.
He should appear noticeably improved with those 2 healthy. Maybe not this week because San Francisco’s defense is so good, but he should still be able to cover the 11.5, when otherwise I would take the 49ers. It’s not a big play or anything though. I also like the under in this one. The under is 40-23 since 2007 in NFC West divisional games. Both of these teams have a higher ranked defense than offense and in their combined 16 games, the under is 10-5-1 this year.
Public lean: San Francisco (new thing I’m adding, siding with the odds makers on bets is not a bad thing to do since they make so much money, so I’m listing this here to allow readers to “fade” the public, if they so choose, in this example, the odds makers win if St. Louis covers)
Sharps lean: STL 10 SF 6
Final update: No change.
San Francisco 49ers 20 St. Louis Rams 9
Pick against spread: St. Louis +11.5 (-110) 1 unit
Total: Under 38.5 (-110) 1 unit