San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams predictions, odds, spreads & betting lines: Matthew Stafford could struggle again

The NFC West is as tight as it could be heading into Week 8 with every team having a 4-3, 3-3 or 3-4 record, so Sunday’s battle between the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams will be an important matchup. The 49ers are alongside the Arizona Cardinals at 3-4 after losing their last 2 games to the Falcons and Chiefs and will be desperate to get back to .500 by winning on the road. The Rams have not looked like Super Bowl champions this season, and have an even 3-3 record that includes 2 wins and 2 losses at home. The Rams are at home for the 3rd straight game in this contest and will have a point to prove after losing 24-9 to the 49ers in their last road game. Our NFL expert has picks, predictions and best bets for this matchup, so let’s break it all down.

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NFL Week 8 San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams prediction

The 49ers’ season has been largely shaped by the early injury sustained by their projected starter Trey Lance, which led to former main man Jimmy Garoppolo regaining control of the offense. Things looked to be progressing well when Jimmy G led them to wins over this Rams team and the Panthers in back-to-back weeks, but successive losses to the Falcons and Chiefs have raised the importance of this divisional game. The 49ers added another weapon last week when Christian McCaffrey arrived in a major trade from Carolina and he should be better acquainted with the San Fran playbook for this game.

The Rams offensive line has struggled to protect QB Matt Stafford this season and their 3 losses — to the Bills, Cowboys and 49ers — have not even been particularly close. They have had a bye week to try to get things straightened out, so it will be interesting to see what answers head coach Sean McVay has come up with.  It’s a key game in both teams’ seasons, so let’s take a look at the odds and our expert’s best bets for the 49ers vs Rams matchup.

San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams spread, odds & betting lines

Point spread: 49ers -1.5, Rams +1.5
Total points over/under: 42.5-43 points
Money line odds: 49ers -118, Rams +105

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San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams expert picks

We’ve got 2 great NFL picks for this week’s clash between the 49ers and Rams.

49ers vs Rams point spread pick: 49ers -1.5 (-105)

This line flipped from Rams -2.5 last week despite San Francisco getting absolutely blasted by Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs while Los Angeles rested on a bye. If there was anything good to take from Sunday’s loss it was that LT Trent Williams and DE Joey Bosa returned and made it through the game healthy. Some other key secondary pieces also returned and the 49ers activated CB Jason Verrett from IR this week, so overall they are getting healthier, especially on defense.
The Rams could also get a boost with the return of WR Van Jefferson, who was activated off IR this week. Starting C Brian Allen is also trending in a positive direction, which is key since the Rams were forced to start a 3rd-string center when these teams played in Week 4. LT Joe Noteboom is down, which is noteworthy since he was active in Week 4 when the 49ers’ defense dominated the trenches in a 24-9 win by sacking Matthew Stafford 7 times. So I expect the Rams front to hold up okay on the interior, but they perhaps could be susceptible to edge pressure from Bosa and others. There’s really no nice way of putting it, but Stafford is playing like a very average quarterback at the moment. He is 22nd in EPA+CPOE and 32nd out of 36 qualifiers in air yards. While I don’t mind betting San Francisco to win the game, I think the better bet this week is for them to win the NFC West at +130. I can see that number moving significantly if the Niners win this game.

Be sure to check out our full 49ers vs Rams predictions

49ers vs Rams over/under totals pick: Under 43 (-110)

The last 3 games in this series have stayed under the total (33, 41 and 37) and divisional unders are hitting at over 70% so far this season (25-10), so all of the trends are pointing to this one being a low-scoring affair. The Niners’ defense will be a week healthier and facing a much less explosive offense than they were with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Stafford’s numbers have been very pedestrian so far this season. He is just 22nd in EPA+CPOE and is bottom 5 in air yards. The return of WR Jefferson could certainly help that cause and how the Niners’ defend against WR Cooper Kupp is also of note.
The Rams’ defense has been trending in a very positive direction since some early struggles. Since losing 24-9 to San Francisco in Week 4, Los Angeles is 2nd in EPA/play and 1st in success rate against drop-backs. Jimmy Garoppolo has had his moments since returning to the starting lineup, but he is 23rd out of 36 qualifiers in air yards and I expect them to lean a little bit more on the run as Christian McCaffrey starts to settle into his new role, which should keep the clock moving. Considering how few shootouts there have been in the NFL this season, especially in divisional games, it’s hard to see this one sailing over the total.

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San Francisco 49ers vs Los Angeles Rams expert predictions

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