NFL Picks: Falcons vs. 49ers Will go Well Under With Gabbert at Helm

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 5, 2015 6:17 PM UTC

Thursday, Nov. 5, 2015 6:17 PM UTC

When you decide Blaine Gabbert is your best option at quarterback, you know something's wrong. Will anyone have the San Francisco 49ers in their Week 9 NFL picks?

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 4: 26-21-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 18-27 Total

In theory, the San Francisco 49ers should be a compelling NFL pick this Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, FOX) when they host the Atlanta Falcons. The Niners are getting seven points at home, and they're coming off a game where they got spanked 27-6 by the St. Louis Rams (–7.5 at home). There's no question the betting public will be on the Falcons in this matchup.

But it looks like the sharps are on Atlanta, too. According to our consensus reports at press time, nearly 70 percent of bettors are on the Falcons, supplying 98 percent of the monies wagered. It's so ridiculous, we had to put it in italics. The average bet size on the Falcons is $1,125. On the Niners? A measly 52 bucks. Atlanta has already moved up from –4 on the NFL odds board; at this rate, San Fran will easily be getting more than seven points by kick-off.

2012: The Year We Made Contact
This is what happens when you decide to start Blaine Gabbert at quarterback. Not that Colin Kaepernick was getting the job done; according to Football Outsiders, Kaepernick has been one of the very worst QBs in the league this year, ranking dead-last in passing DYAR and second-to-last in passing DVOA. It'll be difficult for Gabbert not to outperform Kaepernick this Sunday.

What a difference three years makes. When Kaepernick burst upon the scene in 2012, the NFL was ga-ga for the read-option; he and Washington's Robert Griffin III became the poster children for dual-threat quarterbacks, guiding their teams to division titles and leaving opposing defenses scratching their heads. But once the league adapted to these college-style spread offenses, the magic was gone. Griffin absorbed far too much punishment as a runner, and Kaepernick apparently didn't have the chops to execute more traditional plays.

Yo Gabbert Gabbert
So what chops does Gabbert have? He flamed out in two-plus seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, posting the worst efficiency stats of any quarterback since 1989 – that's how far back the data goes at Football Outsiders. The thing is, Gabbert also played out of the spread in college at Missouri, and even though he has the size and intelligence to be a “pro-style” quarterback, Gabbert never showed himself capable of making the transition.

The Falcons (6-2 SU, 4-4 ATS) have dropped the cash in each of their last four games, so we're not too keen on giving them our support. But even though we've done poorly on totals this year, betting the UNDER at the Field of Jeans seems like an easy auto-pick until they do something about that horrible turf. The UNDER is 3-1 in San Fran this year, and Sunday's weather forecast calls for a 20-percent chance of rain. You get a sprained MCL, you get a sprained MCL – you all get sprained MCLs.

Free NFL Pick: Take UNDER 45 (–112) at Matchbook

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