Los Angeles Rams at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2021 NFC Divisional Round Pick

Los Angeles Rams (12-5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13-4)

These two teams met in Los Angeles back in week 3, with the Rams pulling the home upset as 1.5-point underdogs, but this game is in Tampa Bay and the Rams regular season win actually works against their chances of covering this spread. In total, teams are 46-59 ATS in a rematch in the post-season against a non-divisional opponent who they beat in the regular season, including 5-12 ATS as underdogs after previously winning as underdogs.

These teams are not the same as they were in week 3, as the Buccaneers lost starting wide receivers Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin, starting running back Leonard Fournette is legitimately questionable, and starting offensive linemen Tristan Wirfs and Ryan Jensen figure to be limited, while the Rams added talented edge defender Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham, but lost key wide receiver Robert Woods, stud left tackle Andrew Whitworth, and starting safeties Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp. All of that more or less evens out, with the Buccaneers holding a 2-point edge in my roster rankings and being favored by 4 points on my calculated line, after being the slightly better of these two teams in the regular season.

Given that, we are getting some line value with the Buccaneers as just 2.5-point home favorites, as the public seems to be paying more attention to Tampa Bay’s injuries and not as much to the Rams’ injuries, while putting too much stock into the result of the week 3 matchup between these two teams. Tom Brady has also been close to automatic in his career in tough games like this where all he has to do to cover is win, going 57-27 ATS in his career as an underdogs or favorite of less than three points, including 10-3 ATS in the post-season. I wouldn’t like the Buccaneers as much at 3, but they’re bettable at 2.5.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30 Los Angeles Rams 24

Pick against the spread: Tampa Bay -2.5

Confidence: Medium

Arizona Cardinals at Los Angeles Rams: 2021 NFC Wild Card Round Pick

Arizona Cardinals (11-6) at Los Angeles Rams (12-5)

Last week, I bet on the Rams as 4-point home favorites against the 49ers. The Rams led 17-0 at one point in the first half, but blew the second half lead and lost in overtime, the first ever blown halftime lead by Sean McVay’s Rams in five seasons. This was in large part due to the absence in the second half of both of the Rams’ starting safeties Jordan Fuller and Taylor Rapp, who were both out with injury. 

Unfortunately for the Rams, Fuller and Rapp remain out this week, as they are once again 4-point home favorites, this time against the Cardinals. Fortunately for the Rams, the Cardinals should present less of a challenge for the 49ers, who are legitimately playing at a high level in the second half of the season. The Cardinals started the season 7-0 and 10-2, but they also ranked 2nd in the turnover with a +12 turnover margin during that 10-2 start, which was never likely to continue, even if the Cardinals had stayed healthy, which they did not. 

Absences further hurt the Cardinals chances down the stretch, leading to a 1-4 finish by the Cardinals in their final five games, a stretch in which they had an even turnover margin. Even at 11-6, you could still argue the Cardinals are not as good as their record, ranking 13th, 19th, 20th, and 15th in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, special teams, and mixed efficiency, which are based on first down rate and yards per play and are much more predictive than the Cardinals 4th ranked turnover margin. 

The Cardinals are especially not as good as their record if they don’t get key players back with injury and for right now it seems like stud interior defender JJ Watt, talented running back James Conner, starting left guard Justin Pugh, starting slot cornerback Marco Wilson, and rotational wide receiver Rondale Moore are all legitimately gametime decisions, while top wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and top cornerback Robert Alford both remain out.

The Rams are not fully healthy either without their starting safeties, but they are otherwise in pretty good shape injury wise and they fared much better on the season in efficiency metrics, ranking 9th, 9th, 4th, and 6th in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, special teams, and mixed efficiency, en route to overtaking the Cardinals for the division lead late in the season, winning 4 of their last 5 while the Cardinals lost 4 of 5, including a week 14 Rams victory over the Cardinals in Arizona, setting up a third matchup in Los Angeles in the first round of the playoffs.

The Cardinals beat the Rams in Los Angeles back in week 4, but the Cardinals were much healthier back then and the Rams still won the first down and yards per play battle, as they did in their week 14 victory as well. Given all the injury uncertainty the Cardinals have, it’s hard to bet the Rams with confidence right now, as the Cardinals could make this a close game if most of their questionable players play, particularly JJ Watt, but if they don’t, the Rams could be a good bet as 4-point favorites. Additionally, this line could drop if Watt and others are able to play, which could also give us enough line value with the Rams for them to be worth betting. For now, this is a low confidence pick at -4, but I may update this before gametime.

