St. Louis Rams (7-8 SU, 7-7 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (4-11 SU, 6-9 ATS)
NFL Week 17
Date/Time: 01/03/16 4:25 PM ET
Where: Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, CA
by Keith, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: STL -3.5/SF +3.5
Over/Under Total: 37
St. Louis is coming in off an impressive road win at Seattle, where the Rams entered as nearly a two-touchdown pooch. Rams stud running back Todd Gurley had a productive day of the office, he went for 85 yards on the ground and a touchdown against one of the most physical defensive fronts in the NFL. The Seahawks are no stranger to defensive supremacy, thus the Rams seventh win of the season was all the more impressive considering how they won and where they won at. Seattle is known as a venue with a notorious home field advantage, otherwise known as the 12th Man. The 12th man was virtually nullified as the Rams marched on to a 23-17 victory. Combining this result with St. Louis previous result against San Francisco in November (27-6) has served as a foundation for a humongous overreaction from the consensus, as seemingly everyone and their pet dog has St. Louis covering this one.
San Francisco is coming in once again on an abysmal defeat. The Niners suffered an overwhelming loss to the anemic Detroit Lions. To our surprise despite exhaustive steam on the Lions, Detroit cover by 4.5 points, handing the 49ers 32-17 loss at Ford Field. San Franciscos defense as usual was extraordinarily accommodating, allowing Detroit to compile 371 yards of total offense. Calvin Johnson went off for what is considered a typical outing, securing 6 of 10 targets while going for 77 yards and a touchdown. On the contrary, as we highlighted previously, the Lions could not get their mojo working when it came to their running game. The Lions rushed for just 87 yards on 28 attempts, against what is considered a more favorable match-up. The woes for the Lions continue up front and as a result, they cant even move the ball on the ground against the worst of defensive units.
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49ers Quarterback Blaine Gabbert continued his maturation in to a NFL starting quarterback as he went 22 for 33 with 225 passing yards and a touchdown. 49ers wide-out Torrey Smith found the end zone, and once again illustrated why he is an excellent secondary option in the San Francisco receiving corps. Now, the 49ers are facing a St. Louis defense that is no stranger to giving up yardage to opposing offenses. The Rams give up an average of 361.9 yards per game, as well as 247.7 passing yards per game, so it safe to surmise that Gabbert may find success once again.
In addition the Rams are entering on a three-game winning streak and presuppositions are likely to be made that if the Rams have beaten the Seahawks twice, they are sure to beat San Francisco. This hypothesis has never been a safe one to conceptualize and for that reason alone we think the 49ers are an excellent spot play. In the betting world, many coin the term buy-low, sell-high. Given the recent results of both the Rams and 49ers, this scenario is shaping up to be a quintessential buy-low/sell-high situation. As a direct result of that aforementioned streak, the premium to back St. Louis is likely hidden in the line. Even with the three and a half points they are spotting, the Rams are all the more vulnerable and the book knows this. Nevertheless, psychological perception may view this one as a gift, however these bets are never a gift. At times this season, St. Louis offense has looked atrocious. While we herald in the talent of Todd Gurley, we cannot help but be abhorred by the Rams play as a whole. The situation sets up perfectly, 49ers at home to conclude a very discouraging season against a football team that is likely to be punching above its weight. Just three weeks ago, many analysts dissected the Rams and even had the gumption to call them a terrible football team. Now, the Rams are suddenly to be feared? In light of this, neither team has a shot at a post-season berth. It is not unlikely for the 49ers to go out and play inspired with the goal of winning their last game of the season in front of their home crowd. Despite many plaudits siding with the Rams we will have to go the other way. Situationally, teams that pull off huge wins like St. Louis did last week are all the more vulnerable for a let-down the following week and San Francisco has plenty of capability to pull off the upset, given potential incentive. 49ers with the points at home is the call.
Keiths Pick to Cover the Point Spread: San Francisco +3.5
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