Atlanta Falcons (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (2-6 SU, 3-5 ATS)
NFL Week 9
Date/Time: Sunday, November 8, 2015, 4:05 pm EST
Where: Levis Stadium, Santa Clara, Calif.
TV: FOX, DirecTV 712
by Badger, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ATL -7/SF +7
Over/Under Total: 45
This weekends game between the Atlanta Falcons and the San Francisco 49ers should have been an NFC showdown between two contenders in the conference playoff race, but instead viewers will only tune in to watch the sideshow known as the 49ers as they continue their rapid fall from the top.
The 49ers fell to 2-6 following last weekends, 27-6, loss at St. Louis. With the leagues worst offense continuing to struggle, the 49ers made headlines on Tuesday when they announced that Colin Kaepernick was going to be benched in favor of backup Blaine Gabbert.
Surprisingly, when news of the QB change was released the betting line in Las Vegas saw a 3-point jump within minutes. When the original point spread for this game was released on Sunday, the Falcons were modest 3-point favorites on the road at Levis Stadium. It trended up on Monday to minus -4 as speculation surfaced of a possible QB change, then jumped all the way up to its current number of minus -7 now that Gabbert is the announced starter.
The over/under total opened at 45 and has only moved up the hook to 45.5 at some sportsbooks both offshore and in Sin City.
It will be interesting to see what happens the rest of the season out in San Francisco. Gabbert isnt the only new starter, as the 49ers defensive secondary has been racked with injuries and will likely be playing three new starters along the last line of defense. Its safe to say the 49ers have gone into full-blown rebuilding mode now that theyve benched Kaepernick, how the team responds watching others in the locker room get their pink slips could be the only source of motivation out in Santa Clara in the final eight weeks of the regular season.
Matt Ryan and Julio Jones should have a career day on Sunday, but even if they dont the balance of Ryan and Jones and doses of DeVanta Freeman should be plenty of offense for Atlanta against a 49ers defense that is ranked 28th against the pass (280 ypg) and allows 25.9 points per game (23rd). The Falcons defense may get exposed a little by Gabbert er, wait. With 23 career touchdown passes and 24 career interceptions, its hard to believe that two seasons on the bench in San Francisco has suddenly made Gabbert a reliable starter in the NFL.
With these two teams going in opposite directions its hard to put much merit in the recent history between these two franchises. San Francisco has actually beaten the Falcons in their last two meetings, including a, 28-24, victory in the 2013 NFC playoffs. Prior to the 49ers small two-game streak, Atlanta had won four straight against the 49ers dating back to 2004 to 2010. The road team is 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings, so that bodes well for backers of Atlanta as well.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Even if Gabbert surprises everyone and plays a good game as the 49ers starter, and thats a huge if, but even if he does play well hell still have to score a bunch of touchdowns to keep the Ryan-to-Jones hookup on the other sideline from running wild in the 49ers secondary. I just dont see how San Francisco can keep pace and keep scoring all game. Atlanta pulls away for an easy cover, Im taking Atlanta minus the points.