April 17, 2024

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Rams vs. 49ers: Expert picks, predictions, props for NFC Championship game today, NFL playoff schedule

Two division rivals face off tonight for the right to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LVI. It’s the San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams, Kyle Shanahan vs. Sean McVay. Shanahan’s 49ers swept the Rams in the regular season, and have won six straight against McVay. Matthew Stafford and Co. are coming off of a win over the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, however, and are looking for revenge against a rival.

This will be the fourth intra-division conference championship game since realignment in 2002. Interestingly enough, the previous three winners of intra-division conference championship games have gone on to win the Super Bowl. The Rams are the first team to host a conference championship game in the same stadium that will host the Super Bowl, so they can’t let this opportunity go to waste. 

Below, we will examine the different betting angles for this matchup. We will provide picks from both CBS Sports and SportsLine experts on this NFC showdown, as well as a few player props that we view as enticing. 

All NFL odds are via Caesars Sportsbook.

How to watch 

Date: Sunday, Jan. 30 | Time: 6:40 p.m. ET
Location: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, CA)
Fox | Stream: fuboTV (try for free)
Odds: Rams -3.5, O/U 45.5

49ers at Rams spread picks

“49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and Rams coach Sean McVay are good friends who have worked together in their careers. But since becoming head coaches, Shanahan has gotten the better of McVay. He is 7-3 in 10 games against him, winning six straight, including two this year. In Week 18, the 49ers beat the Rams on the road to earn a spot in the playoffs. Here we are three weeks later, and they are back in the same building meeting for a chance to get to the Super Bowl.

“In the last meeting, the 49ers rallied from a 17-0 deficit to win the game, 27-24. The 49ers defensive line dominated the Rams offensive line in that game. In two games against the Rams, the 49ers have seven sacks and 21 pressures without doing a lot of blitzing, which is something Matthew Stafford has killed this season.

“The Rams love to run the ball in their zone scheme, but the 49ers have run it better in the two games, getting an average of 87.5 yards more per game on the ground. That’s where this game will be won. The team that runs it best will win. The 49ers need to run it take the pressure off Jimmy Garoppolo, while the Rams key their offense off that wide-zone scheme.

“As for attacking the 49ers defense, it’s simple. Block them against the pass and you will beat them. That’s something the Rams have not done. I don’t think they will do it here, either.

“The Rams are the star-studded team, but the 49ers are the more physical team. The last time a team won three games, including a conference title game on the road, against the same team in the same season came in 1999. That year, the Jacksonville Jaguars were the star-studded team, but it was the Tennessee Titans that were the more physical team. The Titans won the championship game to get to the Super Bowl on the Jaguars’ field. That will happen here as well. The 49ers will continue their run to a title with a tough, physical victory.” 

— CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco is calling the upset this weekend in the NFC. To read his conference championship column, click here.

“The Rams under Sean McVay are winless against Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers. The 3.5-point spread for the 49ers makes me think Vegas wants us all on San Francisco. The Niners swept the regular season series. San Francisco is a bad matchup for the Rams because the L.A. defense is designed to snuff out superstars on the other side of the ball and punish questionable offensive lines.

“The 49ers have plenty of stars but no alpha the offense runs through. Deebo Samuel isn’t someone you can just put Jalen Ramsey on. Using Ramsey on George Kittle works pretty well with Ramsey playing more in the slot, but George Kittle is used in run blocking so much it’s not necessarily maximizing his skillset. 

“My heart’s rooting for Stafford and my brain is sending off a Spidey Sense signal the Rams might be ready to break through. Maybe they get us the Chiefs-Rams Super Bowl we’ve been waiting on for a few years now. My wallet wants a 49ers-Bengals matchup and I picked just that before the playoffs. I can’t possibly lay down now.”

— CBS Sports’ Will Brinson had a tough time deciding between his heart and his mind on the NFC side of things. To read his picks column, click here.

“When these two teams have met in their second game each of the past three seasons, the Niners have won them each by a field goal as time expired. It’s uncanny. It’s hard to beat a good team three times, and I just don’t see it happening this weekend.”

— CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones is taking the Rams to get the last laugh on the 49ers. To read his Sunday picks and the NFL insider notebook, click here.

