NFL NFC West Betting Picks: St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers

St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers
Candlestick Park – San Francisco, California
Sunday, December 1, 2013, 4:05 pm Eastern, TV: Fox, NFL Sunday Ticket
Opening Line: San Francisco -9 1/2
Current Line: San Francisco -7 1/2
Opening Total: 41 1/2
Current Total: 40 1/2
Opening Money Line: 49ers -400 / Rams +320
Current Money Line: 49ers -380 / Rams +310

The 49ers are 7.5 point favorites at home against the Rams Sunday.
The 49ers are 7.5 point favorites at home against the Rams Sunday.

The 7-4 San Francisco 49ers are 3 games behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. The 49ers are tied with the Arizona Cardinals though for the last wild card spot in the NFC, but San Francisco does hold the tiebreaker over Arizona. San Francisco hosts the 5-6 St. Louis Rams Sunday. St. Louis is still in playoff contention but they need a lot to happen.

Since 2001, San Francisco leads the series against St. Louis 14-10-1. The 49ers beat the Rams 35-11 in late September in St. Louis. San Francisco running back Frank Gore had 153 rushing yards and a touchdown. San Francisco quarterback  Colin Kaepernick threw two touchdowns. The defense held the Rams to 188 total yards.


The St. Louis Rams are coached by Jeff Fisher. The Rams have home wins over the Cardinals 27-24, Jacksonville Jaguars 34-20, and last week against the Chicago Bears 42-21, along with road wins at the Houston Texans 38-13 and Indianapolis Colts 38-8. St. Louis has won two straight games after their second three game losing streak of the season. The Rams have home losses to San Francisco, Seattle 14-9 and the Tennessee Titans 28-21, along with road losses  to the Atlanta Falcons 31-24, Dallas Cowboys 31-7 and Carolina Panthers 30-15. St. Louis is 5-6 ATS and the total is 9-2 this season. The Rams were one point favorites against the Bears  and the total was 46.

St. Louis jumped out to a 21-7 against Chicago last week in the first quarter. The Rams would take a 24-14 lead into halftime. The Rams kicked a field goal in the third quarter to make it 27-14. The Bears scored to pull within 27-21 midway through the fourth. St Louis would score two touchdowns in the last 3 minutes of the game, including a 31 yard fumble return for a touchdown with 2;05 left to make the final 42-21. The Bears had 3 turnovers and the Rams had none. The Bears also had 10 penalties for 84 yards. Chicago had 424 total yards including 344 passing yards. St. Louis had 406 total yards including 258 rushing yards.

St. Louis is outscoring teams 24-23 this season. The Rams are #15 in scoring and #13 in points allowed. St. Louis is averaging 324.6 yards per game on offense including 210.8 passing yards and 113.8 rushing yards per game. On defense, The Rams are allowing 358.4 yards per game including  247 passing and 111.4 rushing yards. St. Louis is +8 in turnovers. The Rams are 56/162 on third and fourth down conversions and  opponents are 56/142. The Rams have forced 33 sacks this season and allowed 26. St. Louis has 7 defensive/special teams touchdowns and have allowed 3 this season. The Rams are averaging 56 penalty yards per game and opponents average 63.

St. Louis quarterback Kellen Clemens took over earlier in the season when Sam Bradford tore his ACL. Clemens has completed 51.9% of his passes for 801 yards with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 26 rushing yards. Clemens has been sacked 11 times this season. Back-up Brady Quinn is also on IR with a hip injury. If something happens to Clemens, Austin Davis is the back-up.

Running back Zac Stacy has 141 carries for 624 yards with 4 touchdowns, along with 16 catches, 107 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a concussion.  Benny Cunningham has 40 carries for 238 yards and a touchdown, along with 3 catches for 41 yards. Daryl Richardson has 69 carries for 215 yards along with 14 catches for 121 yards. He is questionable with a foot injury.

Tight end Jared Cook has 37 catches 508 yards and 4 touchdowns. Chris Givens has 28 catches for 463 yards. Tavon Austin has 35 catches for 384 yards and 4 touchdowns. Austin also had 7 carries for 85 yards and a rushing touchdown, along with a punt return for a touchdown. Austin Pettis has 28 catches, 297 yards and 4 touchdowns. Brian Quick has 13 catches for 245 yards and a touchdown. Lance Kendricks has 23 catches for 172 yards and 3 touchdowns. Five defensive players including 4 defensive backs are listed on the injury report.