Update: All of the Cardinals’ questionable players will play, but Watt probably won’t be 100% and this line has dropped to three in some places. I would take the Rams at that number.

Los Angeles Rams 27 Arizona Cardinals 20

Pick against the spread: LA Rams -3

Confidence: Medium

San Francisco 49ers at Los Angeles Rams: 2021 Week 18 NFL Pick

San Francisco 49ers (9-7) at Los Angeles Rams (12-4)

The Rams are arguably the top team in the league and, even if they aren’t quite, there are a few reasons why I think highly of them. For one, they are probably the most balanced team in the league, ranking 9th in schedule adjusted offensive efficiency, 8th in schedule adjusted defensive efficiency, 6th on special teams, and 5th in schedule adjusted mixed efficiency, making them the only team in the league to rank in the top-10 in schedule adjusted efficiency in all three phases. 

On top of that, the Rams are one of the relatively healthiest teams in the league. That hasn’t always been the case, especially in recent weeks, as they were missing center Brian Allen and cornerback Jalen Ramsey against the Cardinals, safety Jordan Fuller, right tackle Rob Havenstein, and tight end Tyler Higbee against the Seahawks, and left tackle Andrew Whitworth against the Vikings, but the Rams still managed to win those games and all of those players have since returned. 

The Rams did lose Robert Woods to a mid-season injury, but they replaced him somewhat with Odell Beckham and that has been the Rams only big injury loss this season, meaning that, when you include the addition of Von Miller on defense in a mid-season trade, the Rams are a rare team that actually has become more talented as the season goes on, with most of the league losing talent as the season goes on. As a result, they rank 8.5 points above average in my roster rankings.

The 49ers, on the other hand, have had a lot of key personnel absences this season. They had been getting healthier in recent weeks, but they will either be starting raw backup Trey Lance or injured veteran Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback in this game, while stud left tackle Trent Williams, talented safety Jimmie Ward, and impressive slot cornerback K’Waun Williams are key players could all miss this week’s game after playing last week. Given that, it is pretty strange that this line shifted from favoring the Rams by 6.5 points on the early line last week to just 4 points this week.

The 49ers could get starting linebacker Dre Greenlaw, rotational interior defense Maurice Hurst, and starting cornerback Emmnauel Moseley back from extended absences this week, but they are questionable at best like the aforementioned players and, even in the 49ers’ best case injury scenario, I have the Rams 4 points better than them and calculated as 5.5-point home favorites in this matchup. In the worst case scenario for the 49ers, I have the Rams calculated as 11 point favorites.

Given that we’re getting significant line value either way, I want to lock this pick in while the line is still only four. In fact, without another good choice, I am going to make this my Pick of the Week, as it seems very likely the 49ers will at least be without Williams in this matchup, a huge loss as he’s been arguably the best offensive lineman in the NFL this season. Assuming Williams is out, the best I could have the 49ers at is 7.5-point underdogs, even if all the other aforementioned players play, as he’s that important to the 49ers’ offense.

Los Angeles Rams 24 San Francisco 49ers 16

Pick against the spread: LA Rams -4

Confidence: Pick of the Week

Los Angeles Rams at Baltimore Ravens: 2021 Week 16 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (11-4) at Baltimore Ravens (8-7)

The Rams hit a mid-season skid a few weeks ago, losing three straight games, but they all came against quality opponents, they have still been one of the best teams in the league this season despite those losses, ranking 9th, 9th, 5th, and 5th in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, special teams, and mixed efficiency, and they have won four straight games since their mid-season skid. 

That winning streak has also come despite the Rams missing some key players, as they were without center Brian Allen and cornerback Jalen Ramsey against the Cardinals, safety Jordan Fuller, right tackle Rob Havenstein, and tight end Tyler Higbee against the Seahawks, and left tackle Andrew Whitworth against the Vikings. All of those players are expected to play this week for the Rams, who are not only healthier than they have been in weeks, but one of the few relatively healthy teams left right now.

