San Francisco 49ers (7-6 SU, 6-7 ATS) vs. Seattle Seahawks (9-4 SU, 7-6 ATS)
NFL Week 15
Date and Time: Sunday, December 14, 2014, 4:25 pm EST
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Wash.
TV: FOX, DirecTV 716
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SF +10/Sea. -10
Over/Under Total: 38.5
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The two teams that have been the class of the NFC West, if not the entire NFC the past few years, will strap it up and go head-to-head in another classic NFC West defensive slugfest on Sunday afternoon when the San Francisco 49ers travel to CenturyLink Field to take on the Seattle Seahawks and the 12th man on Fox.
After a short two-game lull in October and a minor slip-up at Kansas City in November, the Seahawks appear to be peaking and getting healthy right at the most crucial time of the season December. Seattle has won three in a row to climb within a game of the Arizona Cardinals in the race for the NFC West title, including a signature win on the road last weekend in Philly, 24-14.
The same cannot be said for the 49ers though. After seeming like the team to beat in early November, the 49ers have not only lost two in a row but have looked lost and horrible in doing so. Last week San Francisco hit rock bottom in an embarrassing loss to the one-win Oakland Raiders across the Bay, 24-13, in a game where the once All Pro-laden offense was only able to 247 yards of offense that included two interceptions from quarterback Collin Kaepernick. For almost a month now their 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh has been rumored to be going to just about every other head coaching job on the planet, so maybe all the rumors swirling around the team are starting to make a dent in the 49ers confidence this season.
Just how far have the 49ers fallen? Can you say 10-points? Yes, the once proud franchise and the one that has played deep into the NFC playoffs for the past five years finds themselves as 10-point underdogs on the road at CenturyLink this weekend. Oddsmakers opened the game with the Seahawks as 8.5-point favorites, but so many fans have jumped off the 49ers wagon that the number shot up super quick to the current number of minus -10 at most sportsbooks.
As youd expect with the NFLs No. 1-ranked and No.3-ranked defenses taking the field, the over/under total for this game opened at a ridiculously low number of 38. Through the middle of the week thus far, the total has only climbed the hook to 38.5 at a few sportsbooks.
Offensively these two teams are so similar its scary. Both have young option style quarterbacks that are equally comfortable pulling it out and running with it as they are with throwing it. The biggest difference between Kaepernick and Russell Wilson is their decision-making skills. Both QBs have the same number of touchdown throws this year (13), but Kaepernick has twice as many interceptions (10 to 5) and a lower completion percentage (60 to 63%) and much lower QB rating (85.1 to 95.2).
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Both offenses also like to feed the run with power running backs (Marshawn Lynch and Frank Gore) behind powerful offensive lines that are both a little short-handed (Seattles C Max Unger is questionable; SF G Mike Iupati is questionable). Seattle is much better at staying with the run (1st in NFL 170 ypg), while the 49ers often find themselves behind the chains (14th 114 ypg) and forced to abandon it in order to play catch up.
Of course all of this means little because both of these defenses often dictate the play calling on offense with dominating, run-stuffing defense. Despite playing a couple of rookies at LB for injured stars Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman, the 49ers are still top-10 in most of the important defensive categories. They have also strengthened an early-season weakness by getting Aldon Smith back for a better pass rush.
Of course Seattle has enjoyed the series versus the 49ers in recent years, winning four of the last five meetings which includes a, 23-17, win at home in last years playoffs. The Seahawks also won the first meeting earlier this season in San Francisco, 19-3, when the held the 49ers to just 164 yards of offense and forced three turnovers. The Seahawks have enjoyed even more success for bettors at the window, covering the point spread in six straight meetings including four of the last five meetings played in Seattle (5-1 ATS in last six played in Seattle).
If you want to live on the edge, put a wager down on the over because just about every betting trend under the sun on the total for both of these teams points solidly to the under. At 38, it may be hard to not to pull the trigger on a token over bet, hoping for a late back-door style cover when one of these teams slips or puts a token pick-six or fumble return up on the scoreboard.
Badgers Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I know theyre on the road, and I know they have looked horrible in recent weeks, but something tells me deep down that the 49ers are not this bad. Last weeks loss at Oakland was a clear look ahead loss, and I think the 49ers have been motivating themselves for revenge in Sundays game at CenturyLink since their loss in front of the nation at home on Thanksgiving. The 49ers may not win it, but they only have to stay with 10 points to allow me to cash, and I think they will. Im taking the 49ers plus the 10-points for this one.