San Francisco 49ers vs. New York Jets Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread

San Francisco 49ers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) vs. New York Jets (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS)
NFL Week 4
Date/Time: Sunday, September 30th, 2012/1:00 p.m. EST
Where: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J.
TV: FOX Network/DirectTV 706
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: S.F. -4.5/NYJ +4.5
Over/Under Total: 39.5

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Arguably the best early game on the National Football League docket this
Sunday will feature two teams with deep playoff aspirations, when the 2-1
San Francisco 49ers travel to MetLife Stadium to take on
the 2-1 New York Jets in an NFC-AFC week 4 clash on Fox.

Both teams enter Sunday’s game fresh from some interesting drama in week three.

After two weeks of looking like the team to beat in the entire NFL, the 49ers laid a complete dud and had their butts handed to them in a surprising, 24-13, upset at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings. The Niners defense was pierced for 146 yards rushing and second-year QB Christian Ponder torched them in play action, while the offense struggled with three turnovers for the first time all season.

The Jets “earned” their second victory of the season with a, 23-20, win over the rival Miami Dolphins in overtime, but the word earned is in quotes for a reason because they really dodged a bullet. Miami kicker Dan Carpenter missed two potential game-winning field goals (one in regulation, one in OT), allowing the Jets to slip out of town with win on Jets kicker Nick Folk’s 33-yarder. Ironically, the Dolphins blocked Folk’s first attempt at the game-winner, only to find out that the Dolphins coaches on the sideline called a late timeout to try and ice him.

Despite the way both teams come into the game, the oddsmakers out in Las Vegas set the opening point spread with the 49ers as 3.5-point favorites on the road. The early steam has been on San Francisco to bounce back in a big way, because the number has already gone up to 49ers minus -4 or even -4.5 at most of the offshore sportsbooks on the Internet.

The over/under total opened at 40.5 and has also seen a bit of early line movement, dropping to 39.5 at most books as the public seems to think the 49ers-Jets matchup will be a defensive battle.

The total is dropping because offensively this game could be a little vanilla, since both team employ a “don’t make mistakes” type of approach that relies heavily on running the football.

The Jets exploded for 48 points in the opener, but since then they’ve come back down to earth. At times they’ve struggled to run the ball (99 ypg - 17th), and when they go against the 49ers defense this week they may struggle some more since the Niners are 8th in the league allowing only 91 yards a game.

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San Francisco uses the same approach, but they’ve been more successful at running the ball with Frank Gore and company to the tune of 141 yards per game (7th). The big difference is that the Jets have uncharacteristically struggled to stop the run on defense this season, giving up a large amount of yards in all three games (149 ypg - 28th) including 185 last week against the Dolphins.

What will be interesting to see how it develops is the Jets loss of star corner Darrelle Revis, who torn his ACL last week and is done for the year. Revis was the definition of a lock-down corner, and without him (Kyle Wilson is expected to replace him) the Jets may have troubles stacking the box to stop the 49ers run game without being vulnerable to the one-on-one on the outside. With Michael Crabtree. Mario Manningham and an old (and slower) Randy Moss on the outside, it’s debatable on whether or not the 49ers have to personnel to take advantage of the one-on-ones anyway.

The Jets and Niners last played each other back in 2008, a 24-14 victory for the 49ers at home in Candlestick. For those of you with short memories, yes, that was the year that Brett Favre was the Jets QB. Even with Favre calling the shots, the Jets still only mustered 192 yards of offense and failed to cover a 1-point spread as road favorites.

Going back to 1986 the 49ers have owned the series with the Jets, going 6-1 SU and 6-1 ATS combined. The numbers are just as bad for the Jets in their four home games, with the 49ers going 4-1 SU and a perfect 4-0 on the road in the Big Apple.

The rest of the betting trends are all over the map, with nothing giving you too much ammunition to make a call one way or the other including the over/under trends.

Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: The NYJ are a very similar team to the Minnesota Vikings. I could see them beating the NYJ, however, this underdog line of 4.5 covers 2 key numbers (common final score margins) which makes the J-E-T-S and interesting play. Take the Jets plus the 4.5 points.

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