Super Bowl Betting Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Super Bowl Betting Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Super Bowl Betting Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens
Atssportsline.com

Super Bowl Preview

We're just a few days away from the culmination of another great football season. The San Francisco 49ers were not a major surprise to get to New Orleans, but the Baltimore Ravens exploded in the playoffs after playing sporadically during the year. They didn't even need a bye to get here. The San Francisco 49ers also had their ups and down, but they found their stride in the playoffs. John Harbaugh of Baltimore meets Jim Harbaugh of San Francisco in a historic brother vs. brother meeting in the Super Bowl XLVII.

Recent Key injuries:

Baltimore:


None.

San Francisco:

None.

Key Betting Trends:

Baltimore:


4-0 ATS last four playoff games.
4-1 ATS last five overall.
1-4 last 5 matchups on the Under bet during the playoffs.
2-6-1 ATS last nine games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
7-3 ATS last 10 on turf.
3-7 ATS last 10 as a dog on the road.

San Francisco:

5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
4-1 ATS last five games on fieldturf.
25-11-1 ATS last 37 overall.
10-3-1 ATS last 13 games after allowing more than 250 yards in their previous game.
8-2 ATS last 10 non-conference games.
16-7-1 ATS last 24 after allowing less than
90 yards rushing in their previous game.
0-6 last six matchups on the Under bet overall.
4-0-1 last 5 on the Over bet after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
5-1 last six matchups on the Over bet following an ATS win.   

Outlook:   

The Baltimore Ravens defeated Indianapolis at home as a favorite, then went out on the road as big dogs and shocked Denver and New England. They needed a miraculous 70-yard TD pass from Joe Flacco to Jacoby Jones to tie the game and then won it in overtime on a Justin Tucker field goal. Last Sunday, the Ravens got down 13-7 at the half to New England, but came back and outscored them 21-0 in the second half to eliminate the Pats, 28-13. Flacco has just 30 completions in two games, but 11 have been 20 yards or longer. He has a 114qb rating with 8 TDs and no picks, while throwing for 853 yards in the postseason, eliminating most of the doubts about whether he can get the job done. Ray Rice (247 yards) hasn’t been great in the postseason but is a very dangerous receiver. Rookie RB Bernard Pierce has been even better in the postseason, rushing for 169 yards (6.3ypc).  The Ravens are 6-0 in the playoffs when they have a 100-yard rusher. WR Anquan Boldin (16 for 276, 3 TDs) is having a great postseason, while speedy Torrey Smith had two TD receptions against Denver and is always a deep threat. TE Dennis Pitta (61 for 669 yds reg. season, 10 for 137, 2TDs in postseason) are also options for Flacco. The offensive line, now with Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and rookie Kelechi Osemele at left guard, have played very well in the playoffs. The defense was weak against the run this year (122.6ypg) and average against the pass (228.1ypg), but they have one of the best red zone defenses in the NFL. They ranked 17th overall in the regular season and have allowed 428 total yards to New England, they didn’t allow a point in the second half. S Bernard Pollard (98 tackles) is one of the hardest hitters in the game. LB Ray Lewis  (44 tackles in the playoffs) is playing his last game for Baltimore. The Ravens have a mediocre pass rush led by OLB Paul Kruger (8.5 sacks) and Terrell Suggs, who has been playing hurt this season but does have two sacks in the playoffs. The special teams are solid in the kicking game but struggled in coverage against Denver. Jones is an explosive returner, but has only averaged 17.3 yard per return in three postseason games.

