Well, the matchup for Super Bowl XLVII has been set and it will be the “Harbaugh Bowl” as the San Francisco 49ers take on the Baltimore Ravens. Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers where the favorites to win the NFC before these playoffs began while all that John Harbaugh’s Ravens did to get to the Super Bowl was beat Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in consecutive weeks as heavy road underdogs both times.
So will the Baltimore joy ride continue, allowing the retiring Ray Lewis to go out in style? Well, San Francisco is currently -3.5 (-115) to end the run, with the total set at 48.
49ERS – RAVENS 2013 SUPER BOWL BETTING LINE:
1. Why Baltimore will cover the spread: The Ravens will cover this spread if Joe Flacco can continue to perform well like he has in these playoffs vs. probably the best defense he has faced this post-season, or at least it is based on regular season stats. The Ravens need to employ a “backwards” game plan here of establishing the pass to set up the run. If Flacco has early passing success vs. a San Francisco defense that finished fifth against the pass during the year but one that just allowed 396 passing yards to Matt Ryan, it would open things up for one of the best running backs in football when utilized correctly in Ray Rice to have success later on, preferably while playing with a lead.
A second key for Baltimore is its run defense containing Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick on the ground reasonably well, much like the Ravens did vs. the Patriots as New England rushed for 108 yards but needed 28 carries to do so (3.9 YPC).
2. Why San Francisco will cover the spread: The two keys for San Francisco to cover this spread both counteract the two Baltimore keys just mentioned. On offense, Kaepernick will have to run the ball more than he did last week off of his option reads. Remember that the Falcons had just faced the Seahawks and Russell Wilson the previous week, so to their credit, they were fully prepared for the option when Kaepernick rushed for only 21 yards on just two attempts. That deception has a better chance of leading to big plays here vs. a Baltimore defense that has not faced the read option recently.
As for the demise of the San Francisco pass defense, the 49ers have to generate more pressure on Flacco after sacking Ryan only once for zero yards. Perhaps the two weeks off will allow defensive end Justin Smith more adequate healing time while he is playing with a partially torn triceps.
3. Total Talk: While the 49ers had issues vs. Ryan and his great receivers, the pass defense did buckle down when it mattered most in the fourth quarter. And while the Ravens haven’t faced the option lately, they did hold Robert Griffin III to 34 rushing yards against it in early December. I think this is the toughest Super Bowl side to call in quite some time, but do feel that the ‘under’ is the best play in this game.
4. Betting Trends for 49ers/Ravens: The ‘under’ is 4-1 in the Ravens’ last five playoff games, as well as 4-0 in their last four games on artificial turf.
– The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Baltimore’s last 6 games when playing San Francisco
– Baltimore is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing San Francisco
– The total has gone OVER in 5 of San Francisco’s last 5 games
– San Francisco is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing Baltimore
– San Francisco is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Baltimore
– The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Francisco’s last 6 games when playing Baltimore
San Francisco 23 – Baltimore 20
GUESS THE FINAL SCORE OF SUPER BOWL 47 BELOW: