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Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers,
10-21-2018 - Prediction & Preview

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Game Snapshot with Current Line

#473 Los Angeles
Rams -9.5
#474 San Francisco
49ers 52

Sunday, October 21, 2018 at 4:25pm

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

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The Los Angeles Rams will be looking to remain undefeated when they visit the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Los Angeles has improved to 6-0 by going 2-0 during this stretch of three straight road games, beating Seattle and Denver. The 49ers are in the midst of a short week after losing at Green Bay on Monday night.


In this past weekend’s 23-20 win over the Broncos, Todd Gurley became the first Rams player to rush for at least 200 yards and two touchdowns in a single game since Marshall Faulk in 2001. Gurley ran it 28 times for a career-high 208 yards and two scores while also catching two passes for 17 yards. With that Los Angeles improved to 6-0 and is now the NFL’s only undefeated team following Kansas City’s Sunday night loss at New England.

“You know they’re gonna have a hard time stopping the run,” quarterback Jared Goff said of opposing teams. “And today we were able to run on [the Broncos]. It’s a testament to up front what they are able to do, and then Todd just being the guy he is, it’s no different. He’s the same guy every week, and today we got to see it in full force.”

Could Gurley be in line to become the first running back to win NFL MVP since Adrian Peterson in 2012? It would work for the trend of a running back earning the honor every six years, as prior to Peterson the last one to do it was LaDanian Tomlinson in 2006. Gurley has 623 rushing yards, 247 receiving yards, and 11 total touchdowns (nine rushing) so far this season. The former University of Georgia standout leads the league in rushing yards and yards from scrimmage. He is on pace to finish right around 2,300 yards from scrimmage–which has been reached only 10 times in NFL history of the NFL.

Another close loss

The 49ers have been the kings of playing close games in recent seasons and the 2018 campaign is looking like no exception. Their lone win has come by three points (over Detroit in Week 2) and they have not yet lost by more than 11 points–not even at the high-powered Chiefs in Week 3. San Francisco fell by two points at the Chargers last month and most recently succumbed at Green Bay 33-30 on Monday night. Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard fared well in the absence of Jimmy Garoppolo (out for the year with a torn ACL), but the defense could not contain Packers QB Aaron Rodgers in the late stages. Green Bay racked up a ridiculous 521 yards of total offense and scored 10 of their 33 points in the fourth quarter. The home team probably could have scored a winning TD with ease on the last drive, but time was running out and it only needed a Mason Crosby field goal to break a 30-30 tie.

“I could have (a) say (in the defense), but I’m not going to just hop into a defense and start calling plays,” head coach Kyle Shanahan commented. “That’s on (defensive coordinator Robert) Saleh, and Saleh’s very good at what he does. I have a ton of confidence in him; I have a ton of confidence in our scheme. [The Packers] made the plays to win at the end and we didn’t.”

“We just aren’t playing sound football,” cornerback Richard Sherman admitted. “Like I told you guys before, when you just do your job in this defense, it’s really hard to beat. On the first freaking play again, we bust. We bust a simple coverage. It’s a simple adjustment and we bust. You can’t play like that.”

Updated on Oct 21 at 8:40am EDT

Update prepared by our editoral staff

Public Money / Line Movements

Seems like the sharps are buying into what CJ Beathard did last week and the fact that SF has played many close games so far. 67% of the tickets are on the Rams and yet LA has gone from 10.5 point favorites down to 9.5 point favorites.  The loss of WR Cooper Kupp for the Rams could be influencing the sharps as well.

Injury / Weather Report

Sunny and the low 70s at game time. No weather issues for this one.

Los Angeles’ Injury Report

WR Cooper Kupp (30 catches, 438 yards, 5 TDs) is out. No other impact injuries for the Rams. TYhe Rams still have plenty of weapons to work with.

San Francisco’s Injury Report:

WR Dante Pettis (96 yards receiving) is out for this one, while Trent Taylor (16 catches, 125 yards), DB Ahkello Witherspoon (15 tackles), C Weston Richburg, CB K’Waun Williams (14 tackles) and DB Richard Sherman are all questionable. Losing Sherman would hurt against this offense.

The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet

The 49ers are 1-4 ATS in their last five on Sundays after playing in a Monday night game. And going up against the best team in the NFL–or at least the team with the NFL’s best record–is about as rude as the schedule can get. San Francisco’s defense is not playing well at all, which is especially bad news with Gurley and Goff coming to town. Expect the Rams to score in bunches, thus being able to cover a double-digit spread.

Prediction: Los Angeles Rams

Full-Game Total Pick

“I think we feel that we can go out there and run the football on anybody,” Los Angeles left tackle Andrew Whitworth commented. “We work hard at it, and we believe in it.” Who’s to argue with that? With Goff keeping defenses honest in the midst of an MVP bid of his own, Gurley can run wild on opposing defenses. The over is 8-3 in the Rams’ last 11 on the road, 6-2 in their last eight against the NFC, and 9-3 in their last 12 against losing opponents. It is also 5-0 in the 49ers’ last five overall, 4-0 in their last four at home, and 4-0 in their last four against winning opponents. Look for this one to go over the total.

Prediction: Over

Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is a freelance sports writer based in Atlanta, Georgia. He has previously worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.


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