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Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

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49ers are 3.5-point dogs at the Rams for the trilogy - 2022 NFC Championship betting odds and pick

Jan 24, 2022 at 12:52 AM--


The San Francisco 49ers pulled off one of the most improbable, surreal and memorable playoff wins in their storied history without the benefit of an offensive touchdown but all the resolve of a team that is making a habit of never giving up and finding a way to win no matter the situation. How difficult will it be for the Niners to defeat the Los Angeles Rams for the third time this season, second time at SoFi in three weeks, seventh time in a row, with a chance to play in the Super Bowl at SoFi? Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

  • When: Sunday, January 30th, 2022 at 3:30 pm PT (FOX)
  • Where: SoFi Stadium, Los Angeles, California
  • Line: 49ers +3.5, over/under 46.5

Los Angeles Rams


The Los Angeles Rams almost fumbled away what would have been a dominant win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, saved by a Cooper Kupp catch that sealed a 30-27 win in Florida.

After the regular season, Los Angeles ranks 7th in total weighted DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) at 21.2 percent, 6th in weighted offensive DVOA at 16.0 percent with a 4th ranked offensive pass DVOA at 33.6 percent and 12th ranked offensive rush DVOA at -3.8 percent. The Rams defense is rated 6th in weighted defensive DVOA at -11.2 percent with a 6th rated defensive pass DVOA at -1.0 percent and 5th rated defensive rush DVOA at -18.0 percent.

Matthew Stafford is 6th in defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR) at 1,100 and 4th in total QBR at 63.5 with 41 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions, 2 fumbles lost and a 67.2 completion percentage.

Rams special teams rank 2nd in weighted DVOA at 7.1 percent. LA's offensive line is 6th in run blocking with 4.62 adjusted line yards and 6th in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 4.9 percent. The Rams' defensive line is 6th against the run with 3.84 adjusted line yards and 8th with an adjusted sack rate of 7.6 percent.

The Rams have an ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) of 6.1 and are 10-9 ATS and 10-8-1 to the over/under.

This pick is being released early, so the injury news will change all week, currently Andrew Whitworth, Buddy Howell and Taylor Rapp are questionable for the conference championship game.

San Francisco 49ers


The 49ers defense, led by Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead, sacked Aaron Rodgers five times, blocked a field goal and a punt, Talanoa Hufanga returning the punt for a touchdown, and Jimmy Garoppolo overcame a costly red-zone interception to help guide a game-winning drive that was sealed by Robbie Gould's field goal in the 13-10 victory under a storybook snowfall at Lambeau Field.

San Francisco ranks 5th in total weighted DVOA at 24.8 percent, 4th in weighted offensive DVOA at 16.8 percent with a 5th ranked offensive pass DVOA at 33.2.percent and 5th ranked offensive rush DVOA at 6.6 percent. The 49er defense is rated 5th in weighted defensive DVOA at -11.7 percent with a 16th rated defensive pass DVOA at 5.8 percent and 2nd rated defensive rush DVOA at -24.8 percent.

Jimmy Garoppolo is 10th in defense-adjusted yards above replacement (DYAR) at 855 and 14th in total QBR at 52.6 with 20 touchdown passes, 12 interceptions, 2 fumbles lost, and a 68.9 completion percentage.

49ers special teams rank 29th in weighted DVOA at -3.7 percent. San Francisco's offensive line is 11th in run blocking with 4.40 adjusted line yards and 17th in pass protection with an adjusted sack rate of 6.6 percent. The Niners' defensive line is 2nd against the run with 3.56 adjusted line yards and 5th with an adjusted sack rate of 8.0 percent.

The 49ers have an ESPN FPI of 4.3 and are 11-8 ATS and 8-11 to the over/under.

Maurice Hurst, Trey Sermon, Ambry Thomas, Jeff Wilson Jr., Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams and Marcell Harris are listed as questionable for the conference championship game.

Prediction


Narratives heading into this trilogy will include Kyle Shanahan's record against Sean McVay and the idea that it might be more difficult to beat the same team three times in a single season, but of the 22 instances where a team swept a team in the regular season and then faced that team in the playoffs, the sweeping team has gone 14-8, with the most recent sweeping team, the 2020-21 Saints, losing to the eventual Super Bowl winning Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2021 playoffs.

Last week, we rested a significant portion of our handicap on Newton's First Law as it pertains to the force that the San Francisco 49ers have become at the most opportune time, and despite Jimmy's recent momentum of yielding a gut-punch turnover in do-or-die games, we have seen wild card teams gain steam on the road, win at Lambeau and make it to the Super Bowl before and see no reason why, barring unforeseen injury news, we should expect the Niners to slow down now.

Newton's first law of motion, or the law of inertia, posits that an object at rest tends to stay at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted on by an unbalanced force, and while there is little doubt that getting rest is an advantage for NFL teams, one cannot argue that the San Francisco 49ers have been in playoff mode since their loss at Tennessee and they have the momentum and spirit of a team that no one should want to play in an elimination game.


Make no mistake, the Los Angeles Rams bullied the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the majority of the game and humiliated the Arizona Cardinals in the wild card game, and it would not be unreasonable to hypothesize that they have extra motivation to avoid losing to the Niners in their house for the second time in three weeks, and they will be an extremely tough out in the trilogy.

Matthew Stafford has thrown for at least two touchdowns without a single interception in two playoff games, Cooper Kupp continues to play like the best receiver in the league and has a touchdown in each playoff game, Cam Akers is getting healthy and more carries and the Rams defense is getting at least two turnovers and two sacks in each playoff game.

But instead of zagging or expecting the Niners momentum at the end of the season and the playoffs or against the Rams to end, we anticipate that San Francisco will continue to fight and be a live dog against any NFL team, as long as their key players remain healthy. Jimmy continues to put his team in jeopardy when he turns it over yet has also guided critical game-winning drives, and unlike Matthew Stafford, has experience in the conference championship game, but he cannot afford to continue to turn it over at these stages of the playoffs and the special teams will need to stay sharp against a solid Rams special teams unit in what should be a close, highly-physical contest.

The line opened at 4 points but has been bet down to 3.5 at most books and 3 at some, indicating it could move closer to a field goal. Some sharp handicappers might devalue the Niners win at Green Bay as being more about the Packers melting down than the quality of San Francisco's play and find value on the Rams if and when the spread moves to a field goal, but we aren't gonna overthink this one.

Call it square, a public dog or recency bias, but we have been riding the Niners since Week 17 and we see no reason to stop now. Critics might describe San Francisco's win at Green Bay as fraudulent and point out that Stafford is playing better than Garoppolo, but let's not forget that this Niners team has already gone on the road and beaten two of the other three teams left in the playoffs, and maybe they are a good team that happens to win ugly. If we lose a bet due to the play of Matthew Stafford in a conference championship game, we will tip our cap but for now can only take more than a field goal with the more experienced and physical team that keeps refusing to lose.

Pick: 49ers +3.5

2021 Season: 11-8

Poll

  • What is your best bet for 49ers at Rams in 2022 NFC Conference Championship?
  • 49ers +3.5
    82%
  • Under 46.5
    8%
  • Over 46.5
    6%
  • Rams -3.5
    4%
  • 660 votes
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.



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