The New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers are set to square off in NFL playoff betting action this week at Candlestick Park. But before you make your NFL picks for the big game on Saturday, check out some of the great NFL betting trends that we have for the duel!
New Orleans Saints Notes: The Saints are putting up offensive numbers the likes of which we have never seen before. The team averaged over 460 yards per game in the regular season, and QB Drew Brees smashed the single season passing yardage total with over 5,400 yards this year. Now, New Orleans can stake claim to having the most yards in a playoff game in the history of the league after dropping 627 on the Detroit Lions last week. It was a great effort for a team that was down 7-0 at the end of the first quarter and 14-10 at halftime, as the Saints rolled off a whopping 35 points in the second half, including 21 in the decisive fourth quarter that took a once very close game and made it a tremendous blowout. The good news for the Saints is that they have covered eight in a row since losing to the lowly St. Louis Rams, and that includes three games on the road. However, before those three games, the team only was 2-3 SU and 1-4 ATS as guests in its first five roadies of the season, and the only times that it took on a playoff team on the road this year, it was beaten by the Green Bay Packers by eight and challenged by the Atlanta Falcons in what probably should have been a road loss in Week 11.
Brees just has an absolutely outstanding passing game, and it is a heck of a lot more than just one target he can use. Six different receivers had at least 55 yards on Saturday against Detroit, and it is clear that the Niners’ secondary is going to have its work cut out for it. Of course, on the ground, the combo of RB Darren Sproles, RB Chris Ivory, and RB Pierre Thomas helped account for over 160 yards against the Lions, and that will be a heck of a lot harder to do this week against a San Francisco defense which ranks No. 1 in the league on the ground.
The injury report doesn’t look as bad this week as it did last week for the Saints, as question marks LB Jonathan Vilma and WR Devery Henderson were in the starting lineup last week and have no reason not to be ready to go this Saturday as well. The question marks that remain are to WR Lance Moore (hamstring) and backup TE John Gilmore (toe). Reserve LB Jonathan Casillas also sat out last week with a knee injury.
San Francisco 49ers Notes: The 49ers haven’t played in a playoff game since 2002, but this season, the culture here in San Francisco was totally different than it had been in years past. Head Coach Jim Harbaugh brought in a tremendous change and proved that he was a heck of a lot different than the departed Mike Singletary, and the end result was a great season in which the team played hardnosed ball. We already mentioned that rush defense, which held teams under 80 yards per game this year, and the ground game on the other side of the ball proved to be stout with both RB Frank Gore and RB Kendall Hunter. QB Alex Smith, in spite of the fact that he led the game’s 29th ranked passing offense, had a great season and took solid care of the football, and that’s all that he is going to be asked to do in all likelihood in this game as well. The Niners went 7-1 SU and 7-0-1 ATS this year at home, but there are some questions about the schedule that they played. Though they did take on five playoff teams this year and went 4-1 SU and ATS in those games, wins over the New York Giants, Cincinnati Bengals, and the Lions don’t seem as impressive now as they perhaps did at the time.
This defense changed this year quite a bit with LB Aldon Smith. The linebacker from Missouri was passed up by several teams that could have used him, and the 49ers were happy to take him in the first round of the NFL Draft. He proved to be worth every penny that he was paid this year, as he came up with a team high 14 sacks. Smith had more than one sack in six games this year, and if that keeps up in this one, he could be in for a heck of a day. Smith has to be careful though, because rushing too hard could leave some openings for Sproles or the other backs out of the New Orleans backfield, so he has a heck of a lot of pressure on his shoulders on Saturday.
The 49ers are really in good shape on the injury front. WR Ted Ginn, Jr. didn’t play in the final two games of the regular season, but the week off was just what the doctor ordered to get him back in playing condition for this week’s game. There are no other notable injuries for San Fran.
Head To Head: The Niners and Saints have met eight times since 2000, and the Saints are a whopping 8-2 SU and 7-3 ATS in those games. The last time that San Francisco won a home game in this series was in 2001, and it ended up going on to win a game on the road that same year in the playoffs against these Saints. It was the only time that the two have met in a postseason contest.
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.