While casual fans care about the “Harbaugh Bowl”, Jim Harbaugh wants to beat his brother John after losing last season, 16-6 on Thanksgiving. Ale Smith was the quarterback and after getting injured, Harbaugh decided to turn to Colin Kaepernick. After nine games, the lanky quarterback from Nevada has put together record numbers and has the 49ers back in the Super Bowl for the first time since 1995. San Francisco finally won three straight this year as they are looking to become the first NFL team in history to win a Super Bowl without posting three or more straight wins during the regular season.  Two weeks ago, San Francisco downed Green Bay, 45-31 at home as Kaepernick ran for 181 yards and two scores, while throwing for 263 yards and four TDs. Last Sunday, the 49ers got down 24-14 at the half and 17-0 in the second quarter against the Falcons and rallied to win 28-24. Kaepernick ran just twice for 21 yards but threw for 233 yards with one TD. Atlanta was so worried about Kaepernick that the middle of the field was open for Vernon Davis to run free and catch 5 passes for 106 yards and one score. Frank Gore was also able to run for 90 yards and two TDs. He has 209 yards and 3 TDs, averaging 4.8ypg in two games. WR Michael Crabtree leads the Niners with 85 receptions for 1,105 yards and has 15 receptions with 176 yards and two TDs in just two games. Defensively, they have one of the best stop units in the game. They rank 4th against the pass (200.2ypg) and 4th against the run (94.2ypg). They did allow Matt Ryan to throw for 396 yards last week but forced two turnovers. LB NaVorro Bowman leads in tackles with 149, while LB Patrick Willis adds 120 in the regular season. Willis has 19 and a sack in the playoffs. LB Aldon Smith leads with 19.5 sacks. DT Justin Smith has been playing hurt with a triceps injury so two weeks off will help. The special teams are a concern with David Akers struggling though Ted Ginn is a dangerous punt returner and LaMichael James could be an x-factor in this game with his speed.


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Re: Super Bowl Betting Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Breaking Down Super Bowl XLVII: Offense
Atssportsline.com

The Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Feb. 3, from New Orleans at 6:30pmET. You know that the 49ers are a 4-point favorite and the total is 47. But let's dive deeper into the matchups, from offense, defense and a special teams perspective.

Offense:

Quarterbacks:


Colin Kapernick has been the story of the second half of the season, but Joe Flacco has been the story of the playoffs with eight touchdowns and no interceptions for a 114.7 passer rating. Joe Montana and Steve Young were the only other quarterbacks to throw for nine or more touchdown passes with no picks in the postseason.

Flacco loves to go deep as he connected on 40 completions of 25-or-more yards in the regular season. Kaepernick has compiled a passer rating near 100.0 while amassing a 7-2 mark as the 49ers starter since taking over for Alex Smith. In the postseason, he has a 105.9 pass rating and has rushed for 202 yards. No players has ever posted a 100+ passer rating and ran for over 200 yards in a single postseason.

Flacco has the experience, while Kaepernick has the ability to make plays with his legs in the read-option. Both have big arms and the one who will make the least amount of mistakes should win.

Edge: Baltimore

Running Backs:

Ray Rice totalled 1,621 yards from scrimmage and posted over 1,000 rushing yards and 400 receiving yards. But he has struggled some in postseason after fumbling twice at home against Indianapolis. Enter rookie Bernard Pierce, who ran for 532 yards as a reserve and 4.9 yards per carry.

Frank Gore is one of the most consistent backs in the NFL who runs hard and straight. He has over 1,200 yards rushing this season and really has benefited from playing in the read-option. Speedy LaMichael James gives the 49ers another option for Kaepernick to go to running from the Pistol. He could be a difference-maker in this game.

Fullback Vonta Leach is Baltimore's secret weapon as a great blocker and solid receiver. The 49ers Bruce Millers is a solid lead blocker with nimble feet.

Edge: Even

Wide Receivers

Anquan Boldin has stepped up for Baltimore in the postseason with 16 receptions for 276 yards and three touchdowns. He has five receiving TDs over the last three years of postseason play. Torrey Smith is the top vertical threat in this game. He ranks fourth in the NFL with 17.4 yards per catch, posing a career-high 855 yards and 49 receptions. Jacoby Jones also adds speed on the outside but is more of a kick return specialist. He did make the 70-yard touchdown reception in the Denver game to tie the game with 44 seconds left.

Michael Crabtree is the top threat for San Francisco. He caught 85 passes for 1,105 yards and nine TDs in 2012. He's more of a possession receiver who is very strong in the middle of the field. Randy Moss is more of a role player now but is dangerous considering his past as he has 76 receptions of 40 yards-plus turned into 28 catches and just two scores in San Francisco this season.

