NFL Week 1 Monday Night Football: Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Rams @ San Francisco 49ers +3.0 (-130)
Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
September 12, 2016, 7:20PM PDT
In the back end of Monday Night Football's scheduled double header, the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams will head a few hundred miles north to Santa Clara to meet the San Francisco 49ers. If Thursday night's season opener, which featured a rematch of Superbowl 50 between the Panthers and Broncos, was the pinnacle of watchability for week 1 NFL action, this contest lies all the way at the other extreme of the spectrum -- at least, based on ESPN's Matchup Quality stat, which ranks this game deal last after considering the proficiency of the involved teams and the expected competitiveness of the contest.
Nonetheless, as we have remarked in the past, we are not in it (only) for the excitement. Our driving ambition is to make money. Accordingly, we wager on all games -- expected nail-biters or otherwise -- where our system delivers a high-conviction signal. And such is the case here, as all factors on our radar (from categories including power rankings, computer simulation, sentiment, betting trends and environmental) point to the home cover, with several inputs calling for the Niners to pull off the outright win.
Our power rankings composite grades this game as a virtual toss-up, but gives the Rams an ever so slight (i.e. less than a half point) edge. On the other hand, our sim work, in aggregate, calls for the 49ers to eke out a win in a tight game.
In recent years (since 2013), San Francisco is 4-2 versus the number against the Rams, but the ATS record is split evenly for the last half dozen head-to-head the Niners have hosted. However, we note that the Rams were a sub-par 2-5-1 ATS on the road last season, and were unable to cover in either of two contests from the position of road favorite. Alternately, the 49ers were a serviceable 5-3 as home dogs in 2015. And San Francisco is 5-0 straight up and against-the-spread in their last five season openers.
The 49ers, at present, are supported by only 29% of the point spread betting volume -- which, empirical examinations have found, also supports the home cover (see here for specific research citations).
Bottom line: Our power rankings and sim work, sentiment data, betting trends, and conditional indications all point to a Niners' cover. As such, take the home team plus the points in the last game of the NFL's week 1.