Sunday Night Football Preview

Rams at 49ers

Each week, TheLines will provide a betting breakdown and analysis for the upcoming Sunday Night Football game. We’ll look at SNF betting odds and see why they’re moving a certain way, along with breaking down the matchup.

The Los Angeles Rams (4-1) and San Francisco 49ers (2-3) will each make their second Sunday Night Football appearance of this season when the two NFC West rivals meet in Week 6 for the first of two 2020 contests. The Rams are trying to stay close to the Seattle Seahawks (5-0) in the race for the division crown; the Niners look to get back to .500 following an ugly 43-17 home loss to the Miami Dolphins in Week 5. LA has won two straight games while San Francisco has dropped back-to-back contests. Kickoff at Levi’s Stadium will be at 8:20 p.m. ET.

Sportsbooks opened the Week 6 betting lines with the 49ers as 3-point home favorites. Those lines flipped following San Francisco’s Week 5 loss and Los Angeles’ 30-10 road win over the Washington Football Team. The Rams look for their first win over their division rivals since 2018.

The Rams topped the Dallas Cowboys 20-17 on Sunday Night Football in Week 1. The Philadelphia Eagles upset the Niners 25-20 in Week 4. LA will return to primetime next week with a Monday Night Football spot at home against the Chicago Bears. San Francisco’s next standalone game will be on Thursday Night Football in Week 9 as they’ll host the Green Bay Packers.

SNF betting odds and analysis


The Rams are one of five road favorites with the 49ers the third-biggest home underdogs of the week by the moneyline odds. The spread ranges from 2.5 to 3.5 points at the top US sportsbooks. At one point on Monday at DraftKings Sportsbook, the Niners were 3.5-point underdogs. By Thursday it had been bet down to 3 points, and on Sunday afternoon it was 2.5.

It’s the third straight week and third time this year the Rams have been favored. It’s the first time for the Niners as underdogs.

This is one of three Week 6 games to see the betting lines flip since first release. Eighty-six percent of the point spread bets and 81% of moneyline bets had come in on the Rams by Tuesday afternoon at DraftKings Sportsbook. Los Angeles had received 91% and 93% of the handle on the spread and moneyline, respectively. No team had drawn a higher share of the moneyline handle.

The Over/Under ranges from 50.5-51.5 points. Just six games carry a lower projected total in Week 6. It’s the highest projection of the season for San Francisco and the highest since Week 1 for Los Angeles. Seventy-three percent of total bets and 80% of the handle for the total had been placed on the Over by Tuesday afternoon.

  • The Rams slip from 4-1 straight up to 3-2 against the spread through five games. They failed to cover as 1.5-point road dogs in a 35-32 loss against the Buffalo Bills and as 13.5-point home favorites in a 17-9 win over the New York Giants. The Rams win by an average of 9.2 points per game and cover the spread by an extra 5.6 PPG.
  • San Francisco is just 2-3 ATS to match its outright record. It wins by an average of 2.0 PPG but fails to cover by 4.8 PPG. It covered the spread in both of its 2020 victories and failed to cover as favorites in three outright losses.
  • The Niners are 3-2 against the Over/Under while topping the point projections by 1.6 PPG. The Rams are just 2-3 against the O/U and fall an average of 2.7 PPG shy of projections.
  • Los Angeles won both head-to-head meetings in 2018 with San Francisco sweeping the 2019 season series. LA is 3-1 ATS in that time and the O/U is split 2-2.

Rams at 49ers game matchup


Injuries continue to loom large for the reigning NFC champion 49ers. They come into Week 6 with 13 players on the Reserve/Injured list to just three players for the Rams. On the active rosters, the Rams are expected to be at full health this week. Jimmy Garoppolo (ankle) is set to start for the Niners.

Garoppolo returned from a two-week absence last week and completed just seven of 17 passes for 77 yards and no touchdowns against two interceptions. He was benched for C.J. Beathard, only partially due to his lingering ankle injury. Jimmy G had completed 67.35% of his passes for 390 yards and four touchdowns against zero picks while going 1-1 in the first two games of the season before leaving in Week 2 due to injury.

Rams QB Jared Goff is having a career season in many respects. He’s completing 71.7% of his passes with 1,372 yards and eight touchdowns against three picks. He’s leading the NFL with 9.0 yards per attempt and has a career-best 108.8 quarterback rating and 75.6 QBR.

