The San Francisco 49ers opened this week as a field goal underdog to the Los Angeles Rams, but that line has come down upwards of a full point. Most online sportsbooks have the line at Rams -2, with a few at -2.5. At one point on Monday, 5Dimes and SportBet actually had it down to Rams -1. They have gone back up to -2.
For those not as familiar with sports wagering, Rams -2 means the Rams are favored to win by two points. If you bet on the Rams -2 and they win by three or more, you win. If you bet on the 49ers +2, that means if they lose by less than two you win. If it ends up a two-point ball game, it’s a push. The line is set not as a prediction of the final score, but as a way to get an even amount of money bet on both sides. If each side of the wager gets a similar amount bet, the house is guaranteed to win thanks to the vig added to each bet.
I am not entirely surprised the line came down a point. Even though the Rams had their big Week 1 win, the 49ers lost a close one in Week 2. Early public money was on the 49ers, likely thanks to the change in perception from a close loss up in Seattle. Since the line came down to two points, the public has swung the other way. Three is an important number in NFL gambling given the chance for a field goal win. If you see a close game, getting that extra point with a Rams field goal win means you avoid the push that Rams -3 offered.
This is a game the 49ers very much could win. Losing Eric Reid and potentially Jaquiski Tartt is not going to help, but this defense has shown some solid depth thus far. They face an improving Rams offense under Sean McVay. Thursday Night Football is all but assured of being some ugly football, and like Kyle Shanahan said on Monday, it just comes down to who is freshest on the short week.