“The Rams were swept by the 49ers in the regular season. There’s no way they go 0-3 against Jimmy Garoppolo, right? A team losing three times to one opponent in the same season hasn’t happened since 2017. Additionally, if L.A. loses on Sunday, it would be Sean McVay’s seventh-straight loss to Kyle Shanahan. The last time a head coach lost to an opposing head coach seven straight times was Marvin Lewis and his Bengals struggling against Mike Tomlin’s Steelers.

“San Francisco’s comeback against the Rams in Week 18 was incredible, but I don’t think that happens again. The 49ers’ postseason run has been impressive, but it certainly hans’t been perfect. They almost blew a lead to the Dallas Cowboys in the first round and needed a blocked punt touchdown to down the Green Bay Packers last weekend. Matthew Stafford hasn’t been in this situation before, but I think he’s ready for it. He threw for 366 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and orchestrated a game-winning drive. He’s not going to let this opportunity to play in the Super Bowl in his new home stadium slip through his fingers. His legacy is still being established.”

— CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani is taking the Rams to win and cover vs. the 49ers. To read his weekly column, click here.

Before you make any 49ers vs. Rams picks or any other NFL predictions, you need to see which side SportsLine NFL expert Micah Roberts is on. Roberts has worked in the Las Vegas sportsbook industry for 20-plus years, including a 13-year run as Station Casinos’ book director. He is 10-6 against the spread in his last 16 NFL picks, for a profit of $345. In addition, Roberts has gone an astounding 10-1 in his last 11 picks involving San Francisco.

We can tell you he’s leaning Under, but head on over to SportsLine to see his against the spread pick.

49ers at Rams total picks

“These two teams hit the Over/Under once apiece this year in their two meetings. If you recall how their matchup went earlier this month, the Rams jumped out to a 17-0 lead, and the 49ers had to score 14 unanswered in the third quarter to tie the game. I don’t think the Rams get off to that hot of a start this time around. The 49ers’ path to victory includes controlling tempo and establishing the run. Betting unders in Championship Weekend isn’t fun, but that’s where my lean is.”

— CBS Sports’ Jordan Dajani gives his thoughts on the total in the NFC Championship game. 

Before you make any 49ers vs. Rams picks, you need to check out the latest NFL predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model. The model, which simulates every NFL game 10,000 times, is up over $7,500 for $100 players on top-rated NFL picks since its inception six-plus years ago. The model enters championship weekend in the 2021 NFL playoffs on an incredible 137-97 run on top-rated NFL picks that dates back to the 2017 season. Amazingly, it hasn’t missed a top-rated pick since Week 14 of the regular season. To see what it has to say about the total this Sunday, click here.

Player props

Deebo Samuel receiving yards: Over 52.5 (-115). Samuel hasn’t crossed this number in the playoffs yet, and has caught just three passes in each postseason game. Still, he’s San Francisco’s most talented weapon, and the 49ers will have to ride him if they want to outscore Stafford. Samuel caught four passes for 95 yards in Week 18 vs. the Rams, and then five passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in their first meeting. He has averaged 87.8 receiving yards per game this season, and has that big-play ability where he can get to this number on just a few catches. 

Jimmy Garoppolo total interceptions: Over 0.5 (-140). Jimmy G has thrown an interception in each playoff game. Additionally, he threw two in both of the final regular-season games for a total of six interceptions thrown in his last four outings. Garoppolo’s last game where he didn’t throw an interception came Dec. 19 against the Atlanta Falcons, and he’s thrown at least one pick in 10 of 17 games played this year.

Matt Gay made extra points: Over 2.5 (+105). The 49ers haven’t had a team attempt or make three extra points against them in any game this postseason, which is a credit to their defense. But Gay has made at least three extra points in each of the last three games — including in Week 18 vs. the 49ers. He’s missed just one extra point all season.  

TD props

Cam Akers to score a touchdown: (-104). Akers made a miraculous return after suffering a torn Achilles in July. He hasn’t scored a touchdown in three games played, but McVay will get him one in this important home game. 

Kyle Juszczyk to score a touchdown: (+575). Juszczyk is one of the better players in the NFL even though he’s not a household name due to his position. Juszczyk has scored just two touchdowns all year, but has recorded two touches per game in each playoff contest. He caught two passes for 15 yards against the Cowboys and rushed two times for 14 yards against the Packers. This is obviously a flier, but when San Francisco gets in the red zone, look for him.