The Rams rank fourth by Football Outsiders’ offensive DVOA; the Niners are just 24th. LA’s rushing offense ranks No. 1 to San Francisco’s sixth-ranked ground attack. The Rams have a significant offensive line advantage while ranking eighth by ESPN’s team pass block win rate at 64%; the 49ers are 21st at 55%.

Los Angeles shares the NFL lead with 20 sacks through five games (the Pittsburgh Steelers have 20 through four games). San Francisco has just 10 sacks for and has given up 18 to LA’s seven sacks allowed. The Rams have the NFL’s only neutral turnover differential to the Niners’ minus-2.

The 49ers have had the easiest strength of schedule, according to Team Rankings. The Rams have had the fourth-easiest schedule. LA is 2-0 against the teams’ shared opponents of the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. San Francisco beat the Giants but lost to the Eagles.

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How to watch Sunday Night Football

NBC will air all Sunday Night Football games.

The Week 17 TV spot on Jan. 3, 2021 will remain open until much later in the season, as potential playoff battles will factor into the league’s flexible scheduling decisions.

The games can also be streamed all season on NBC’s website and the NBCSports mobile apps. NBC is also included in most packages on streaming services such as fuboTV, Hulu, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV.

SNF drew an average of 20.5 million viewers in 2019. It was Sunday Night Football’s best ratings in four years.

SNF’s Week 1 TV ratings in 2020 were not great, however, as there was a 15% drop in viewership from the previous year. The game in 2020 featured Cowboys vs. Rams, while the 2019 opener was the Patriots vs. Steelers.

SNF betting tips

How to bet Sunday Night Football like a sharp

Casual bettors can get swept up by the hype and hoopla circulating Sunday Night Football. Analysts, reporters and local news crews have a full week to pump out every different angle to the game and dig for stories. Players can add to the mirage on social media whether by talking up their own team or taking too many shots at the opposition.

Learn to separate the hype from fact and don’t fall victim to live-betting out of boredom if the game ends up being a dud. Look at the lines early in the week to assess the odds before the public money starts pouring in and either bet on the numbers set by the books or sit and wait to see if the line shifts in your favor. Reassess later in the week and bet against the public if the line shifts too heavily based on nothing more than favoritism.

The standalone nature of the game also draws in more bets as the entire nation is focused on one single game, which, more often than not, is no bigger than the dozen or so games which preceded it that week. If you want to be a winning bettor, never bet just to add to the excitement (or create excitement around a lackluster matchup). Wait to see if the favorite falls behind early and then is given a high number as a sudden in-game underdog. Carefully browse through lines on prop bets, looking at different sportsbooks and pick the best value. Shop around and pick on a book that seems out of touch with the others. Don’t scoff at an easier play on the point spread in search of a big payday with a heavy underdog winning outright.

Home teams are often overvalued in primetime games. Do the research, keep up to date with injury news and look at the matchup in a vacuum and see if the odds check out. Be careful not to look too much at individual players returning to their hometown, being reported as having “extra motivation” or who may be close to statistical milestones. Few wide receivers, for example, can seriously impact a game on their own, especially when facing a top corner who’s fully aware of their motivation in the one-on-one matchup.

Look for teams and especially head coaches who thrive under the spotlight and more importantly the additional preparation time. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots are given more primetime slots than the average team. This experience can give them an edge in certain matchups against teams who may be overwhelmed from all the added media attention and interview requests.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does Sunday Night Football start?

Sunday Night Football kicks off every week from Sept. 13 through Jan. 3 at 8:20 p.m. Eastern. The ‘Football Night in America’ pregame show begins at 7 p.m. Eastern. NBC first started airing SNF for the 2006 season, taking over from ESPN.

How to stream Sunday Night Football?

Never miss a SNF game when you’re on the go with the NBCSports mobile apps. Cord-cutters can also use streaming services such as Hulu which includes NBC in most of its packages.

Who are the SNF announcers?

The SNF broadcasts are brought to us each week by booth announcers Al Michaels (play-by-play) and Cris Collinsworth (color commentary), field reporter Michele Tayofa and rules expert Terry McAulay. Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio make up the pregame show.

Who was the original Sunday Night Football broadcast crew?

Cris Collinsworth replaced legendary former head coach John Madden as the color commentator beside Michaels in 2009.

Who sings the Sunday Night Football theme song?

Country music star Carrie Underwood has been singing the SNF theme since 2013, replacing fellow country star Faith Hill, who replaced pop star Pink after just one season in 2007. The current song is titled “Game On,” replacing “Oh, Sunday Night” which updated “Waiting All Day For Sunday Night” in 2016.