49ers-Rams simulation: Computer likes home team Thursday night - NBC Sports

49ers-Rams simulation: Computer likes home team Thursday night
Betting trends favor underdog St. Louis, even though spread favors San Francisco
September 25, 2013, 3:00 pm

The OddsShark.com NFL picks computer is perfect on Thursdays so far in 2013, but it has made an unusual pick in Week 4’s clash between the San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams.

After a pair of lame offensive performances by the Niners, the machine predicted a 12-9 win for the Rams. It seems bizarre, but the computer picked the 49ers to lose, 21-10, at home to the Colts last week and it was almost perfect (27-7, Colts).

And when bettors investigate some other recent trends, the point spread (+3 on the Rams) makes more sense.

More from OddShark.com: Play the Patriots as a road underdog

“St. Louis has done well against the 49ers and they are 6-1-1 ATS in their past eight games as a home underdog,” explained Jack Randall of OddsShark.com. “But there is a trend involving divisional play that helps cement this pick in the view of some handicappers.”

The trends show the Rams performing well within the division (7-1 ATS past eight games) and the 49ers struggling badly against NFC West foes (1-9 ATS past 10).

The 49ers head to the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Thursday after dominating defensive efforts. Problem is, those efforts came at San Francisco's expense, by the Seattle Seahawks and the Colts.

Now the 49ers (1-2) have to regroup within the unfriendly confines of a compressed schedule on a short week, for the Thursday night affair against St. Louis. San Francisco is laying -3 to the Rams, who enter off a 31-7 loss at Dallas.

And, don’t forget, the Rams (1-2) were undefeated against the Niners last season, tying them in the first matchup, 24-24, at St. Louis, and beating them in Frisco, 16-13.

The winner of this season's first meeting will move into second place behind Seattle, while the loser runs the risk of being alone in last place at 1-3. The Arizona Cardinals, also 1-2, have a good chance at winning Sunday in Tampa Bay against the struggling Buccaneers.

Though the Rams were dominated by the Cowboys last week, they were competitive in their first two games, overcoming an 11-point deficit to beat Arizona in the opener, then shaving a 21-point deficit to one touchdown in a loss at Atlanta in Week 2.

Meanwhile, for the second week in a row, there were few bright spots to report from the 49ers' loss to Indianapolis. Quarterback Colin Kaepernick suffered his first home loss at Candlestick Park as a starter, as San Francisco struggled to establish a passing game with tight end Vernon Davis sidelined by a hamstring injury.

Running back Frank Gore ran for 82 yards, which was better than the 60 he collected in his first two games combined.

On top of that, off-the-field distractions have marred the once-feared defense that has been pushed around the last two weeks, with star linebacker Aldon Smith ruled out indefinitely so he establishes a healthier lifestyle.

Smith was placed on the reserve non-football injury list Monday as he enters rehab for substance abuse.

(Check out computer picks on every Week 4 game).