San Francisco 49ers vs. Los Angeles Rams: NFC Conference Championship Preview
Divisional rivals San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Rams will battle for a place in the Super Bowl when they meet at SoFi Stadium on Sunday. Can the 49ers extend their lengthy winning streak against the Rams?
Date: Sunday, January 30, at 6.30pm EST
Location: SoFi Stadium
Weather: Warm, sunny, with 6mph wind
San Francisco Dominates Head-to-Heads
The 49ers will bid to secure a seventh consecutive victory over the Rams when they head to Los Angeles on Sunday. It finished 31-10 to the Niners when the teams clashed at thew Levi’s Stadium in Week 10.
They renewed hostilities at the SoFi Stadium on the final weekend of the regular season. The Rams had already clinched an ultra-competitive NFC West, but they had the opportunity to prevent the Niners from reach the playoffs. It was a must-win game for San Francisco in its bid to clinch a wild card spot.
The Rams opened up a 17-0 lead at one point, but the 49ers battled back to level things up in the fourth quarter. Rams QB Matthew Stafford found Cooper Kupp in the end zone late in the fourth quarter to five Los Angeles a 24-17 lead, but Jimmy Garoppolo led the Niners on a five-play, 88-yard drive to force overtime via a last-gasp touchdown.
A Robbie Gould field goal handed San Francisco a sixth straight win against the Rams. That could give the 49ers a psychological advantage heading into this game, as they are in the Rams’ heads.
Rams Charge Into the Championship Game
The Rams faced another divisional rival, the Arizona Cardinals, in the wild card round, and they eased to a 34-11 win. Stafford, who has flourished in Sean McVay’s offense, threw 13-for-17 for 202 yards and two touchdowns, but it was a running game led by Sony Michel and Cam Akers that proved decisive.
The Rams were underdogs as they went on the road to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, but they pulled off a sensational 30-27 win. Stafford was excellent, throwing 28-for-38 for two TDs and zero interceptions, while Kupp racked up 183 receiving yards in a virtuoso performance.
The Rams were 20-3 up at half-time, but Tom Brady led the Bucs to a stirring second-half comeback. It was tense, but the Rams ultimately held on for a narrow win. They must now find a way to break the 49ers’ hoodoo over them, and McVay needs to adjust his approach in a bid to finally get the better of his good friend Kyle Shanahan, the 49ers’ head coach.
The 49ers have also reveled in their status as underdogs throughout the playoffs. They went on the road and pulled off an upset against the Dallas Cowboys in the wild card round, with Eli Mitchell and Deebo Samuel leading the charge.
Their reward was a divisional round clash against the outright Super Bowl favorite, Green Bay, led by reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers. The 49ers’ rowdy defense gave him a torrid night at Lambeau Field, sacking him five times and preventing him from notching a single touchdown.
It was a defensive masterclass from San Francisco, but Shanahan must now find a way to thwart McVay’s dynamic, inventive offense in what promises to be a thrilling game.
San Francisco 49ers fans took over the SoFi Stadium for the final game of the regular season after snapping up tickets on the secondary market. They roared their team to that dramatic overtime victory, and Rams players fear a similar situation could unfold on Sunday.
Vivid Seats predicts that 65% of the fans inside the Rams’ home stadium will be 49ers supporters. They are buying up tickets for inflated prices, essentially depriving the Rams of home advantage. That is worth factoring in when making any handicapping decisions on this game.
San Francisco LT Trent Williams was pictured on crutches towards the end of the game against the Packers. However, subsequent X-rats on his injured ankle did not reveal a fracture, so he could recover in time for this game. Samuel took a helmet to the knee, but he should be fine. RB Jeff Wilson limped off with an ankle injury, and he is rated as doubtful, but CB Ambry Thomas could be back.
The Rams should welcome safety Taylor Rapp back after he recovered from a concussion suffered against the 49ers in Week 18. All-Pro offensive linesman is also on course to return after missing the win against the Bucs with a knee injury, while Ernest Jones could also be back in contention.
The Rams and the 49ers are both 4-1 ATS in their last five games.
The 49ers are 6-0 straight-up and 5-1 ATS against the Rams in their last five meetings.
The 49ers are now 6-2 ATS in their last eight games and they are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games as away underdogs.
Over has paid off in just one of the 49ers’ last five games.
49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo is 15-4 ATS and 14-5 straight-up as an underdog in his career. That is the best mark for a QB in NFL history.
The Rams opened as a 5.5-point favorite to win this game. However, around two-thirds of the bets have been placed on the 49ers to cover, causing the line to shift. San Francisco is now just a 3.5-point underdog, with FanDuel, DraftKings, BetMGM and Caesars all offering -110 on over and -110 on under.
More than 80% of the moneyline bets have gone on the 49ers. They are now best priced at +160 with FanDuel and a few others, while DraftKings has -180 on the Rams. The total points line is set at 46.5. FOX Bet has -105 on over and FanDuel has -105 on under.
Under 46.5 points looks like the best option on this game. Six of the 49ers’ last seven games have gone under the total, and they are coming off a defensive masterclass against Rodgers. McVay will certainly test the weak links in their secondary, but the Rams have always struggled against San Francisco.
Yet the Rams’ defense has been on fire in the postseason. It had a late wobble against the Bucs last weekend, but in seven of eight quarters it has been dominant. The total has gone under in five of the Rams’ last six games at SoFi.