LA Rams at San Francisco 49ers 9/12 NFL Preview
The Los Angeles Rams have some reason to go into the 2016 season with a lot of optimism. For one thing, they have a new home; that much is obvious. They also are going to, at one point the season, have a new starting quarterback who was the top overall choice in the draft. But right now, the Jared Goff era has not yet started. So they will do battle with the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night with Case Keenum in the position of “seat-warmer.” This game takes place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, and kicks off at 10:20 PM ET on ESPN. BetAnySports customers can watch the game and place wagers at the same time, using the dynamic odds that are generated by the state-of-the-art software in Live Betting Ultra.
The Rams just have not been able to break through in recent years, having gone a dozen in a row without making the playoffs. They suffered through a 7-9 season last year under coach Jeff Fisher, who may not be around very long in this atmosphere if he can’t get the team over the .500 mark. Management spent a slew of draft picks to trade up to the #1 spot and make a big splash upon their arrival in Tinseltown. Goff ran a wide-open passing attack at the University of California, but there are a lot of adjustments to be made as he moves to the pro level. So Keenum, who completed 61% of his passes last season and threw only one interception in 125 attempts, has the starting job for the time being.
He’s got some help in the backfield with a potentially dominant running back. Todd Gurley broke into the NFL with four straight 100-yard games and wound up winning the rookie of the year award with 1106 yards, averaging 4.8 per carry. But this team also finished last in the passing game in 2015, and that is an area that needs to improve, even with Keenum at the controls.
In the NFL odds posted on this opening game by the people at BetAnySports, the Rams are favored on the road:
There are a few bright spots with this passing game; for example, Kenny Britt averaged just a shade below 19 yards per reception, and Tavon Austin has been used nicely as a hybrid receiver-running back, averaging 8.3 yards per carry last year. He scored nine touchdowns as well. And Pharoh Cooper was drafted out of South Carolina, giving whoever winds up behind center a decent trio of wideouts.
The defense is anchored by Aaron Donald, was one of the coming superstars of the NFL. And as you could see on the HBO documentary series “Hard Knocks,” middle linebacker Alec Ogletree is being counted on to be the leader of the defense. But there are lingering problems in the secondary, although BetAnySports patrons have to wonder whether San Francisco has enough to really exploit that at this point in time.
The Niners are transitioning to the system installed by new coach Chip Kelly, who did well at first in Philadelphia but then flamed out. There was the Colin Kaepernick controversy, which we will not beat to death here. But Blaine Gabbert will get the start at quarterback, and he was serviceable at best for the Niners last year, throwing ten touchdown passes in 282 attempts. This offense is going to be largely reliant upon the running game, and Carlos Hyde is going to be the go-to guy in that backfield.
San Francisco permitted the opposition to complete 68% of its passes, and they really are still building the defense, preferably around linebacker Novorro Bowman, who had a great comeback season in 2015. They were much better on defense at home than on the road, and a big part of that is the playing surface at Levi’s Stadium, which has been shaky right from the start.
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