The Ravens cannot say the same, although they will be in slightly better shape than last week’s skeleton crew, even if mostly by default. They’ll get backup quarterback Tyler Huntley back from COVID protocols and he will start in place of the injured Lamar Jackson, after third string Josh Johnson was forced into action last week, while defensive lineman Calais Campbell, edge defender Justin Houston, and cornerback Jimmy Smith are set to return on defense, but, in addition to Jackson, the Ravens will still be without their two best running backs JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards, a pair of starters on the offensive line in Ronnie Stanley and Ben Powers, starting defensive lineman Derek Wolfe, their two best cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters, and starting safety DeShon Elliott.

The Rams are favored by 5.5 points in this matchup, but the talent gap between these two teams is even bigger than that suggests, as I have about 10.5 points between these two teams in my roster rankings, giving us a calculated line of Rams -8.5, as long as nothing changes in terms of COVID protocols with either of these two teams. I want to make sure nothing unexpected changes before locking this pick in, but I will likely be betting on the Rams before gametime.

Update: Nothing has changed here, so I want to lock this one in at -5.5 before the line potentially moves.

Los Angeles Rams 26 Baltimore Ravens 17

Pick against the spread: LA Rams -5.5

Confidence: Medium

Los Angeles Rams at Minnesota Vikings: 2021 Week 16 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (10-4) at Minnesota Vikings (7-7)

The Vikings are in the playoff mix in the NFC at 7-7 and are a trendy sleeper pick because it’s well-documented that the Vikings haven’t lost more than 8 points this season and could have easily won a few more games. That doesn’t tell the whole story though. For one, two of their losses required the Vikings to get a pick six to make the final score (Arizona and Baltimore) closer than it would have been and they lost both the first down rate and yards per play battle by a wide margin in both of those games, which is more predictive than the final score. 

On top of that, most of their wins have been close, with just one coming by more than 8 points, so, while they could easily have a couple more wins, they could also have a couple more losses. Their point differential of +19 is about in line with their record and schedule adjusted efficiency, which is based on yards per play and first down rate, shows them to be even worse than that, as they rank 16th, 26th, and 5th in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, and special teams efficiency respectively and 23rd in schedule adjusted mixed efficiency.

The Vikings were winning by two scores against the Bears last week before a garbage time touchdown, but that game was relatively close throughout, as the Vikings’ offense didn’t allow them to separate from a skeleton crew Bears team, even though the Bears lost the turnover battle by two, went 2/12 on third down, and went 2/5 on fourth down. The Bears won the first down rate and yards per play battle in that game by margins of 12.88% and 2.12 yards per play respectively, holding the Vikings’ offense to a pathetic 3.16 yards per play, despite legitimately being without most of their regular secondary, as well as stud edge defensive Khalil Mack.

The Vikings are likely to benefit from the return of wide receiver Adam Thielen with injury this week, but now they will be without feature back Dalvin Cook, which should cancel out Thielen’s return. The Vikings also face a much tougher challenge this week, with the Rams coming to town. The Rams will be without left tackle Andrew Whitworth due to COVID protocols, but they will return tight end Tyler Higbee, safety Jordan Fuller, and right tackle Rob Havenstein, who missed last week, while cornerback Jalen Ramsey and center Brian Allen missed the previous game, two games the Rams still won despite being short-handed.

Even without Whitworth, the Rams are relatively healthier than most teams in the league right now, including the Vikings, who are without their top two edge defenders on the defensive side of the ball, in addition to Cook’s absence and the uncertainty around Thielen’s injury. The Rams have also been one of the best teams in the league this season, ranking 7th, 6th, 17th, and 4th in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, special teams, and mixed efficiency, while my roster rankings show them to be even better than that, even with Whitworth missing.

Given that, the Rams should be able to beat the Vikings with relative ease and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them hand the Vikings their first multiscore loss of the season. My calculated line is Rams -5, so I don’t necessarily foresee a blowout, but we are getting some line value with the Rams at -3.5. I would need this line to go down to 3 to be at all confident in the Rams though, as right now the line value does not cross a key number. The Rams are the better side for pick ‘em purposes either way though.

Update: This line has moved to 3 in some places. As I said, I would like the Rams better at that number, so I am increasing this to a low confidence pick.

