San Francisco 49ers (4-4, 4-4 ATS) @ New Orleans Saints (4-4, 4-4 ATS)

*ATS= against the spread

BETDAQ Line: New Orleans -5.5 (49)

Significant Injuries

San Francisco: LB Dan Skuta (questionable– ankle), LB Patrick Willis (questionable– toe), CB Tramaine Brock (questionable– toe), DT Quinton Dial (questionable– eye), WR Brandon Lloyd (questionable– hamstring)

New Orleans: WR Robert Meachem (questionable– ankle), OT Zach Strief (questionable– chest), C Jonathan Goodwin (questionable– knee), RB Mark Ingram (questionable– shoulder), LB David Hawthorne (out– hand), RB Khiry Robinson (out– forearm), RB Pierre Thomas (out– ribs)

Recent Trends

San Francisco is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring fewer than 15 points in their previous game

San Francisco is 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games

San Francisco is 4-0 ATS in the last 4 meetings between these 2 teams

New Orleans is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a win

New Orleans is 19-6 ATS in their last 25 home games

The OVER is 4-1-1 in the last 6 meetings between these 2 teams

The UNDER is 5-0 in San Francisco’s last 5 games following a loss

The UNDER is 5-2 in San Francisco’s last 7 road games

The OVER is 4-1 in New Orleans’ last 5 games overall

Three reasons to back San Francisco

1. The Niners are a proud veteran team in a backs-to-the-wall situation and they’re getting a healthy 5.5 points here, making a San Francisco bet the only sensible play. After all, the Saints traditionally struggle with physical, run-first teams and San Francisco has covered each of the last 4 times these teams have met.

2. The San Francisco defense is once again one of the league’s best– they rank 2nd in yards allowed, 3rd against the pass and 5th against the run– and this week they’ll be facing a New Orleans offense that will be missing some of its best players. Running backs Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas have been ruled out and fellow tailback Mark Ingram is questionable, so the Saints will be even more one-dimensional than usual. Plus, they should have trouble protecting Drew Brees considering the state of their offensive line, which could be without regular contributors Jonathan Goodwin and Zach Strief.

3. The Saints have a vulnerable defense that ranks 21st in both yards allowed and points allowed, so Colin Kaepernick and the San Francisco offense should be able to have their way. New Orleans is especially bad in the secondary, as only 4 teams leaguewide are surrendering more pass yards per game this season.

Three reasons to back New Orleans

1. The Saints are gaining steam– they’ve won 3 of their past 4 and now sit alone atop the NFC South– while the Niners are regressing, losing their last two games and producing just 10 points in a humiliating home loss to St. Louis last week. Rumors of discontent in the locker room, subpar on-field performance, a banged-up defense… the 49ers aren’t a team you want to be throwing money at right now.

2. The New Orleans offense is once again one of the NFL’s best, as they rank 2nd in total yards per game, 3rd in pass yards per game, and 5th in points scored. They’re especially good in the Superdome, where they produced 44 points in their last home game, a 21-point win over a Green Bay Packers team that may be the NFC’s best.

3. The Saints are improving defensively, limiting their last 3 opponents to fewer than 20 points per game, and the San Francisco offense is an absolute mess. The Niners rank in the bottom-half of the league in total offense, passing offense, and points scored, and last week they could manage just 10 points in a home game against the lowly Rams. How, then, are they going to to keep up with the Saints in the Superdome? Not going to happen, is it?


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