The San Francisco 49ers (2-3) have been gutted by injuries and are barely treading water in the NFC West, but they can start turning things around on Sunday Night Football when they host the Los Angeles Rams (4-1). Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo returned from an ankle injury last week but was benched after struggling mightily in a humbling 43-17 home loss to the Dolphins. The defending NFC champions are still getting great play from the defense, but the 49ers face a Rams team that has been clicking behind quarterback Jared Goff and an elite defense of its own.
Kickoff is set for 8:20 p.m. ET at Levi's Stadium. William Hill has Los Angeles listed as a 2.5-point favorite in the latest Rams vs. 49ers odds, and the over-under for total points scored is set at 51.5. Before you lock in any 49ers vs. Rams picks, be sure to see the latest Sunday Night Football predictions from SportsLine NFL expert Emory Hunt.
Known as The Czar of the Playbook, Hunt played running back at Louisiana-Lafayette before founding Football Gameplan, a high-level analysis site. He is SportsLine's hottest NFL expert, and he enters Sunday Night Football on an impressive 16-5 roll on NFL against the spread picks that has returned $1,065 to $100 players. Hunt has also hit three straight picks for or against the 49ers, continuing his epic run picking NFL games.
- Rams vs. 49ers spread: Los Angeles -2.5
- Rams vs. 49ers over-under: 51.5
- Rams vs. 49ers money line: Los Angeles -140, San Francisco +120
- LAR: WR Cooper Kupp has five or more receptions in four straight games.
- SF: RB Raheem Mostert has 377 total yards in three starts (125.6 per game).
Why the Rams can cover
Los Angeles is 5-1 against the spread in its last six after accumulating more than 350 yards in its previous game, and Goff threw for 309 of the team's 429 total yards against Washington. The fifth-year pro has completed nearly 72 percent of his passes for 1,372 yards and eight touchdowns and has a pair of top wideouts in Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. The former has team highs with 28 catches for 363 yards, while Woods has 23 for 300.
The Rams are 4-1 against the spread in their last five after allowing fewer than 250 yards in their previous game, and the defense is fourth in the league in total yards at 304.2. It is particularly tough against the pass, allowing fewer than 198 yards per game, and that success starts up front. Two-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald leads the league with 7.5 of the team's 20 sacks, and four others have at least two.
Why the 49ers can cover
The defense has been the only bright spot for San Francisco, which is 5-1 against the spread in its last six as an underdog. Despite the loss of star defensive end Nick Bosa to a torn ACL, the unit ranks fifth in the league in total defense (323 yards per game) and third in passing (215.6). The pass rush has a lot to do with that, as Kerry Hyder (3.5 sacks), D.J. Jones (two) and Arik Armstead (1.5) have stepped up. Linebacker Fred Warner (44 tackles, interception) also plays a huge role.
The 49ers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight against a team with a winning record, and the offense rushes for 129 yards per game (10th in NFL) and averages nearly 25 points. Running back Raheem Mostert had 119 total yards against Miami in his return from a knee injury, and Jerick McKinnon has 300 total yards and four TDs this season. Tight end George Kittle is a matchup nightmare and leads the team in receptions (23) and yards (271) despite missing two games.
How to make Rams vs. 49ers picks
Hunt is leaning Under on the total, but his much stronger play is on the spread. He's found a critical X-factor that makes one side of the spread hit hard on Sunday. He's only sharing it here.
Who wins 49ers vs. Rams on Sunday Night Football? And what critical X-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the 49ers vs. Rams spread you should jump on Sunday, all from the expert on a 16-5 roll who's nailed three straight 49ers picks.