Los Angeles Rams 24 Minnesota Vikings 20

Pick against the spread: LA Rams -3

Confidence: Low

Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams: 2021 Week 15 NFL Pick

Seattle Seahawks (5-8) at Los Angeles Rams (9-4)

The Rams were the third team to have a game rescheduled because of COVID this week. They actually had more cases than Washington or Cleveland at one point, knocking out about half of their roster, but it never affected their quarterback room and, overall, they had less significant absences than the other two teams whose games were rescheduled. Rescheduling this game for a couple days later allowed the Rams to get edge defender Von Miller back and, while they will still be without top safety Jordan Fuller and stud right tackle Rob Havenstein, they will get back top cornerback Jalen Ramsey and talented center Brian Allen, who both missed last week’s win over the Cardinals and are probably more impactful losses.

Meanwhile, the Seahawks are arguably more impacted by COVID absences then their opponents. They don’t have as many positive cases overall as the Rams, but will be without top cornerback DJ Reed, starting right tackle Brandon Shell, talented wide receiver Tyler Lockett, and starting running back Alex Collins, so they are arguably missing more impactful players than the Rams will be, as many of the Rams positives are players that don’t make much of an impactful.

This Seahawks team is still better than their record, now that quarterback Russell Wilson is back to 100% and leading a more effective offense, to complement their 21st ranked schedule adjusted defensive efficiency and their 5th ranked special teams efficiency, but I still have the Rams calculated as 7.5-point favorites in this game, so we’re getting some line value with them as touchdown favorites. The Rams rank 6th in schedule adjusted mixed efficiency and, even not quite at 100%, they are still one of the top teams in the league. It’s not nearly enough value to bet on the Rams, especially given all of the uncertainty in this game, but the Rams are the pick for pick ‘em purposes.

Los Angeles Rams 27 Seattle Seahawks 19

Pick against the spread: LA Rams -7

Confidence: None

Los Angeles Rams at Arizona Cardinals: 2021 Week 14 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (8-4) at Arizona Cardinals (10-2)

The Cardinals stand alone with the league’s best record at 10-2 and their +119 point differential, third in the NFL, seems to suggest they have been as good as their record. However, they have benefited significantly from the turnover margin, ranking second in the NFL at +12, which is not a predictive metric. In terms of schedule adjusted efficiency, which is based on more predictive metrics, yards per play and first down rate, the Cardinals rank 9th, 14th, 12th, and 8th in offensive, defensive, special teams, and mixed efficiency respectively.

The Cardinals’ offense should be better now that they have gotten starting quarterback Kyler Murray and top wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins back from injury, but their defense has not been the same since losing top interior defender JJ Watt for the year and, as a result, the Cardinals are not the same team they were when they got off to their hot 7-0 start, even if their offense has gotten significantly healthier in recent weeks. 

As part of that 7-0 start, the Cardinals beat the Rams in Los Angeles and by a pretty convincing margin, with a final score of 37-20, but the Rams actually had a slight edge in first down rate (+2.95%) and yards per play (+0.1). That loss also puts the Rams in a good spot this time around, as divisional home favorites cover at just a 42.4% rate in a same season regular season rematch against a team that they previously beat as road underdogs, which was the case for the Cardinals in Los Angeles earlier this year.

The Rams have fallen back to earth after a 7-1 start and now sit at 8-4, but their efficiency metrics suggest they have been better than their record, ranking 5th, 6th, 20th, and 5th in schedule adjusted offensive, defensive, special teams, and mixed efficiency respectively. Their offense hasn’t been the same since losing talented wide receiver Robert Woods for the year, while quarterback Matt Stafford has not been 100% with an injury of his own, but the Rams acquired Odell Beckham who can somewhat replace Woods and is growing into his role after being with the team for about a month, while Stafford looked healthier in the Rams’ big blowout win over the Jaguars last week. 

Meanwhile, the Rams’ defense is getting better as another key mid-season acquisition, edge defender Von Miller, is growing into his role as well, so, despite losing three of their past four games, the Rams are still well-positioned for the stretch run. I wish we were getting a full field goal with the Rams as underdogs in this game, but we are still getting some line value with the Rams at +2.5 because my calculated line is Rams -1. 

Between that and the good spot the Rams are in, the Rams seem like a decent bet this week, but I’d rather bet the moneyline at +120 (or +115) than the spread unless we happen to get a field goal before gametime. I would also consider betting on the Rams if the Cardinals continue to be without starting left guard Justin Pugh and/or running back Chase Edmonds, who are considered legitimate gametime decisions to return from extended absences.

