Division rivals are set to square off in the NFC championship game on Sunday when the San Francisco 49ers head up to CenturyLink Field to battle the hated rival Seattle Seahawks for the third time this season. The Niners took advantage of a Carolina Panthers team making its first playoff appearance of the Cam Newton era, and took advantage en route to disposing the NFC South winners 23-10. The Seahawks outlasted the Saints 23-15 in a game severely hindered by Mother Nature to reach the NFC title game for the first time since 2006.
SF 49ERS – SEAHAWKS NFC CHAMPIONSHIP BETTING LINE:
OPEN: SEAHAWKS -3 | CURRENT: SEAHAWKS -3.5 | O/U: 40.5
1. Why the SF 49ERS will cover the spread: The Niners will invade the Pacific Northwest having won eight games in a row, and they secured wins in five of those games as the visiting team. Coach Harbaugh’s troops have seen it all. They’ve been through the wars to become one of the more cohesive and dominating franchises in the league. They’ve already passed their first two tests of the second season by going on the road and beating the Packers in a game marred by terrible weather, and followed it up with a dominating second half performance that sent the Panthers home for the remainder of the winter.
Their 10-1 ATS mark versus the L/11 +.500 home teams faced clearly states the reigning NFC champs will not go down without a heck of a fight in this win or go home brawl for conference bragging rights.
2. Why the SEAHAWKS will cover the spread: The 12th Man. It’s not to be taken lightly, as Coach Carroll’s troops check in a resounding 9-1 SU in front of it this season. Only the division rival Arizona Cardinals found a way to topple them there this season. When the stadium is a rocking, it causes all kinds of problems for the opposition. Just ask SF QB Colin Kaepernick who in two career starts at CenturyLink has completed just 50% of his passes for 371 yards and a TD/INT ratio of 1:4.
Seattle has covered eight of its L/10 games following an ATS defeat, and it’s rolled up and smoked San Fran each of the L/2 times it hosted the rivalry winning by the aggregate score of 71-16.
3. Total Talk 49ers/Seahawks: With both of these defenses ranked amongst the top 3 in points allowed, it comes as no surprise to see the ‘under’ 21-14 in their 35 combined games played. Since its Week 12 bye, Seattle has played to the “under” in each of its L/6 games with an average combined score of 33.5 points. Each of the Niners first two playoff games have combined to go ‘under’ the closing number, but they had played to high scorers each of the previous five times they opposed a +.500 home team on the road up until the L/2 weeks. They’ve also played to the ‘over’ in three of their four games played on fieldturf this season. The ‘under’ is 4-1 in these division rivals L/5 overall confrontations with an average combined tally of 35.6 points.
4. Betting Trends for 49ers/Seahawks: The NFL could not have gotten a better match-up to determine who will represent the NFC in Super Bowl XLVIII. Many will be quick to state that there’s no way San Francisco will be able to muster enough energy on the road for the fourth straight week, but weren’t Niners detractors saying that exact same thing last week with it being the third straight? If ever there was a team able to overcome that obstacle, it’s the reigning NFC champs. I mean come on, the team just went on the road and handled the Panthers with ease in a game supposed “sharps” were lined up around the corner backing the home team. San Francisco has covered all but one of its 10 road games played to date, and has looked much more cohesive than the Seahawks towards the tail end of the season.
They also have Phil Dawson locked in and have the Anquan Boldin factor to bank on as well – his teams just flat out win in the second season! As good as the Seahawks are, they check in just 4-3 SU & 3-4 ATS versus +.500 opposition, while the Niners own 7-5 SU & 8-3 ATS records the L/11 times they went off the board dogged. Five of the L/6 road teams have covered in the conference championship round, and three of the L/4 home teams failed to win outright. One of the two hosts is going down on Sunday – my money says it’s the Seahawks!
San Francisco 24 – Seattle 20