The Niners don't have a lot of depth without injured Kyle Williams. They might not need it if they can run the ball in the Pistol.

Edge: Baltimore

Tight Ends:

Dennis Pitta posted career highs of 61 catches for 669 receiving yards and seven TDs. He's not a great blocker, but has a way of finding the soft spots in the middle of the field. He's tough with very good hands though he's not a burner.

Vernon Davis is the most dangerous receiver for the 49ers. He has great speed and can take over a game. He dominated the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game as linebackers are too slow and safeties aren't big enough to defend him.

Edge: San Francisco.

Offensive Line:

If the Ravens had the same line as they had in the beginning of the season, they wouldn't be here. For whatever reason, Baltimore went with Michael Oher at left tackle and three players at left guard, with rookie Kelechi Osemele at right tackle. When they moved former Pro Bowler Bryant McKinnie out of the "doghouse" to replace Oher, Flacco was given more time to throw. Oher moved to right tackle and Osemele to left guard, where he was drafted to play. RG Marshall Yanda is the team's best lineman, especially in the running game.

San Fracnsico has the best line in the NFL. Left tackle Joe Staley and left guard MIke Iupati are as good as it gets in the NFL. Center Jonathan Goodwin, RG Alex Boone and RT Anthony Davis round out an impressive group. If they can dominate the Ravens up front, just as they did against Atlanta in the second half, Kaepernick and Gore will have a field day.

Edge: San Francisco


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Re: Super Bowl Betting Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Breaking Down Super Bowl XLVII: Defense
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The Baltimore Ravens take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Feb. 3, from New Orleans at 6:30pmET. You know that the 49ers are a 4-point favorite and the total is 47. But let's dive deeper into the matchups, from offense, defense and a special teams perspective.

Defense:

Defensive Line:


Both defenses use a 3-4 scheme and neither line is dominant.

Baltimore does have a dominant player in 3-4 end Haloti Ngata, while San Francisco has one in Justin Smith. Both players are trying to overcome injuries that have slowed them down.

Ngata is an athletic 350-pounder who engulfs linemen and can run down quarterbacks-when he's healthy. Terrence Cody and Ma'ake Kemoeatu are serviceable players at nose guard but not difference-makers. Pernell McPhee is a solid player on the edge and will need to provide pressure against Kaepernick. Arthur Jones rotates with McPhee at end and provides some size at end.

Isaac Sopoaga takes up space in the middle at nose guard at 6-2, 330 pounds. He usually keeps opposing offensive lineman from getting to the second level. Ray McDonald does a nice job as a 3-4 end and can occupy blockers with his size.

Justin Smith is the key as a four-time Pro Bowler, who is playing with a triceps injury suffered in Week 15. He might not be 100% but his experience and leadership are a necessity.

Edge: Baltimore

Linebackers:

Ray Lewis isn't the best linebacker or defender on the team anymore, but he's the heart, soul and spiritual leader. He plays inside in the 3-4 along with speedy Dannell Ellerbe, who has been hampered by an ankle injury. Lewis can still tackle with an arm band on his torn triceps.

Speaking of torn, OLB Terrell Suggs has played with a torn biceps and over the summer, he had a partially torn Achilles tendon. Suggs was the Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, so this season, he was not the same player with all the injuries. OLB Paul Kruger made up for the loss with 9 sacks, as 7.5 came in the final eight games. Rookie OLB Courtney Upshaw plays to set the edge.

San Francisco has an outstanding linebacking corps led by Aldon Smith, who piled up a team-record 19.5 sacks.

OLB Ahmad Brooks is an excellent player who is overshadowed by Smith.

Inside linebacker Patrick Willis has replaced Lewis as the best linebacker in the game. He and Navorro Bowman are All-Pros. Willis is the leader and Bowman might be the better all-around player.

Edge: San Francisco

Defensive Backs

Ed Reed may be playing his last game for the Ravens. The future Hall of Fame free safety has 61 career picks in 11 pro seasons. This year, he had 4 picks including a TD return. He's not a thumper and has had problems tackling due to neck issues.

