Oddsmakers can sometimes leave you running circles around your own head when it comes to picking a side in marquee games like Thursday nights. Experienced bettors know however that Numbers Never Lie isn’t just a short lived show on ESPN. There’s some real money to be made on the NFL Thursday Night total pick and week three is the perfect time to start putting that data into use.
Tonight the L.A Rams (1-1, 1-1 ATS) take on the San Francisco 49ers (0-2, 1-1 ATS) in a game that seems like an obvious trap on the spread with the 49ers getting just the standard +3 for being the home team. Sure the Rams struggled last week in a 20-27 loss at home to the Redskins but how soon people forget their week one 46-9 throttling of an, albeit horrendous, Colts team. The 49ers haven’t shown a pulse – or the ability to score double digits – in a 3-23 loss to Carolina and a 9-12 loss to Seattle to start the year.
But the NFL Thursday night total pick, isn’t about the side – it’s about hitting the number.
Someone looked at the schedule before the season and picked Rams vs 49ers as a Thursday Night game
— Brian. (@JuiceWayne614) September 21, 2017
NFL Thursday Night Total Pick – The Case For the Under
Just looking at San Francisco’s first two games alone would make tonight’s “under” pick seem like the easy thing to do. First off, the 49ers can’t score compiling just 12 points in their first two games. Not only that, their defense has been respectable out of the gate, limiting potentially potent offenses in Carolina and Seattle to 23 and 12 points respectively. San Fran is actually top 10 in defense at 299.5 YPG.
The Rams under on the other hand is a different story. The Rams are 2-0 O/U after single-handedly beating 41.5 in a 46-9 win over the Colts in week one and going over 46.5 by the (red)skin of their teeth in a 20-27 loss to Washington in week two. When the 0-2 O/U of San Francisco meets the 2/0 O/U of the Rams meet in the NFL Thursday night total pick, something has to give.
— Plus_Sports (@Plus_Sport_) September 21, 2017
NFL Thursday Night Total Play Over/Under 40
Oddsmakers know the public wants the under play, which is why they placed it at a very low 40. The only game listed by Vegas at ‘under’ 40 last week was the Browns/Ravens at 39.5 and they indeed did go under in a 24-10 Baltimore win. The NFL has looked like a freshman year in high school dating scene this year though – there’s been a scoring epidemic.
7 of the 14 games last Sunday failed to score 40 points total. In week one it was even worse with 8 of 13 games tallying in at 40 points or under. Every bettor knows that the NFL Thursday night total pick is a different animal though. So far we’ve seen a 42-27 KC win over New England and a 13-9 Texans win over the Bengals – not exactly a great benchmark on which to put our pick.
NFL Thursday Night Total Play – Where to Put Your Money
Both teams are under new regimes in 2017 as the Rams welcome in 30-year-old Sean McVay as coach while first half Super Bowl winner Kyle Shanahan takes over the reigns in San Francisco. Last year however the teams battled to a 28-0 49ers win in San Francisco on opening day and a 22-21 sweep by the 9ers in St. Louis later in the year.
In the current season however both teams have shown some real good defensive prowess. San Francisco is allowing 299.5 YPG but the Rams are right there at 305.0 yards given up. San Fran has the 7th best pass defense in the league (176 YPG) but is 9th worst against the run (123.5 YPG). The Rams are actually worse against the ground game (152) but are also stout against the pass (153 YPG)
So, which team scores – and is it enough to hit the Over? The Rams are 3rd best in the NFL at 33 PPG but San Francisco is second to last at 6 points per game. The Rams are 7th in passing at 272.5 but have only gained 80 yards per game on the ground – even with Todd Gurley. The 49ers have run for 105 a game in their rushing attack but can’t throw the ball at all with Brian Hoyer at 127.5 YPG.
As it turns out, the NFL Thursday night total pick might actually be harder to pick than the game. Tonight’s total has the potential to get ugly as the 49ers may be clamoring for rookie CJ Beathard on their home turf. All the numbers are pointing towards the under and that’s the only reasonable play to make tonight.
NFL Thursday Night Total Pick: “Under” 40