Baltimore Ravens (13-6 SU, 9-9-1 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (13-4-1 SU, 11-7 ATS)
Super Bowl XLVII (SB 47)
Date/Time: Sunday, February 3rd, 2013, 6:30 p.m. EST
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Bal +4/SF -4
Over/Under Total: 48.5
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Two storied franchises already famous for winning a Super Bowl title will get another chance to make history in the NFL’s showcase game Sunday, February 3rd, when the Baltimore Ravens clash with the San Francisco 49ers in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans for Super Bowl 47.
Not only have both teams already won at least one World title, and in the 49ers case five of them, but this year’s Super Bowl will make history when one of these teams loses in a title game. Both the Ravens and San Francisco have never lost in a Super Bowl appearance, with the Ravens just one-for-one (2001) while the Niners are five-for-five (1982, ’85, ’89, ’90, ’95) including their, 55-10, drubbing of Denver in Super Bowl 24 (1990) the last time they played for a title in the Superdome.
For the third straight year a team that has come all the way from the wild card round will have another shot at winning a fourth playoff game in the Super Bowl, thanks to the Ravens upset of the New England Patriots in impressive fashion in Sunday’s AFC Championship game, 28-13. Ray Lewis and the Baltimore defense is once again playing at a championship level, shutting out Tom Brady and the Patriots in the second half in order to spring the Ravens into their franchise’s second appearance in the big game and their first since their, 34-7, win over the New York Giants in Super Bowl 35 in 2001.
San Francisco just kept plugging away at the Atlanta Falcons quick 17-point lead in Sunday’s NFC Championship game, and eventually their grind-it-out approach wore away at the Falcons and helped the 49ers score a, 28-24, victory for another NFC title and the franchise’s sixth trip to a Super Bowl. The 49ers defense also stepped it up in the second half of Sunday’s title-game win, shutting down the Falcons and Matt Ryan’s passing attack after halftime to take control of the game and preserve the Niners ticket to another big game.
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With Championship Sunday barely hours old, the oddsmakers opened up Super Bowl 47 betting odds with San Francisco as early 4-point favorites.
The over/under total opened at 48.5, but it has already started its move with almost two weeks before kickoff since many sports betting sites have already dropped the total to 48 with a few even lower to 47.5 to counter the early steam.
With nearly two weeks to scheme, it’s often hard to truly handicap the Super Bowl game because literally, no stone will go unturned in regards to offensive and defensive tactics for this game.
We know that the 49ers offense will go into the game as the likely favorite due to the dynamic nature of it’s new quarterback, Colin Kaepernick. As Kaepernick showed in the NFC title game, just his mere potential in the read-option running game (just two carries) makes defenses have to defend all 11 players on the 49er offense, a task that burned Green Bay out on the edge but Atlanta right up the gut with Frank Gore in consecutive weeks in the playoffs.
One could argue that the Ravens with their 3-4 defense, a strong run-stuffing presence in the middle with Haloti Ngata, Ma’ake Kemoeatu and Ray Lewis, and hard-tackling safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard, may be one of the best defenses well-equipped to stop the Niners running game.
The Baltimore offense is also peaking at the right time, and don’t look now but quarterback Joe Flacco now has six playoff game victories on the road and eight wins overall in his career as the Ravens signal caller. Flacco has been stellar in the playoffs (8 TD, 0 INT, combined 116 QB rating) and may finally start getting some of the respect he should be getting, has led the Ravens resurgence as they are averaging 30 points per game in the playoffs with new play-caller Jim Caldwell pushing all the right buttons.
But Flacco, Caldwell and the Ravens will need the whole 13 days to scheme on how to attack the San Francisco defense, which took a few early blows against both the Packers and Falcons in successive weeks, but has had the finishing power to close games out in the second half all season long (3rd in yards, 2nd in scoring).
One would also be remiss if they didn’t mention the connection on the sideline with the Harbaugh brothers, although already it’s been over-dubbed the “Super Baugh.” John is 50-years-old and coaching in his first Super Bowl after five straight playoff appearances and a near-miss last season in his fifth year as the Ravens head coach, while Jim (49 years-old) is only in his second year in San Francisco, and already has had the 49ers in the championship game in both seasons and their first Super Bowl game since 1995.
There’s only a handful of meaningful games between these two teams in recent history, although the Ravens did beat the 49ers in last year’s, 16-6, defensive struggle in M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. Of course that was with Alex Smith at QB, but Baltimore has also won three in a row against the 49ers and are 4-1 SU since the 1993 season.
The neutral setting of the Superdome could help to even things out on the field too, since in the past 20 years of the Ravens-49ers series the home team is a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS. With no true “home” team, maybe the betting trend plays out differently on the carpet in the Superdome.
The under is 4-1 in Baltimore’s last five playoff games, and when combined with San Francisco’s defense this season, its no wonder most of the early steam has been on the under. But the 49ers have been dynamic on offense with Kaepernick, and their increased scoring alone has made the over go 6-0 in the 49ers last six games overall.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting the San Francisco 49ers minus the points.
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