Speaking of thumping, Bernard Pollard is one of the hardest hitters in the game. He blew up Pats running back Stevan Ridley in the AFC Championship game with a vicious hit that knocked him out cold, causing a fumble.

San Francisco has two Pro Bowl safeties in Donte Whitner and Deshon Goldson. Both are big hitters and very good tacklers. Goldson is better in pass coverage while Whitner can struggle in man.

At cornerback, the Ravens best player is injured. Lardarius Webb tore his ACL early in the season and first-round pick Jimmy Smith hasn't panned out. Carey Williams is solid and Corey Graham can make a play every now and then, though neither would be considered a shut-down corner. Smith and Chykie Brown share the nickel spot. 

San Francisco's corners have more talent. Carlos Rogers went to the Pro Bowl in 2011, though Tarell Brown was their top corner with 13 passes defensed. Nickel back Chris Culliver brings size and playmaking ability as a nickel corner.

Edge: San Francisco


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Re: Super Bowl Betting Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens

Breaking Down Super Bowl XLVII: Special Teams
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The Baltimore Ravens are set to take on the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Feb. 3, from New Orleans at 6:30pmET. You know that the 49ers are a 4-point favorite and the total is 47. We went over the offense and defense, now let's take a look inside the special teams. 

Special Teams

Kicking


Baltimore rookie Justin Tucker took over for Billy Cundiff, who missed a crucial 32-yard field goal in last year's AFC Championship game. Tucker recorded 132 points in his rookie season, the third most in Ravens history. He made 30-of-33 field goal attempts for a 90.9 percent success rate. That was the second-best mark in NFL history behind Minnesota's Blair Walsh, who was 35-of-38 in 2012.

Tucker converted a 47-yard game-winning field goal in Denver at Mile High in overtime.

Davis Akers missed an NFL-high 14 field goal attempts in 2012, just one year after making an NFL-record 44. He actually was replaced by Cundiff briefly, but will have to do the job for the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

Edge: Baltimore

Punting

Punter Sam Koch is one of the steadiest punters in the game, though he has struggled some in postseason. He has averaged 45.9 yards per punt in the postseason compared to 47.1 yards per punt in the regular season.

San Francisco punter Andy Lee is a three-time Pro Bowler. He has a huge leg and ranks first in team history with a 45.9 yard gross average. In 2012, he led the NFL with a 43.2 net average, ranked third with 36 punts inside the 20 and made a few All-Pro teams.

Edge: San Francisco

Return Game:

Baltimore has a very good return man in Jacoby Jones, who ranked first in the NFL in posting a 30.7-yard kickoff return average and 9.2 yards per return, which included three returned for TDs. He had two kickoff returns and a punt (63 yards). In the playoffs, Jones has netted just 17.3 yards per return, but has averaged 13.7 on six returns.

Ted Ginn, who was injured last season, returned in 2012 and did a solid job averaging 10.2 yards per return with a long of 38. He has three kickoffs and three punts in his career for TDs, but has lost a step that made him dangerous in the past. LaMichael James averages 29.8 yards per kickoff return, while Ginn averages 23.0 yards per return.

Edge: Baltimore

Return Coverage:

Baltimore signed Corey Graham in the offseason after he earned Pro Bowl honors for Chicago in 2011. He's now the second corner after the injury to Lardarius Webb. Brendon Ayanbadejo has 14 special teams tackles to lead the Ravens, while Graham has six and RB Anthony Allen had 12 tackles.

The Ravens coverage unit was strong in the regular season, allowing 7.8 yards per punt return and 23.2 on kickoffs. But in the postseason, Baltimore's coverage units have been shaky as they've allowed 20.9 yards per punt return with a TD and 32.5 on kickoffs with another score. Both returns for TD came against Denver.

The 49ers coverage units was outstanding during the regular season. They limited teams to 6.9 yards per punt return and 26.9 on kickoffs. Backup cornerback Tramaine Brock, linebacker Michael Wilhoite and safety C.J. Spillman are the top players on the coverage units.

Edge: San Francisco


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