San Francisco 49ers (3-2 SU, 3-2 ATS) vs. St. Louis Rams (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Week 6
Date and Time: Monday, October 13, 2014, 8:30 pm EST
Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Mo.
TV: ESPN, DirecTV - 206
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SF -3.5/Stl. +3.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
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Two teams in the NFC West that find themselves chasing the defending champion Seahawks will meet in primetime on ESPNs Monday Night Football this week, when the San Francisco 49ers travel to the Edward Jones Dome to take on the St. Louis Rams.
Despite a 3-2 record, there are grumblings in San Francisco that maybe head coach Jim Harbaughs type-A personality is finally grating on the players. The 49ers have won two games in a row to quiet those rumblings, including last weeks hard-earned 22-17 victory at home over Kansas City, so a divisional game on the road in the coveted Monday Night spotlight will surely become an early turning point in the 49ers fortunes this season.
The Rams have done their best to overcome all of their season-crushing injuries, including a near-comeback effort in their, 34-28, loss at Philadelphia last Sunday. The bright spot in the loss was the incredible performance from third-year quarterback Austin Davis, who threw for 375 yards and three touchdowns and appears to have taken the role of QB firmly for the rest of 2014 at least.
With little faith in the Rams anymore, sportsbooks opened the Monday Nighter this week with the visiting 49ers are 3.5-point favorites. But theres already a few books that have dropped the bonus half-point from the number and are listing the Niners at minus -3.
The over/under total opened at 43.5 and has stood firm through the early steam at the window at most books, but those that have moved the number have moved it up to 44.
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For the Rams to defend their home turf this week they will absolutely need their defense to do a 180-degree turnaround and stop the run. Currently ranked 30th in the NFl allowing 153 yards a game, the Rams run defense will surely get tested by the 49ers offensive line and two-headed battering ram of Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde. Crowding the box is a distinct possibility, because the Rams pass defense is ranked No. 1 (192 ypg) and they should try and make Colin Kaepernick beat them throwing the ball.
The Rams still dont run the ball well enough (109 ypg 19th) to put a strong 49ers run defense (3rd 74 ypg) on their heels, so imagine what Davis could do in play-action with a stronger running game. Zac Stacy left the last game with a sore calf and is listed as questionable, so having the top runner at less than full strength certainly wont help the Rams cause in trying to knock off the favorite 49ers in their home stadium.
Historically, the 49ers swept last years two meetings with the Rams, including a 35-11 win in the Jones Dome last September. However, the Rams swept the 49ers in 2012 and have the benefit of the betting trend that has seen the home team go 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings. St. Louis is an ugly 1-5 ATS against the NFC West in their last six tries.
Another betting trend that just cant be ignored is the history that both of these teams have on Monday Night Football. San Francisco is a solid 22-6 ATS on Monday Night going back thru several years, while the Rams have froze in recent years going 1-4 ATS in primetime.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread:I dont think this will be as easy a win for the 49ers as everyone else seems to think. The public is heavy on the 49ers early, yet the point spread is coming down, which always seems to signal sharp money on the home dog. So if you can still get the hook and can get +3.5, I say grab it and take the Rams.