Battle of Harbaugh Brother's 49ers vs. Ravens NFL Picks

David Lawrence

Tuesday, August 5, 2014 2:07 PM GMT

Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014 2:07 PM GMT

The 49ers have made the last three NFC Championship and on Thursday they will battle the Baltimore Ravens. Here is our recommended betting strategy for their preseason game.

Is There A Coaching Edge?
Both coaches are members of the Harbaugh family, so they know each other very, very well. Over the course of many seasons, Jim (49ers) has been the better coach. However, John (Ravens) has been solid, and he’s the one with a Super Bowl trophy. You’d probably rather have Jim as the coach on the sideline of your favorite team, but you can’t go wrong with John. In terms of preseason records as NFL head coaches, John Harbaugh has a 15-9 record, while Jim is 8-4. Both records are strong, so it’s not as though this is a clear point of separation between the two men on that front. John has coached for more years in the NFL, so his quality record might be worth a little more than John’s quality record, but that’s hair-splitting at this point. Expect both of these hyper-competitive coaches from the same family to pursue victory with equal amounts of enthusiasm. The Niners and Ravens both have plenty of things they can work on to improve in the preseason, leading up to opening day. This part of the matchup rates as a wash.

 

Who Has The Edge In Quarterback Depth?
This is an area of competition that leans slightly to the 49ers. Colt McCoy has a reasonable amount of NFL experience as a starting quarterback, due to his tour of duty with the Cleveland Browns. McCoy is not a great quarterback by any means, but he’s spent more time in the crosshairs as a result of being a Sunday starter. Baltimore backup Tyrod Taylor is not as established as a starter in the past. Joe Flacco has started a number of games in which he wasn’t fully healthy, a sign of how much the Baltimore organization has not believed in him. Taylor might have more to prove because of his lack of starting experience, but in the long view, he is not as accomplished a quarterback as McCoy is. Baltimore’s coaching staff might have more of a reason to give Taylor and the rest of the second-stringers a more developed game plan, and that could work in Baltimore’s favor. However, McCoy is simply a more polished quarterback, and in the first game of a preseason schedule, the team with the better backup has a very good chance of winning.

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Outlook
This game is listed as a PICK and it makes sense that it’s hard to choose a winner here. The Niners have the better team, but the Ravens are not as banged up. It’s important to realize that the Niners have no depth at running back, given the injuries to Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. Frank Gore is not going to get touches in the preseason, so San Francisco is going to play this game with scrubs at running back. That’s why Baltimore will likely win.

Free NFL Pick: Ravens at TheGreek sportbook

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