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‘Monday Night Football’ picks and open thread: Rams at 49ers

Betting odds and picks for the NFC West showdown

NFL, Rams, 49ers, NFC Championship Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Monday Night Football is set to feature a pivotal early season divisional matchup for the San Francisco 49ers (-1.5) and the visiting Los Angeles Rams (+1.5). In spite of the fact that the Niners are 1-2 and the Rams are 2-1, both are 1-0 in divisional play and San Francisco will open as slight favorites at home, with DraftKings Sportsbook giving them a 1.5 point edge in this contest.

Both teams have a lot to play for in this one; both Seattle and Arizona won today, so there is a very real possibility that the NFC West could feature four 2-2 teams by the end of Monday night. Alternatively, if the Rams win, they could take a decisive lead on the division in the early going at 3-2, and the 49ers would be in the unenviable position of being the only team in the NFC West with a losing record. Needless to say, this is pretty high stakes football for Week 4.

San Francisco has the 3rd ranked defense in DVOA, per Football Outsiders. The Rams have only played one other team ranked in the top 5 — the Buffalo Bills (2nd) in Week 1, which, as you may recall, was an ugly night for LA. However, the 49ers have had issues of their own; they have failed to consistently put points on the board, averaging only 15.7 points per game, according to Pro Football Reference. Still, they are limiting their opponents to only 2.3 points per game and have yet to allow a team to score more than 20 points.

I guess you could say it looks like the Bay Area squad once again features a formidable defense. This could present problems for the Rams, whose offense has been uneven in the season so far. Regardless, prime time division games have a tendency to get wild, and I think this will be no exception. Ultimately, I think it ends up being a higher scoring matchup than it looks like it should be on paper, but the defense will still end up being the deciding factor; this gives San Francisco the decided edge.

The pick: Over 42.5 points, San Francisco 49ers win straight up and cover the spread.