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The San Francisco 49ers have already become something of a soap opera. Well, at least a MINI-soap opera. That’s because the guy they almost pushed out the door now has their playoff hopes in his hands. Jimmy Garoppolo has taken over things for the Niners, and he’ll be at them on Monday night. The opposition is supplied by the Los Angeles Rams, who are finding the ride a little bumpy as they defend their Super Bowl title.

BetOnline patrons can watch this game on NBC at 8:15 PM ET as it takes place at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara. And they can place wagers on the event as it is unfolding, by locating the “Live Betting” tab in the sportsbook interface.

Apparently it wasn’t enough that Garoppolo had quarterbacked the Niners to an appearance in the Super Bowl. Or that he took them to the NFC title game last season. San Francisco first drafted Trey Lance, who came from the FCS ranks (North Dakota State). Then they handed the job to Lance, who is, to put it mildly, untested.

Lance got hurt in the second game against Seattle, and the broken ankle has taken him out for the rest of the season. So it is a good thing that the team did not trade Garoppolo, who had shoulder surgery in the off-season but still drew some interest.

Rams vs. 49ers Here are the numbers…

In the Monday Night Football betting odds that have been posted on this game, the Niners are the favorites, but not by much:

Team SP/RL TOTAL ML
Rams +1½ (-110) 42 (-110) +105
49ers -1½ (-110) 42 (-110) -125
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And remember that with Prop Builder at BetOnline, you have a whole lot of angles you can wager on!

About the San Francisco 49ers

Garoppolo has thrown for 365 yards. He is a steady hand, but as a dropback passer, he presents a different look from the 49er offense than did Lance, who is a “dual threat.” And it’s a good deal if he has his weapons available. One of them, tight end George Kittle, is one of the very best in the business. He had to sit out the first two games, but then came back against Denver last week and had four catches for 28 yards.

When you see a Kyle Shanahan-coached team, you know the emphasis is on the run, if he can help it. And when some of the components of that attack are missing, it creates consternation. Mike McDaniel was the architect of that ground game, but he took the head job in Miami. Elijah Mitchell, the team’s top back, is out of action for the time being with an MCL injury.

But the Niners can compensate to an extent. First of all, Jeff Wilson is averaging over 4.5 yards per attempt. And then there is enough ingenuity to put Deebo Samuel in the backfield. A dangerous wideout, he is also a huge threat on wide runs. And he’s hard to cover out of the backfield. So far he has 17 rushes for 111 yards.

About the Los Angeles Rams

The Rams opened the season in an awful way, losing 31-10 to Buffalo. The offensive line, which had to bid adieu to Andrew Whitworth (who’s now part of the Amazon Prime NFL coverage) gave up seven sacks in that one. And Matthew Stafford threw three interceptions. He’s been picked off twice since then, and the rams had a close call against Atlanta as well as a rather drab 20-12 victory over Arizona.

Wide receiver Cooper Kupp keep producing. He has 28 receptions for 280 yards. It appears as if Van Jefferson, the deep threat, is not ready to re-enter the lineup (knee). That means others will be leaned upon more as a #2 option, including off-season acquisition Allen Robinson. Tyler Higbee, the tight end, has stepped up, and he’s got 171 yards through the air. Without Jefferson, however, this air attack is still missing something. And this ground game has not been imposing in the least, averaging just 3.4 yards per attempt.

So what’s the verdict?

The Niners got very close to advancing to the Super Bowl last season. Safety Jaquiski Tartt (since departed) had an interception fall into his hands, but dropped it. That’s how close. And if he hadn’t dropped it, that would have been the second Super Bowl in three seasons for Garoppolo. More significantly, for purposes of this conversation, is that it could have been the Niners’ seventh straight win against the Rams.

Yeah, that’s vexing for Sean McVay, an old friend of Shanahan’s from when they were on Kyle’s dad Mike’s staff in Washington. But there’s something to it. If the Rams hold fundamental advantages here, they’re not sizable. So we’re sticking with the home team.

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