Detroit Lions (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-0 SU, 1-0 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 16th, 2012/8:20 p.m. EST
Where: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, Calif.
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Det. +6.5/S.F. -6.5
Over/Under Total: 46
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Two teams expected to be contenders in the NFC all season long will try
and knock each other from the ranks of the NFLs unbeaten when the Detroit
Lions travel West to take on the San Francisco 49ers
in Candlestick Park on NBCs Sunday Night Football in America.
The 49ers played one of the best games of any NFL team in their opener last Sunday, putting together a near perfect performance in their, 30-22, victory over the Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Alex Smith was strong (20-of-26, 211 yards, 2 TD) and protected the ball, the 49ers powerful offensive line cleared gapping holes all game long (195 yards rushing, 7.5 ypc) and the top-ranked defense frustrated Aaron Rodgers and held the Packers offense to just 16 points (six were scored on a punt return). Heck, even kicker David Akers tied an NFL record with a 63-yard field goal, so the 49ers were dripping with good luck in an impressive opener on the road.
Detroit on the other hand struggled a little against the St. Louis Rams in their opener, needing a 9-play, 80-yard drive capped off by a Matthew Stafford-to-Kevin Smith TD pass with 10 seconds remaining to pull off the, 27-23, victory. Stafford threw for 355 yards, but he also threw three interceptions including a pick-six that put them in chase mode early in the game.
With the opposite way both teams come into Sunday Nights game, its not hard to understand why the sportsbook oddsmakers set the opening point spread with San Francisco as 7-point favorites at home. In general, the betting public tends to linger and cling to last weeks results so the number had to be set rather high to get anyone to wager on the Lions. Well, it appears the early money has come in on Detroit, since the spread is down to the 49ers minus -6.5 at most sportsbooks with just a smattering of a few still holding out at -7.
The over/under total opened at 46 and has yet to budge a decimal since it was set late last Sunday.
Offensively its hard to imagine the 49ers playing a better game than they did last week. Smith was quick and efficient, Frank Gore and company pounded the ball between the tackles and just the presence of Randy Moss on the perimeter was enough to loosen up the defense. This week the 49ers will likely have a harder time establishing the run against the Lions tough front four, but after watching coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff do it now for over two seasons, Im convinced theyll find a way to attack the Lions on the ground.
Even if the 49ers cant run the ball, with all of the injury issues in the Lions secondary (C Chris Houston questionable, C Bill Bentley doubtful, S Louis Delmas out) I still expect them to be able to move the chains with Smith in the air.
Detroit and Stafford will have to protect the football better to have any chance on the road at Candlestick. Since the Lions offense is very similar to the Packers (50 passes a game, little to zero running game), the 49ers can almost take last weeks game plan to the copier and run off a few more sheets because the blueprint last week was perfect.
These two teams met last year in October in what turned into a really good game that the 49ers won, 25-19. In that game the 49ers ran for 203 yards, but two turnovers and having to settle for two field goals in their four red zone trips kept the game close till the end. San Fran also covered the 5.5-point spread last season, while the final score just missed going over the closing total of 45.
Historically the 49ers own the recent series with the Lions, winning eight in a row and 9 out of 10 straight up since 1994 (perfect 6-0 SU at home). They also have cashed a lot of tickets, going 6-2-2 ATS in the same span including a 3-1-2 ATS mark at home in Candlestick Park.
The under is also a strong betting trend play, going under in eight straight games including a perfect 6-0 mark in 49ers home games.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The Lions offense struggled to punch the ball into the endzone vs. a mediocre Rams D. They’re going to have a stiffer test this weekend in the Bay Area. This game offers very little betting value as the number is likely right on, but if forced to make a pick, I’d have to go with the Niners who are improved on offense and continue to put a stout defense on the field.
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