If you were looking to make Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game a little more interesting, Michelle Magdziuk and I packed today’s Gold Digger’s podcast with tons of gambling and fantasy advice. Michelle is a researcher for the NFL Network and the Director of Content for Ball Blast Football for those of you who don't know.
Jauan Jennings over 25.5 receiving yards
Since Week 14 in games with Jimmy Garoppolo, Jennings has had at least five targets in every game but one - last week at freezing Lambeau Field. He hit this over in all of those games but one - last week at freezing Lambeau Field. Considering Sunday’s game will be in balmy Los Angeles, we expect those numbers to go back up to normal.
Plus, Jennings had his best game against this Rams defense earlier this year. In Week 18, he caught 6 passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns. It’s too simple to say Jennings has become Kendrick Bourne, but he has stepped into a role as a third-down and red zone target down the stretch.
Brandon Aiyuk over 48.5 receiving yards
There are yards to be had for receivers against the Rams. Since Week 7, they have allowed someone to have 50+ yards against them every single week. In fact, they’ve allowed multiple players to have 50+ yards against them in every game in that time frame except for the Wild Card game against Arizona. However, Christian Kirk still hit them for 51 yards even in that game.
Aiyuk has gone over this mark himself in three of the last four games (stupid Lambeau) and has become the team’s number one wide receiver down the stretch. Since Week 10, Deebo Samuel has only seen more targets than handoffs. He’s a running back, basically, and Deebo is reaping the benefits.
Elijah Mitchell over 17.5 rushing attempts
Mitchell just missed hitting this mark last week (17 carries), but he’s also had at least 20 carries in each of the six games before that. In two games against the Rams this year, the 49ers have run the ball 75 times - that’s an average of 37.5 times per game. Kyle Shanahan’s first and best option to win this game is grinding yards out on the ground, which is perfect for our purposes.
As we said last week, Kyle also loves making Mitchell his bell-cow back. When Elijah is healthy enough to play, Shanahan hands the ball to Mitchell or Deebo- and that’s it. If this over doesn’t hit, things have gone horribly, horribly wrong for Mitchell and the 49ers.
Matthew Stafford under 279.5 passing yards
In two games against the 49ers this year, Stafford averages 240.5 passing yards per game. Even with their banged-up secondary, San Francisco has largely been able to limit the damage he does to them.
Plus, Stafford hasn’t gone three straight games this year without an interception, and he has 4 picks against the 49ers so far this season. It’s entirely possible that Stafford gives a couple of possessions to San Francisco, which would also drastically reduce his chances of hitting this over.
Cam Akers under 63.5 rushing yards
This is actually the play we feel most strongly about. This number seems unrealistically high considering how dominant the 49ers rushing defense has been since Week 9. In that time, the 49ers haven’t allowed any running back to gain more than 60 rushing yards against them (if you exclude Travis Homer’s fake punt in Week 13, which we do).
While it does look like Sean McVay is leaning heavily on Akers since his return, the results haven’t been great. So far in the playoffs, he’s gained 55 yards on 17 carries against Arizona and 48 yards on 24 carries against Tampa Bay. Forgive us if that paltry 2.5 yards per carry doesn’t leave us shaking in our boots. Smash the under.