Update: Another team I picked loses significant players to COVID protocols before gametime. I knew the Rams would be without running back Darrell Henderson when I wrote this, but he was out last week with injury anyway, so that wasn’t a big deal. However, now the Rams will be without talented right tackle Rob Havenstein, stud cornerback Jalen Ramsey, and starting tight end Tyler Higbee. At least I only locked in a money line pick and not a pick against the spread. I am keeping this as a low confidence pick, as the line moved up to a full field goal, meaning we’re getting an appropriate adjustment for the Rams’ key absences. It’s only a half point, but three is the biggest key number, with about 1 in 6 games being decided by exactly a field goal. I would guess the Cardinals are going to win this game if I wasn’t locked into a Rams money line bet, but I would still take the Rams against the spread for pick ’em purposes at +3.

Los Angeles Rams 24 Arizona Cardinals 23 Upset Pick +120

Pick against the spread: LA Rams +3

Confidence: Low

Jacksonville Jaguars at Los Angeles Rams: 2021 Week 13 NFL Pick

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) at Los Angeles Rams (7-4)

The Rams were 7-1 a few weeks ago and were adding even more talent, acquiring edge defender Von Miller and wide receiver Odell Beckham at the trade deadline. However, since then, the Rams have lost three straight games to fall to 7-4. What happened? Well, part of it is Miller and Beckham have not contributed in a huge way, still learning the playbook and dealing with lingering injuries, and, at the same time, the Rams have also had players who were key to their 7-1 start suffer injuries as well, with wide receiver Robert Woods going down for the season and quarterback Matt Stafford playing at less than 100%.

Part of it is also that the Rams have faced a tough schedule, as the Titans, Rams, and Packers are all likely to be playoff teams. That schedule gets a lot easier this week, with the Jaguars coming to town. Even without Woods and with Stafford playing at less than 100%, we are still getting a little bit of line value with the Rams at -13, as my calculated line has the Rams as 14-point favorites, with both Beckham and Miller likely to have bigger roles this season, albeit with the former still playing through injury. 

However, that isn’t nearly enough line value to take the Rams with any confidence and, in fact, I am actually going to take the Jaguars for pick ‘em purposes, as the Rams are in a bad spot. The Rams need a win so they might not be unfocused, but they may also see this as an easy get right spot, when in reality, they need to play better than they have to win this game easily. Making that more likely is that the Rams have to turn around and face the Cardinals in a much bigger game next week. Even if they get up big early, they could take their foot off the gas with a bigger game on deck and allow a backdoor cover.

Favorites of a touchdown or more cover at just a 42.7% rate all-time before facing an opponent with a winning percentage that is at least 50% higher than their current opponent’s winning percentage, which fits the Rams against the 2-9 Jaguars before the 9-2 Cardinals. I can’t take the Jaguars with any confidence either, especially since they will be without their top cornerback Shaq Griffin, but they should be the right side for pick ‘em purposes, as they could take advantage of the Rams looking forward and make this tougher than it should be.

Los Angeles Rams 26 Jacksonville Jaguars 14

Pick against the spread: Jacksonville +13

Confidence: None

Los Angeles Rams at Green Bay Packers: 2021 Week 12 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (7-3) at Green Bay Packers (8-3)

The Packers’ lost to the Vikings last week, their second loss of the season with Aaron Rodgers under center and their third loss overall, dropping them to 8-3, after a 7-1 start. The Packers have bigger concerns though. Even when they were winning games, they weren’t doing so in impressive fashion. Just three of their wins came by more than 10 points and those came in games in which they were down at halftime at home to the winless Lions, outgained at home on a per play basis by Washington, and facing an underwhelming Seahawks team that was starting a much less than 100% Russell Wilson. 

The Packers did go into Arizona and win, but they were very reliant on the turnover margin in that game, losing the first down rate battle by 5.93%, but winning by a field goal in a game in which they won the turnover battle by three. One of those turnovers was a late interception to seal the game when the Cardinals were in range to at least send the game to overtime, if not win outright. The Packers scored off the Cardinals’ other two takeaways too, so if any one of those turnovers doesn’t happen, the Packers could have easily lost. Given how inconsistent turnover margins are on a week-to-week basis, the Packers can’t count on that again and, given that the Cardinals outperformed the Packers in other key metrics, the Cardinals would likely win a rematch more often than not, so even that was not a dominant win.

