NFL Picks: 49ers vs. Saints Week 11

Jason Lake

Tuesday, November 12, 2013 9:21 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 9:21 PM UTC

The San Francisco 49ers had beaten the NFL odds five games in a row before losing to the Carolina Panthers. They’ll try to get back on track this Sunday against the inconsistent New Orleans Saints.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to November 10 inclusive:

24-21-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

4-8 Totals

There are my trolls, dancing their little troll dance underneath their little troll bridge. I had the Dallas Cowboys (+6 at the close) and the UNDER (54) this past Sunday night against the New Orleans Saints, and everything was hunky dory until Cowboys LB Sean Lee left the game in the second quarter with a hamstring injury. Then the Saints went marching into the Dallas end zone. Six times. Only one thing left for me to say: That’s football~!

The Saints are getting ready to host another team that has been vexing me this season: the San Francisco 49ers. They went on a 5-0 SU and ATS tear just as it looked like the club was about to slip off the rails following the Aldon Smith Incident. Remember that one? Seems like ancient history now that we have much newer and nastier Incidents to discuss. The Week 11 NFL lines have the Saints favored by three points; our consensus reports haven’t seen the required data as we go to press, but the early buzz in Vegas is very much on New Orleans.

Niner Niner Niner

That 5-0 streak came to a crashing halt this past Sunday at The Stick, where the Carolina Panthers smothered San Francisco 10-9 to bag the cash as 6-point road dogs. Now the mighty Panthers are on their own 5-0 SU and ATS streak. The Niners, meanwhile, are picking themselves up off the ground after gaining just four yards of offense in the fourth quarter. Maybe they should put in some flavored turf when they move to Santa Clara.

This was the kind of stranglehold the San Francisco defense used to put on opponents. The Panthers were No. 3 on the defensive efficiency charts going into Week 10, while the hobbled Niners were at No. 14, down from No. 3 in 2012. But things are looking up; Smith was back in his familiar spot at OLB on Sunday after missing five games to deal with substance abuse issues, although he only played in limited snaps.

Mario’s Word of the Day: Encephalopathy

The Niners also welcomed back WR Mario Manningham this week; he led the team in receiving with three catches for 30 yards. Yup, that’s it. San Francisco was limited to 91 yards through the air and 105 yards on the ground – RB Frank Gore (16 carries for 82 yards) was the only viable weapon for the Niners against Carolina. However, the San Fran offense lost TE Vernon Davis to a concussion; his status is uncertain as we go to press.

Football fans are partying in New Orleans right now. Okay, they party every day of the year, but if Davis (30 catches, seven TDs) doesn’t suit up this week, the Saints defense – No. 13 in efficiency through Week 9 – will have the opportunity to do what Carolina did. And that’ll put the Saints offense in position to salt this game away at the Superdome. New Orleans has covered all five of its home games this season at 5-0 SU.

I’m betting the Saints will make it 6-0. Granted, the list of teams they’ve beaten at home isn’t all that impressive: Atlanta, Arizona, Miami, Buffalo, and then Dallas. But the Niners haven’t exactly beaten the league’s best and brightest on the road. After getting creamed by the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2, San Fran has picked up away wins versus St. Louis, Tennessee and Jacksonville. Big whoop. For this week's sports betting purposes, I’ll take the hotter team at the best price I can find.

NFL Pick: Take the Saints –3.5 (+112) at Pinnacle
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