San Francisco is coached by Jim Harbaugh. The 49ers have losses at the Seattle Seahawks 29-3 and New Orleans Saints 23-20 and at home against the Indianapolis Colts 27-7 and Carolina Panthers 10-9 . San Francisco has home wins over the Green Bay Packers 34-28, Houston Texans 34-3, and Arizona Cardinals 32-20, along with road wins at the Rams 35-11 , Tennessee Titans 31-17, and last week at the Washington Redskins 27-6,  plus a 42-10 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. The 49ers are 8-3 ATS and the total is 5-6 this season. San Francisco was a 5.5 point favorite against Washington and the total was 45.5.

San Francisco took a 10-0 lead against Washington. The Redskins would kick two field goals before halftime to make it 10-6. The second half was all Niners as they scored 17 unanswered points to win 27-6. Washington had 190 total yards with just 10 first downs. San Francisco had 304 total yards including 228 passing yards. Each team had a turnover.

San Francisco is outscoring teams 25-16 this season. The 49ers are #10 in scoring and #4 in points allowed. San Francisco is averaging 308.5 yards per game including 173.5 passing and 135.1 rushing yards. The 49ers are #4 in rushing but are last in passing, and #30 in total offense. On defense, San Francisco is allowing 314.2 total yards including 209.5 passing and 104.7 rushing yards. The 49ers are 12th or better in all three categories. San Francisco is +5 in turnovers. San Francisco is 62/159 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 60/172. The 49ers have forced 27 sacks and allowed 26 this season. San Francisco has 4 defensive/special teams touchdowns this season. The 49ers average 51 penalty yards per game and opponents average 54.

Quarterback Colin Kaepernick has completed 56.7% of his passes for 2,037 yards with 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, along with 65 carries, 355 yards and 3 touchdowns. He has been sacked 26 times this season. Running back Frank Gore has 188 carries for 779 yards with 7 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 128 yards. Gore is probable with an ankle injury. Kendall Hunter has 58 carries for 231 yards with 3 touchdowns, along with 2 catches. Anthony Dixon has only 48 rushing yards, but does have two rushing touchdowns this season.

The 49ers have been successful this season despite injuries to key members of the receiving corps. Mario Manningham returned a few weeks ago after tearing his ACL last season. He only has 8 catches so far in 3 games, and is listed as probable with a knee injury. Michael Crabtree is expected to make hsi season debut Sunday after tearing his Acilles’ tendon in the off season. Anquan Boldin is the leading receiver for the 49ers so far without Manningham or Crabtree. Boldin has 52 catches for 724 yards and 5 touchdowns. Tight end Vernon Davis has 38 catches for 623 yards and 9 touchdowns. Bruce Miller and Kyle Williams will also get some catches. Quinton Patton is questionable with a foot injury. Ten defensive players are listed on the injury report, including such stars as Navarro Bowman, Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Ahmad Brooks, and Ray McDonald.

St. Louis is 4-0 ATS against teams with winning records,  5-1 in Week 13, 4-1 in December and on grass, and 8-2 against NFC West teams, 8-3 in road games, 5-2 overall, 12-5 after gaining more than 350 total yards and after a straight up win of 14 points or more, 23-47-1 against teams with winning home records, 2-5 against NFC teams, and 3-9 after passing for 150 yards or less. The Rams are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 against the 49ers.

San Francisco is 7-1 ATS overall, 6-1 after allowing less than 15 points, 5-1 after a cover, 4-1 after a straight up win, against teams with losing records,  against NFC teams, and after allowing 250 total yards, 18-6-2 after rushing for less than 90 yards, 24-8-1 on grass, 18-8-1 at home, 2-5 in NFC West games, 4-12 when playing on Sunday after a Monday night game, and 3-10 in week 13. The over is 5-2 in the last 7 in this series.

The 49ers played in Washington Monday night and  had to travel back to the west coast on short rest. The bigger issue is how banged up San Francisco is on defense right now. The offense has been inconsistent for the 49ers. Sometimes Kaepernick looks brilliant and sometimes he looks bewildered. Speaking of inconsistent, it is hard to figure out what the Rams will do from week to week. St. Louis is coming off blowout wins of playoff contenders Indianapolis and Chicago. I think the Rams keep it close in San Francisco but the 49ers come out on top.

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