On top of that, the Packers injury situation seems to get worse by the week. Already without left tackle David Bakhtiari, edge defender Za’Darius Smith, and cornerback Jaire Alexander, three of the best players in the league at their respective positions, who have missed all of most of the season, the Packers will now be without Kevin King, their best cornerback in Alexander’s absence, even if only by default, and Elgton Jenkins, a talented offensive lineman who has been by far their best offensive lineman in Bakhtiari’s absence. 

The Packers could get back Rashan Gary, their best edge defender in Smith’s absence, and top running back Aaron Jones, who both missed last week and seem likely to return this week, but even that isn’t a guarantee and, even if both played, their return would be offset by the loss of Jenkins and King. That doesn’t even include the injury that Aaron Rodgers is playing through, which is costing him valuable practice time and likely limiting him in games as well.

The Rams have a similar record to the Packers, but have been a much better team. They lost their last two games before the bye week, both by multiple scores, but in one game they threw multiple pick sixes, which won’t happen every week, and in the other they played a very underrated 49ers team. The Rams should also get a lot more out of mid-season acquisitions Odell Beckham and Von Miller this week, after both played sparingly across the two games before the bye. If both play close to a full set of snaps, the Rams are simply a much more talented team than the very banged up Packers right now.

This line favors the Rams by 2 points in Green Bay, but given the talent disparity between those two teams, my calculated line favors the Rams by 5. I am hesitant to bet heavily against the Packers because of how good Aaron Rodgers has been in his career at home and off of a loss, going 48-22 ATS in home games that he has started and finished and that had live crowds and going 41-21 ATS in the week following a loss, but the Rams are also coming off of a loss and a bye week as well, so they should bring their best effort this week and still worth a small play because of the value we are getting with them in a game in which they basically just need to win to cover.

Los Angeles Rams 31 Green Bay Packers 27

Pick against the spread: LA Rams -2

Confidence: Medium

Los Angeles Rams at San Francisco 49ers: 2021 Week 10 NFL Pick

Los Angeles Rams (7-2) at San Francisco 49ers (3-5)

The 49ers are just 3-5, but their efficiency ratings are much better than their record, especially when adjusted for their above average schedule. Overall, they rank 7th, 7th, and 13th on offense, defensive, and special teams efficiency, which is more predictive of future winning than wins or points are. The 49ers’ biggest issue has been the turnover margin, as they are tied for 2nd worst in the league at -9, but turnover margin has almost no week-to-week predictability, so the 49ers are not any more than likely than any other team to continue struggling in the turnover margin going forward and, assuming they can play turnover neutral football, they should be a tougher opponent than their record suggests for the foreseeable future.

The 49ers are still not near full strength due to injuries, but I think they are in relatively better injury shape than they have been most of the season, with key players like left tackle Trent Williams, tight end George Kittle, and safety Jimmie Ward all in expected to be in the lineup this week, the first time they have all played in the same game since week 4. The 49ers are coming off of their worst game of the season, losing at home to the Cardinals led by a backup quarterback, but Ward didn’t play in that game and it’s very possible the 49ers just looked past the Cardinals with this game on deck. The Rams didn’t have a good week either last week and yet this line shifted in San Francisco’s favor, moving from Rams -3 on the early line last week to -4 this week, a significant shift given that about 1 in 6 games are decided by exactly a field goal.

The Rams are obviously one of the top teams in the league, especially with Von Miller coming in to give them a boost on defense at the edge defender spot and Odell Beckham giving them a replacement for the injured Robert Woods, but the 49ers are much better than their record and too good to be getting 4 points at home in this game, especially with Beckham unlikely to play a full snap count in his first game with the team. My calculated line is even, so we’re getting significant line value with this line being on the other side of 3, with about 1 out of 4 games decided by 3 points or fewer. The 49ers are good enough to pull this upset at home and even if they don’t, I like their chances of keeping this close enough to cover the spread. This is a big play.

San Francisco 49ers 24 Los Angeles Rams 23 Upset Pick +170

Pick against the spread: San Francisco +4

Confidence: High