Every Wednesday evening, a proxy service sends out the full list of odds for the weekly NFL action. I have to pick five games for the Westgate SuperContest, based on the lines emailed out Wednesday evening. If I want to pick Thursday Night Football, I have to get all five picks in by 9 a.m. PT on Thursday. If I do not include TNF, I have until 7 p.m. PT on Friday. The lines do not change once they are emailed out on Wednesday.
Normally I try and avoid the San Francisco 49ers in my picks. I feel like I am a little too close to them, and thus emotion might impact my pick. I have picked them twice this season, but otherwise avoided them. I took them in Week 1 against the Minnesota Vikings, and then again in Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens. The 49ers won and covered both games as underdogs.
This week, the line opened with the Rams as 7.5-point favorites, and it has quickly climbed as high as 9.5-points. For the SuperContest, the line is set at Rams -8.5. For the uninitiated, that means if I pick the Rams, they have to win by nine points, and if I pick the 49ers, they have to lose by eight points or less.
I am still leaning toward not touching this game, but that point total is kind of intriguing. The 49ers are not a good football team right now, but could I trust the Rams giving that many points? The reasons for picking the 49ers to cover the spread would be head coach Jeff Fisher and quarterback Nick Foles. While the Rams are looking decent at times this year, they have had a tremendous inconsistency year-in and year-out under Fisher. Foles has some upside, but again, inconsistency is the issue with him.
The reasons for not picking the 49ers would be that defense, particularly the defensive line, and Todd Gurley. The 49ers defensive front could do some serious damage against the 49ers, particularly with guys like Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn. I just don't know if I can see Erik Pears, Jordan Devey and Marcus Martin holding up. As for Gurley, prior to Week 7 Football Outsiders ranked the 49ers 28th against the run, and ranked their defensive line 31st in adjusted line yards. Part of that likely comes from some big leads, but Gurley could do some serious damage against this defensive front.
So, what do I do? If I don't pick the 49ers, I am avoiding the game altogether. But, the 49ers are tempting with that many points in play.