We're just one week away from one of the year's biggest betting events: Super Bowl LVI. But first, the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers must select which club will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
We’re just one week away from one of the year’s biggest betting events: Super Bowl LVI. But first, the Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers must select which club will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.
The NFC Championship Game will take place on Sunday night at SoFi Stadium, with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET. Given how similarly matched these sides are, picking the winner of that game will be tough.
We worked with Kyle Madson of Niners Wire to choose a few prop bets and offer predictions regarding the result, the spread, and the over/under. All odds are provided by Tipico Sportsbook.
George Kittle (+170) may score a touchdown at any moment. The 49ers’ offence is faltering, and involving Kittle is the best way to fix it. San Francisco will undoubtedly depend heavily on its run game, but Kittle has yet to make a significant impact in the passing game in the playoffs. Jimmy Garoppolo has terrific chemistry with the tight end and should keep an eye out for him on any red zone visits.
Jimmy Garoppolo has a throwing yardage total of 223.5 (-114): While Garoppolo hasn’t been spectacular in two postseason games and has gone far under this figure twice, the quarterback has gone well above it in the last six regular-season games. He may not have a monster game, but he’ll have to throw the ball to stay up with a Rams offence that’s on a roll.
Kyle Juszczyk has more than 1.5 catches (+ 112): To be honest, betting on the fullback is simply a lot of fun, especially when the odds are in your favour. At least one play is intended for him, and all he needs is a checkdown against a strong Rams pass rush. Garoppolo hasn’t been particularly keen on running, so a dump-off or two to Juszczyk may be in order to get him over.
Cam Akers over 18.5 receiving yards (-111) is a Rams prop bet. Since returning from injury, Akers has been extensively engaged in the Rams’ offence, being targeted eight times in three games. He’s certainly a superior receiver than Sony Michel, so he’ll get more chances on third down.
Odell Beckham Jr. (+140) as a TD scorer at any time: Beckham has scored in six of the Rams’ ten games this season. He just played 15 snaps in his debut game against the 49ers. He didn’t score in Week 18, but he’s become one of Stafford’s favourite red zone targets.
Tyler Higbee has more than 3.5 receptions (-172): Higbee hasn’t had a standout game this season, failing to gain more than 69 yards or grab more than six receptions in any game. However, he has caught at least four passes in 11 games this season, including six catches against the 49ers in Week 18.
Niners Wire: These are perhaps the two strongest pass rushes in football, so both teams will aim to get the ground game going in order to prevent a back-breaking turnover. That’s not to suggest the teams will play frightened, but scores may be difficult to come by if the run games don’t thrive and the pass rushers can pin their ears back. In Week 18, they needed two late touchdowns to get above 45.5 points, and they fell under in Week 10. In a 23-17 or 24-20 game, I’m leaning under (-108).
The over/under for the Rams-Bengals game is 45.5 points, which is over 10 points lower than the over/under for the Chiefs-Bengals game. Both the Rams and the 49ers have strong defences, but with the line at 45.5, it’s difficult not to take the over. Both quarterbacks might throw a pick-six, but I believe both offences will move the ball regularly. I like the overhang (-112).
It’s no coincidence that the 49ers have defeated the Rams in six straight games. They’re a difficult matchup for LA, and this is almost a home game for the 49ers. Having said that, these teams are largely even in terms of how they’re performing right now, with the main difference being quarterback performance. At this point, Matthew Stafford is just outperforming Garoppolo. He doesn’t have to be great to win, and it’s difficult to trust Garoppolo to lead a high-scoring offence at this point. The difference between Stafford and Garoppolo will decide the result, so I’m going with the Rams (-180).
Rams Wire: Now is the moment for the Rams to snap their losing streak against the 49ers. They were humiliated in their first encounter this season, but the Rams should have won in Week 18. The Rams (-180) will win as long as they improve their tackling, don’t lose the ball over too many times, and Stafford doesn’t push throws into double or triple coverage.
Spread Niners Wire: Since hitting their groove a little more than halfway through the season, San Francisco has been able to turn every game into a rock war. Even if the Rams end up with more points than the 49ers, it doesn’t seem like a massive blowout is in the cards. This spread is particularly appealing because of the hook. I’ll take the 49ers +3.5 (-115).
Rams Wire: The Rams have only covered the spread once during their six-game losing run versus the 49ers, so taking them to cover on Sunday may seem dumb. But they’ve had comfortable leads in each of their previous three games and should’ve blasted away the 49ers, Cardinals, and Buccaneers if not for a surprisingly bad second half in each of those games. I believe the Rams will easily win this game. Give me the Rams at-3.5 (-105).