NFL Playoff Picks: 49ers vs. Falcons Picks on Spread

Jason Lake

Thursday, January 17, 2013 2:36 PM GMT

The San Francisco 49ers are drawing more bettors and more money than the Atlanta Falcons in Sunday’s NFC Championship Game. But look more closely at those consensus numbers before placing our NFL picks.


Jason’s record on his final weekly NFL picks for the 2012 postseason:

3-5 ATS (–2.21 units)

6-2 Totals (+3.91 units)

Profit: +1.71 units

It would appear the San Francisco 49ers are ready to be loved again. People are stampeding to the pay window to bet on the NFL this week – at least, on the NFC title game. As I write this Wednesday evening, the Niners are getting over 65 percent support from bettors, with over $1 million in action. That’s over six times as much action as the New England Patriots are getting in the AFC title game, and over 25 times as much action as the Baltimore Ravens.

Be sure to check out my:

NFL Picks: 49ers vs. Falcons Opening Odds & Early picks

NFL Picks: 49ers vs. Falcons Betting the Total

Inestimable

That is a lot of money. But the Falcons are creeping up close to the $1-million mark themselves. Looking at the average bet size, Atlanta is actually ahead, $996 to $599. Let’s see, rounding that off… carry the one… that’s $1000 to $600.

It gets better. Our expanded NFL betting consensus numbers show 17 bets of $1000 or more coming in on San Francisco, and just seven for Atlanta. Which means those are some hefty, hefty bets on the Falcons. Yes, the Falcons, who failed to cover last week against the Seattle Seahawks (+2.5 away) and needed a last-minute comeback to win 30-28. The same Falcons who are now 3-5-1 ATS since Veterans Day.

November Spawned a Monster

The argument for backing Atlanta with your sports picks in Sunday’s contest (3:00 p.m. ET, FOX) appears to be more of a fade against the 49ers, who sliced up the Green Bay Packers (+3 away) 45-31 last week and may have inflated their market value a little too much in the process. Being favored on the road by as many as five points on the NFL odds board (most NFL odds boards have the spread at 3.5 or four points) is nothing to sneeze at – are the Niners really a touchdown better than the Seahawks?

No, but I think they’re at least a touchdown better than the Falcons on neutral ground. The Niners finished the regular season at No. 4 on the efficiency charts, while the Falcons were No. 10. And that’s the full regular season; San Francisco has been on a tear, as you may have heard, since Colin Kaepernick took over as quarterback in November. If we throw out Week 17 – almost always a good idea – the Niners are 5-2 SU and ATS since Kaepernick’s first start.

Five Guys Named Mo’

I’ve already talked about how Atlanta’s defensive line is looking a little shaky, so this would be an opportune time to praise San Francisco’s offensive line. This unit is only now starting to get a little publicity, thanks to the insane rushing stats the Niners have been putting up lately. But it’s easy to overlook these guys because their names haven’t been popping up on the injury reports.

So I’ll name them here: LT Anthony Davis, LG Mike Iupati, center Jonathan Goodwin, RG Alex Boone, and RT Joe Staley. San Francisco’s offensive line was No. 1 in run blocking efficiency during the regular season (again, only half of that with Kaepernick at QB), and while their pass protection was a little lacking (No. 29 overall, 41 sacks allowed), Smith ate 24 sacks compared to 16 for the more mobile Kaepernick. And that was on exactly 218 passing attempts for each QB. Where’s that missing sack, anyway?

(That’s what she said.)

I’m still on the Niners. It might not be for $1000 or even $600, but I might even open up for – gasp – two betting units instead of just one. Okay, 1.5 units.

NFL Picks: Take the Niners –3.5 (–108)