Can the Rams slam San Fran or has Stan got them in a jam?

Ahead of Thursday night's NFL fixture in San Francisco, we preview Rams at Niners...


We can’t offer you any emotional support if you’re a Rams or Niners fan, but we can try and ease your pain with a few quid.

There are plenty of excellent tie-ins for these two teams, aside from being NFC West divisional rivals. Thursday night will be a defensive slog, but it will also give you an insight into how General Managers build rosters through the draft and free agency. One for the purists, the Niners and the Rams should embody two teams looking to the future, while struggling with the present.

What people forgot about the NFL is that it’s cyclical.

Some franchises manage their time to shine better than others, and the very best prolong it. See: New England Patriots.

The San Francisco 49ers are a ball club in limbo at the minute. They’ve a shiny new stadium, and while it’s only an hour away from downtown San Fran, it’s a million miles away from the hostile cauldron that was Candlestick Park. Some seats aren’t even occupiable in hot weather due to overexposure to the sun. What a farcical situation.

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The Niners have a glorious past with standout players such as Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. The franchise has five Super Bowls, and partook in its last one only four years ago. Funnily, with Colin Kaepernick under centre – but we won’t get into that again.

They’ve had success, so they’re undergoing a dry spell, and that’s to be expected. Some big names in the draft has brought excitement back to the organisation, though.

This season will see just how much further they have to go in order to compete again.

The Rams – well – they’re in limbo. Joining a Los Angeles market and abandoning a small, but loyal fanbase in Missouri was ill-advised, but for financial reasons, they opted to return to the city that hosted their longest tenure. Having won a Super Bowl under the guise of St. Louis, it seems even more bizarre that they would choose to uproot a franchise so firmly engrained in the psyche of a city

Yet, here they are. They’re a bad team. They’re also rebuilding, and they’ve got their franchise quarterback. They’ve also got, for our money, the best player in football – Aaron Donald.

What they don’t have, is homefield advantage. Build a winning team in LA and they will come – apparently. These Rams are a long way away from a .500-plus season.

All that being told, you can make money from other people’s misery – so here’s some help.

Both these defences are top-tier. The Rams welcome back Aaron Donald for this one, while the Niners can boast three first round picks in their defensive front four. Both quarterbacks require schemes to be built around them – limiting offensive audibles – therefore, the Rams and the Niners will try run the ball – and they will fail.

This eliminates time and it eliminates any form of entertainment.

Lucky you. Back Under 41pts (20/23) to reward yourself for watching this absolute drivel.

Home advantage is key in divisional battles, yet the Niners go into this one as underdogs. Carlos Hyde’s career has been undone by injuries, but on his day – is every bit as effective as Todd Gurley. The Rams’ opening day hammering of Indianapolis has not had its form franked since – with the Colts blowing a late lead to a lethargic Cardinals offence. Armstead, Buckner and a shiny new Solomon Thomas will dominate up front and there’s value in the 49ers Double Result (23/10).

Given the low-scoring nature expected in this one, the Niners should pick up a win – but a narrow one. Back them to win between 1-5 points (9/2).

*All prices correct at time of posting

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