The San Francisco 49ers travel to face the St. Louis Rams in Week 8, and the 49ers have opened as a 7.5-point
favorite underdog. This actually marks the first time since 2010 that the Rams have been favored against the 49ers. In the last four games in St. Louis, the 49ers were favored by 3.5 (2014), 3.5 (2013), 7.0 (2012), 12.5 (2011). In case you're wondering, the 49ers were 3-1 SU in those games, and 2-2 ATS. You can actually get a 9-point spread on a couple websites tracked by OddsShark.
The Rams enter this game sitting at 3-3, one game back of the Arizona Cardinals (playing tonight) in the NFC West. The Rams beat the Cleveland Browns 24-6, thanks to big efforts from their defense and Todd Gurley. They jumped out on top quickly, with Rodney McLeod returning a fumble 20 yards for a touchdown. They would go on to recover four Browns fumbles. That turned it into the Todd Gurley show. Gurley rushed 19 times for 128 yards, and scored two touchdowns. The passing game was pretty meh, with Nick Foles completing 15 of 23 passes for 163 yards. Foles avoided turnovers, while Jared Cook had one fumble.
The Rams host a 49ers squad that is struggling to do much of anything. The 49ers beat the Baltimore Ravens two weeks ago, but then got thumped by the Seattle Seahawks, and are now 2-5. The team is struggling to do much of anything. The offense is in shambles when they face a decent defense, with Colin Kaepernick unable to get anything going. Part of that is his own inconsistencies, and part of that is the ugly right side of the offensive line. The Rams strong front seven could have a field day against this offensive line.
On the other side of the ball, the 49ers defense can't get a consistent pass rush, and struggled to make basic tackles against the Seahawks. Marshawn Lynch rushed 27 times for 122 yards. In four games, Todd Gurley has 442 rushing yards, averaging 6.0 yards per carry. And in the first of those four games, he had six rushes for nine yards. In the three games since, he is averaging 144 yards a game. I do like the 49ers matchup against Nick Foles, but I am not excited seeing the 49ers face Todd Gurley.
I'll take a closer look at the line as the week moves along, but my early choice would be staying away from the 49ers in general. It is tempting to fade them each week, but divisional games are always tough to figure out. That Rams defense and the Todd Gurley factor make them tempting, even at 7.5 points. But this is a Jeff Fisher team. As bad as the 49ers have been, Fisher can find ways to yack this up.