The NFL odds favor San Francisco at -4.5, with a total of 40 points. Both of these teams have some interesting story lines coming into this game, so let’s see if there is any value to add to our Week 3 NFL picks.
The Niners have just been going through the motions so far this preseason. They got the win in Week 2, 15-13 against the Chiefs, but once again Jim Harbaugh elected not to play his starters very much, and the ones that did play were not in the game long. Even in a week where other starting quarterbacks played well into the 2nd quarter, Colin Kaepernick played one series and was taken out. He was 1/2 with -3 passing yards.
The Vikings played their guys a little longer, but the result was more of the same. Christian Ponder was only 5/12 with 53 passing yards while he was in the game. He didn’t lead a scoring drive until his 4th drive, and in the first three, all he did was go three and out twice. It would have been three times too, but their third drive started in Bills’ territory after an interception, but Ponder quickly fumbled and lost five yards, then the field goal was missed after he eventually scrambled for a big (but short of the 1st down) gain on third down. Needless to say, it was a terrible game for the 1st string offense of the Vikings, and that was against the Bills’ defense. Just imagine what could be set for this week.
The Niners have simply been waiting until Week 3 to unleash the fury on their opponent, and use this game as a dress rehearsal. Harbaugh’s been seeing the Niners blowing everyone out, and he’s probably sick of the talk on the west coast. He would love to blast the Vikings by 20 points in this game, and I think it’s going to happen. I expect this spread to go up after Harbaugh eventually announces that he’ll play Kaepernick longer than a series in this game. Obviously this is just a hunch on my part, but it follows the patterns he has set in the recent past.
Harbaugh used the preseason last year just like this. After hardly playing his starters in the first two games of the 2012 preseason, his team put up 29 points on the Broncos in Week 3. Then starter, Alex Smith played a lot more than he did in the previous two weeks, and now with Kaepernick, I see Harbaugh unleashing his young QB for a nice run in Week 3.
The Sharp Pick
Since this game isn’t until Sunday, this pick is an early week value sports picks. I see the line going no where but up, especially because it’s the last game of the week and people will be jumping on it for one last shot of cashing a ticket. I could easily see the NFL odds closing as high as -6, so jump in on -4.5 while it’s here.
The Vikings won’t and probably can’t put up much of a fight this week. Adrian Peterson will make his preseason debut in this game, but I doubt he plays very long. If he gets hurt the Vikings might as well pencil themselves into the #1 overall pick next season. Lay the -4.5 while you can.
Have a different opinion? Share it on our message boards!