Friday, January 13, 2012
NFL Playoff : Can San Francisco beat New Orleans on Saturday? Yes.
I run an NFL rating spreadsheet and I have SF as favourites with home advantage - the Saints are not so good on the road ... 9-0 at home / 5-3 on the road - and so the price of +170 (decimal 2.70 for European punters) is too good to turn down.
Don't get me wrong - overall the spreadsheet rates New Orleans and has the Saints rated as #4 NFL team overall and a better side than San Francisco (ranked #7) both home and away - if you ignore the home advantage.
But this is a one-off playoff game where San Francisco DO have the home advantage - and the transition from playing in an indoor dome / turf surface to playing outdoors and on grass is a significant change.
SAN FRANCISCO AT HOME ARE WINNERS
San Francisco went 7-1 at home during the regular season (an early 3 point loss to Dallas Cowboys ruined their home record) and had winning margins of 16, 45, 10, 7, 16, 26 and 17. The 49ers score 221 points at 27 per game, points conceded 87 at just 11 per game.
NEW ORLEANS ARE BEATABLE AWAY FROM THE DOME
The Saints have been unbeatable at home this season, 9-0 and scoring 41 points per game, conceding 19. But that's over now and on the road, New Orleans lost 3 games at Green Bay, at Tampa Bay and St Louis (WTF?) ... and scored only 27 points per game (14 less).
HEAD TO HEAD - SAINTS RULE OK?
Looking at recent clashes between these two sides it's easy to see why New Orleans are public favourites, they've played four times in the last five years - twice in San Fran, and twice in New Orleans, and the Saints have won all four games.
But the last game was just a 25-22 win for New Orleans in 2010, a result that was predicted by the spreadsheet that had the Saints as 3-point favourites.
SOME SELECTED RESULTS FROM THIS SEASON
I mentioned that New Orleans lost to Tampa Bay (20-26) and St Louis (21-31) earlier, well by a coincidence San Francisco faced both of those two sides at Candlestick Park and had big wins - beating both Tampa Bay 48-3 and St Louis 26-0 - just underlining how well the 49ers are playing.
THE BETTING VERDICT :
I see the Saints struggling to connect with their passing game here, and the ML odds of -190 for New Orleans and +170 for San Francisco mean there is only ONE value play ... and it's not betting on the public favourite.
I reckon that SF are at least a 50-50 chance in this matchup so my bet is :
Take SAN FRANCISCO on the MONEYLINE
Best Betting Odds in Europe/UK ::: 2.71 at PinnacleSports :: 2.70 at Bet365
Best US Betting Lines ::: +170 at BetOnline, +170 at JustBet, +165 at Bookmaker.eu