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Los Angeles Rams vs. San Francisco 49ers Point Spread - Pick

Los Angeles Rams (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS)
Week 3 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, September 21, 2017 at 8:30PM EST
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
TV: NFL Network

By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com

Point Spread: LAR -2.5/SF +2.5
Over/Under Total: 41

The Los Angeles Rams come into Levi's Stadium to face the San Francisco 49ers in NFC West action on Thursday Night Football. The Niners offered a strong effort last week, easily covering the spread, but falling just short of a big upset on the road against Seattle, 12-9. The LA Rams also came up short, falling to the Redskins at home, 27-20. It was a letdown after how good they looked in a 37-point win in week one, but they look to go to 2-1 this week against a still-ragged Niners bunch.

The Rams look to have gotten a little boost with new leadership in the form of 31-year old Sean McVay, so it's iffy how much last season even matters. The 49ers won two games in all of last season, both against the Rams. So if recent history counts for anything, this Niners team matches up well with the Rams. Last season, the Rams got shut out in San Francisco, 28-0. Again, a lot has changed on both sidelines since then.

The Rams didn't see the same aerial production they had in week one when Jared Goff went over 300 yards en route to the big win. Still, there were some positive signs. The Rams fell behind 13-0 and eventually battled back into the game and knotted it at 20 apiece. Todd Gurley had a positive day with 88 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries as well as a receiving touchdown on 48 yards receiving. Rookie tight end Gerald Everett showed what the Rams are hoping is a glimpse of things to come with 95 yards through the air. Sammy Watkins was quiet, as was Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and Josh Reynolds. Still, the offense looks to already be upgraded from where they were last season.

The Rams have a good defense and it shined in week one. In week two, it wasn't really a typical performance for the Rams' "D." They didn't get after the quarterback very well and yielded a huge running day for the Redskins. Aaron Donald getting a game under his belt was helpful, but they didn't look that strong up-front. Still, that might have been an aberration. The secondary, with corners Trumaine Johnson and Nickell Robey-Coleman and safeties Maurice Alexander and Lamarcus Joyner have been good and held Cousins to 179 yards through the air on Sunday. The middle got some good play with Mark Barron and Alec Ogletree. With Donald getting up to speed, along with Tyrunn Walker and Michael Brockers up front, they should be tough and it might start showing this week.

The Niners came pretty close to getting the win on Sunday, carrying a lead late in the game and nearly having Russell Wilson sacked before he threw for the go-ahead touchdown. It was an ugly game, but for the big underdog 49ers to give the Seahawks a real run for their money is something those who bet against the Niners will have to be wary of this season. By no means a good team, they can be pretty scrappy, especially in games like this—home games within their own division.

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There isn't much positive to say about a San Francisco offense that has managed a mere four field goals of scoring in two games without a touchdown. And when Seattle went ahead on Sunday, they went three-and-out and never saw the ball again in an anticlimactic ending. Carlos Hyde was effective with 124 yards on the ground on just 15 carries. But the aerial game was not a factor, with Brian Hoyer going 15-for-27 with an anemic 99 yards and a pick. Just over 200 yards of total offense just isn't going to cut it. It also undermines a defense that has shown some pretty good signs through two games.

You can't have it all when you're a team like the 49ers coming off a 2-win season. The offense seems to be just as bad as last season, but the defense is showing a lot of grit. After sinking to the depths of being one of the worst defenses in the league, they have started the 2017 season by allowing 35 combined points in 2 games. They kept the Seattle run-game under control, with Wilson only able to get the air-attack going late. Though they could have made a clutch stop late, the line was pretty active with Arik Armstead, DeForest Buckner, and promising first-round pick Solomon Thomas. Linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Ray Ray Armstrong are tough in the middle. S Eric Reid was hurt on Sunday, but the secondary has been respectable through two games. There's some energy on this side of the ball. But if the offense can't score a touchdown, it will be all for naught.

The Rams should be ready for an energetic road performance after being dug in at home for the first two games of the season. This is a game they can ill-afford to lose. They dropped two to the Rams last season and beyond the prospects of going to 1-2, it would just be demoralizing for them to drop this game. But the 49ers showed on Sunday that they will be very competitive in the right conditions, with this being one of those kind of games. I still see the Rams rising up to post the win and cover over the 49ers on Thursday

Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm taking the Los Angeles Rams minus 2.5 points. Tired of your credit card not working for sportsbook deposit? End that problem today and bet the Rams vs. Niners game from the comfort of home by signing up at Bovada Sportsbook where your credit card WILL work and where you'll receive a generous 100% sign-up bonus!

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