The trendy NFL picks for the Super Bowl take on the upstart that few are giving a chance to in another NFL playoff betting battle on Saturday, as the New Orleans Saints take on the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park.
Year To Date Record: 59-61 ATS
Upset Record: 18-35, -$930
Divisional NFL Matchup: New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers
Date: Saturday, January 14th, 4:30 ET
Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA
NFL Divisional Lines: New Orleans -3.5
Divisional NFL TV Schedule: CBS
Saints Notes: The Saints just continue to pour it on teams, as their offense has started to roll like it did two seasons ago when they won the Super Bowl. A 45-28 romp over the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card round of the playoffs marked the fourth straight game in which New Orleans has dropped at least 42 points on a foe, and the seventh time in 17 games that it has put at least 40 on the board. QB Drew Brees now has nearly 6,000 passing yards in his 17 games this season, and he has 49 TDs to show for it as well. On Saturday, five different receivers had at least 55 yards through the air, and it seemed like just another day at the office for this offense. Thanks to a great ground game as well, the ‘O’ dropped a whopping 626 total yards of offense, against just the 412 for the Lions. This is going to be a severely different test though, against a stout San Francisco defense, and it is also going to ask questions of a team that only went 5-3 SU and 4-4 ATS on the road this season. If there is good news though, is it that the Saints have covered nine games in a row, and three of those nine have come on the road.
49ers Notes: This is the game that Head Coach Jim Harbaugh was brought here to San Fran for. The 49ers haven’t been in the playoffs since 2002, and they are back and ready to make a case that they really did have one of the best teams in the league this year. Sure, the NFC West wasn’t the best division in football, but a 5-1 record against some franchises that seem to be heading in the right direction is impressive to say the least. Sure, the 49ers didn’t have any semblance of an offense at times this season; after all, they ranked No. 26 overall at just 310.9 yards per game and are going against an ‘O’ that, including the playoffs is averaging over 480 yards per game. However, the defense really kept San Fran in a number of games this year, and QB Alex Smith was able to get just enough done to figure out how to win these close games late on. The ‘D’ only allowed a maximum of 27 points this year, and that includes games against the high flying Lions (19 points), Philadelphia Eagles (23 points), Dallas Cowboys (27 points in OT), and New York Giants (20 points). Over the course of the last month and a half of the season, San Fran held the Arizona Cardinals to seven, the Baltimore Ravens to 16, shut out the St. Louis Rams, and held the Pittsburgh Steelers to just three.
The Final Word: We will be the first ones to admit that the 49ers didn’t play the most impressive schedule in the world this year. They only played against five playoff teams, and one of those was against the Steelers with an ailing QB Ben Roethlisberger. They haven’t proven that they are that great. That being said, we just don’t know if the Saints are going to be able to come on the road, across the country and win this game. We expect a shootout, but we also expect in the end, to see an upset for a team that went 7-1 SU and 7-0-1 ATS at home this season. Harbaugh gets the job done and puts the 49ers back on the map definitively this season.
Divisional NFL Pick: San Francisco (ml) +165
NFL Football Prediction: San Francisco 37 – New Orleans 31