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@FastMoneyLabs’ Best Monday Night Football Bet - 10/3

Value on the Spread?

Here’s an interesting one — when Vegas first released a “lookahead line” for this game back on May 13th, the Rams were 1-point favorites. Factoring in 3-points for home-field advantage (which in this case goes to San Francisco), a -1 spread implied the Rams were about 4-points better than the 49ers on a neutral field, at least in the eyes of oddsmakers.

Intuitively, that opening line made sense, since the 49ers were planning to proceed with a young, inexperienced QB in Trey Lance at that time; and youth doesn’t always fare well vs. fierce defenses like the Rams, especially early in season.

Fast forward to September 18th: unfortunately Trey Lance got hurt, Jimmy Garoppolo took over at QB, and oddsmakers pulled this game off the board. When it returned: the spread flipped from Rams -1 to +2.5; effectively a 3.5 point difference. 

Which raises a question… Is Jimmy G really worth 3.5 points to the spread? According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), the answer is no, but it’s close: they estimate Jimmy G is worth about 2.5 points to the spread (roughly 1 point less than the revised line implied). Market forces seem to agree with PFF, as the consensus line has since tightened, with the Rams settling in as +1.5 underdogs. Compared to the original opening line, it’s a 2.5-point difference, which matches Jimmy G’s expected point spread value.

Now that the dust has now settled, I think it’s fair to say that any value on the spread has been squeezed at the current number. In simpler terms: the current line offered by sportsbooks is likely a fair one, with little to no edge on either side.

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Best Bet

Given the point spread appears fairly priced, I prefer to target the Prop market for my Best Bet. I considered a few different angles. Here’s my best:

I noticed the Rams only ran 46 offensive plays last week. That’s their 2nd fewest in a game in the Sean McVay era (since 2017). Matt Stafford only attempted 25 passes (down -10.1 from his typical average since joining Rams) and as a result: he avoided throwing an interception for the first time in 7 games (excluding playoffs).

If the Rams run more plays tonight (which is very likely), then Stafford should attempt around 35+ passes; and when he attempts 35+ passes, he throws at least 1+ Interception 75% of the time.

Looking at his primetime splits also supports this pick, as betting Stafford to throw an INT is 5-2 in primetime (regular season) with LA and 3-0 vs. San Francisco (including playoffs). When he faced San Francisco in primetime last season, he threw 2 picks in an embarrassing, 31-10 defeat. The Rams were favored by 4 points that night, too.

This year’s 49ers rank #1 in pass coverage by PFF and #5 from a Football Outsiders DVOA perspective. And if they want to win tonight (which they obviously do…), then their most likely path to victory is through defense and forcing turnovers.

For all these reasons, I expect the Niners to dial up the pressure in an effort to force Stafford into at least 1+ interception. And if you agree, then I suggest betting him to do just that at the reasonable -118 price offered at several shops right now, including: Barstool Sportsbook, Bet Rivers, Unibet and SugarHouse. I personally wagered to win a unit and would bet this down to -130 but no lower.

The $FML Pick

The Pick: Matthew Stafford to throw an Interception (-118)

odds via Barstool Sportsbook, Bet Rivers, Unitbet or Sugarhouse

FML
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