Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
L.A. Rams +7 over San Francisco
4:25 PM EST. This game is so interesting on so many levels. One team we expected to look good in Week 1, the other not so much, and yet we're getting a featured NFC West battle between two teams who already look like playoff squads.
Everyone expected the 49ers to be a title contender this season, and boy did they prove their talent out-of-the-gate last Sunday in Pittsburgh. Many NFL analysts expected great things from the Steelers this season and many bettors sided with the home-underdog in Week 1. This turned out to be a poor decision. In every facet of the game, San Francisco dominated Pittsburgh. Until 1:32 remaining in the 2nd quarter, the Steelers had a grand total of -9 yards. Brock Purdy and the 49ers couldn't relate, orchestrating one masterful drive after another and achieving an early 20-0 lead. Pittsburgh found a little life by marching 95 yards down the field to end the half, another display of Kenny Pickett's ability in the clutch, but San Francisco answered immediately with a 65 yard touchdown run by Christian McCaffrey to open up the second half. From there the Niners simply kept the home team in check, limiting their production for all four quarters (239 total yards, 3.9 yards per play, 7 points).
Few teams can go into Pittsburgh in the first week of the regular season and put on that kind of a show. It felt special. It felt scary for the rest of the NFC. But what we saw in Seattle might've shook us even more.
The Rams were at times a touchdown underdog Week 1 before their game against the Seahawks, but they played like they knew they were the better team all along. In what might've been the most impressive QB performance of the weekend, Matthew Stafford looked like he didn't miss a beat coming off injury. The veteran thrower was an ace all-game, hurling tight spirals in spots most starters could only dream of, and leading the Rams' offense to a 17-point win. Stafford wasn't sacked once, receivers Tutu Atwell and Puka Nacua each gained over 100 yards (Cooper Kupp who?), and LAR ran the ball effectively when needed. Their defense put on a clinic, too. The Rams allowed only 180 total yards and just 13 points to a home-team that many believed would surge this season. It was obvious that, throughout the Rams' roster, McVay and his staff have worked tirelessly to maximize their potential during the offseason. Suddenly, a group that many already gave up on before the season now looks like a team full of young, exciting, high-ceiling talent. And they're still led by one of the best coaches, QBs, and defensive ends in the league.
With Matthew Stafford as their starting QB, the Rams were outscored 55 to 23 in two losses last season versus San Francisco. 49ers' coach Kyle Shanahan has owned Rams' coach Sean McVay, his former student from their days in Washington. Two seasons ago they finally beat the Niners en route to a Super Bowl win, but McVay hasn't beaten Shanahan in the regular season since 2018. For the mathematically challenged, that's eight straight wins for the 49ers outside the playoffs, but beating the Rams is different than covering a number this big. The Rams showed a lot of chemistry and tenacity last week in their opener. The 49ers looked like they could be the best team in the NFL. Either way, a divisional home-dog given a converted is too many points.
L.A. Rams +7 +102 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.04)