49ers vs Rams Week 18 Picks and Predictions: L.A. Snaps Skid and Takes Division Crown

The 49ers have haunted the Rams recently, winning five straight over their division rival, but L.A. holds its playoff seeding — and potentially SF's playoff chances — in its hands in Week 18. Count on the Rams to deliver at home, as our picks break down.

Rohit Ponnaiya - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Rohit Ponnaiya • Betting Analyst
Jan 9, 2022 • 15:09 ET • 5 min read
Aaron Donald Los Angeles Rams NFL
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

In one of the most pivotal games on the NFL betting board in Week 18, the Los Angeles Rams face off against the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium. A Rams loss could result in them falling all the way to the fifth seed in the NFC while the 49ers could be eliminated if they fail to come away with a victory.

With so much at stake in the final week of the regular season here are our best free 49ers vs. Rams NFL picks and predictions for Sunday, January 9, with kickoff at 4:25 p.m. ET. 

49ers vs Rams odds

Odds via the Covers Line, an average comprised of odds from multiple sportsbooks.

The Rams opened as 5.5-point home favorites for this contest with the Over/Under at 44.5. Early money has come in on the Niners moving the line to Rams -4.5 while the total has stayed at 44.5.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right up until kickoff and be sure to check out the full NFL odds before placing your bets.

49ers vs Rams predictions

Predictions made on 1/06/2022 at 2:40 p.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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49ers vs Rams game info

Location: SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, CA
Date: Sunday, January 9, 2022
Time: 4:25 p.m. ET

49ers at Rams betting preview


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Key injuries

49ers: Azeez Al-Shaair LB (Out), Marcell Harris LB (Out), Maurice Hurst DT (Out), Trent Williams T (Out), K'Waun Williams (Out), Raheem Mostert RB (Out), Mike McGlinchey T (Out), Javon Kinlaw DT (Out), Jarrod Wilson DB (Out).
Rams: Ernest Jones LB (Out), Darrell Henderson Jr RB (Out). Sheldon Joseph-Day DL (Out), Robert Woods WR (Out), Robert Rochell CB (Out), Bryce Perkins QB (Out), Chris Garrett OLB (Out), Terrell Lewis OLB (Out), Alaric Jackson OL (Out), Tremayne Anchrum Jr. OL (Out), Brycen Hopkins TE (Out).

Find our latest NFL injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Under is 17-4 in Rams' last 21 games as a home favorite. Find more NFL betting trends for 49ers vs. Rams.

49ers vs Rams picks and predictions

Our predictions are compiled from the analysis of the spread and total and are indications of where we are leaning for this game.
Our best bet is the play that we like the most for this game, which we would actually put some of our bankroll behind.

The Rams have won five games in a row and have gone 4-1 ATS over that span. With a win, they would claim the second seed in the NFC but a defeat, along with an Arizona victory, would cause them to lose the divisional title and be forced to play on the road in the wild card round. 

The 49ers have also played very well lately, going 6-2 SU and ATS in their last eight games, including a 31-10 beatdown of the Rams in Week 10. In what seems like an annual occurrence, the 49ers have been absolutely wrecked by injuries but two areas, in particular, stand out for Sunday: quarterback and the secondary. 

Starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo is listed as questionable with a torn ligament in his right (throwing hand) thumb. While he practiced on Wednesday, he admitted to reporters that "it f*****g hurts" in a display of honesty we hadn't seen in an NFL interview since... earlier that day when Aaron Rodgers called Hub Arkush a bum. If he does play, it's tough to see that injury not affecting his arm strength and accuracy and if he doesn't, rookie Trey Lance will make his third start. 

San Francisco traded up to take Lance with the third pick in the draft and while he looked good in the second half of last week's victory against the Texans, it is the Texans we're talking about here. Lance did not look sharp in his previous start, against the Cardinals in October, and things won't be as easy with Aaron Donald and Von Miller chasing him.   

As for the 49ers' secondary, it could be missing as many as five key players due to COVID-19. That will be tough to deal with even if they get back cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, who has missed the last month with an ankle injury.

The Rams love to air it out and wide receiver Cooper Kupp is within striking distance of the NFL record for catches and receiving yards in a season. While Rams QB Matthew Stafford has turned the ball over way too much lately, he has still thrown for the second-most yards and touchdowns in the NFL and will be facing a San Fran defense that has the second-fewest interceptions in the league. 

The 49ers have owned this rivalry in recent meetings but expect the Rams to win and cover on Sunday.

Prediction: Rams -4.5 (-110)

The Niners have played very well on defense over the last two months and since Week 10, they are ninth in NFL in EPA/play allowed while ranking fifth in success rate.

The Rams also have a very strong defense, led by Donald and shutdown cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Los Angeles ranks fifth in the league in DVOA defense and in its last five games has allowed just 16.4 points per game. 

The Under has cashed in four straight games for San Francisco and has also hit in three straight meetings between these divisional foes. With the Rams going a sizzling 16-5 to the Under in their last 21 games at home, expect another lower-scoring battle between a pair of rivals that both have something to play for. 

Prediction: Under 44.5 (-110)

If Aaron Donald didn't know who 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel was last year, he definitely does this season after Samuel broke out with 1,310 receiving yards and 320 rushing yards in 15 games. 

Those receiving numbers are all the more impressive when you consider that Samuel logged just three catches from Weeks 11 through 14. There was a good reason for what seemed like a slump. Samuel rushed for 79 yards and a score against the Jags in  Week 11 before the Niners abandoned the passing game after taking a huge early lead. In Week 12 he left the game against the Vikings due to a groin injury, missed the following week, and came back in Week 14 but was nowhere near 100 percent.

However, he has looked like his usual explosive self in the last three weeks, picking up 63 and 60 yards in blowout wins against Atlanta and Houston while racking up 159 receiving yards in a close loss to the Titans.

The Rams have a fantastic corner in Ramsey but 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan does a great job of moving Samuel around to prevent defenses from keying on him. That worked to great effect earlier this season when Samuel had five catches for 97 yards and a pair of scores versus L.A. With Deebo's receiving yards number set a relatively low number, hit the Over. 

Pick: Deebo Samuel Over 54.5 receiving yards (-110)

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