Are the Rams a safe bet for the upcoming NFL season?

LA Rams at San Francisco Week 1 Free Pick & Prediction

Written by on July 15, 2016

The first week of the 2016 NFL season comes to a close with the second of two Monday night games — it’s the only week of the year where two Monday games are scheduled. And this one will feature the Rams in their first game back as L.A.’s team as they visit San Francisco in Chip Kelly’s coaching debut. The Rams are 2-point favorites on online NFL betting odds.

Analysis on the LA Rams at San Francisco Week 1 Free Pick, Prediction & TV Info

When: Monday, Sept. 12, 10:20 PM ET Where: Levi’s Stadium, Santa Clara TV: ESPN Stream: WatchESPN Opening NFL Lines: Rams -2 (50.5)

Los Angeles vs San Francisco Historical Betting Trends

The Rams won in St. Louis against the 49ers in Week 8 last year, 27-6. Todd Gurley rushed for 133 yards on 20 carries, topping 100 yards for the fourth straight start to open his career. Tavon Austin caught a 66-yard touchdown pass and outran the defense to the pylon for a 2-yard score, compensating for anearly lost fumble. The Rams defense was stout, too, with three sacks and a safety. The Niners had just 189 yards and two field goals by Phil Dawson. James Laurinaitis and Michael Brockers tackled Mike Davis in the end zone on a run for a safety. In Week 17 in San Francisco, the 49ers beat the Rams 19-16 in OT. Phil Dawson kicked a 23-yard field goal 11:33 into overtime for his fourth of the game, and the 49ers won in then-coach Jim Tomsula’s finale. He was fired right after the game. Dawson came through after Greg Zuerlein’s 48-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Dontae Johnson, giving San Francisco the ball back with 4:49 to play. Blaine Gabbert passed for 354 yards and a 33-yard touchdown to Anquan Boldin for the 49ers. Case Keenum went 22 of 37 for 231 yards for St. Louis. Rams are 1-4- 1 ATS in their last 6 road games. Rams are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games in Week 1. Rams are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Monday games. 49ers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 1. 49ers are 24-6 ATS in their last 30 Monday games. Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in San Francisco. Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.

Why Bet on Los Angeles?

Because of Gurley, the 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the most exciting young running back in the league. While early last season the smart money was on Marcus Mariota to win the award, Gurley burst onto the scene in Week 4, logging 19 carries for 146 yards. It began a torrid stretch which saw a record-setting (for a rookie) 766 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games. Overall, he rushed 229 times for 1,106 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 10 touchdowns. Gurley ranked fourth among all running backs, according to Football Outsiders’ efficiency metric, and he virtually carried the Rams offense on his back; the passing offense ranked 31st while the rushing offense was 14th. Will this be the NFL debut of Rams QB Jared Goff? The team gave up a ton to get the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft and take Goff. He is a work in progress and is going to spend the season making the type of mistakes rookie quarterbacks make. At the moment, the team is unsure if he is their opening day starter. Defensively, the Rams let go of Janoris Jenkins and Rodney McLeod this offseason along with other defensive staples like Chris Long and James Laurinaitis.

Why Bet on San Francisco?

Other than the Niners being home, I can’t think of a good reason. This won't be a very good team in 2016. The biggest question is at quarterback. For the first time since he left the University of Oregon, Kelly has a group of quarterbacks that can run all over a defense. That’s what the most prominent member of his 49ers group, Colin Kaepernick, is best known for. He holds the single-game rushing record for a quarterback, 181 yards. Even last year, a season in which he started just eight games, Kaepernick ranked seventh among quarterbacks in rushing yards. Kelly has raved about the running of Blaine Gabbert, the likely starter. Meanwhile, the 49ers used a sixth-round pick on quarterback Jeff Driskel, who played at Louisiana Tech last season. Driskel was the fastest quarterback in the 40-yard dash at the combine, with the 49ers clocking him at 4.47 seconds. Kelly isn’t saying yet who might start Week 1, though. You can forget about Driskel. “I have no idea,” Kelly said this week when asked. “We’re not playing a game until September. At this point in time, it’s early, and one of the players, Colin, is injured right now, so he’s not been a full participant in everything.” Kelly was speaking on Kaepernick’s offseason surgeries, which kept him out of the Niners OTA sessions and a portion of minicamp. Statistically, Gabbert was superior to Kaepernick in most categories. Gabbert had a better passer rating (86.2 to 78.5), higher completion percentage (63.1 to 59.0), a better touchdown-to- interception ratio (10:7 to 6:5) and has apparently won over the locker room.

My Free Pick

The 49ers are the Browns of the West. But I actually think they can win this game if the Rams indeed to start Goff. For sure go under the total on NFL betting lines.
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