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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

NFL Week 15: Betting the Big Rivalry Match

San Francisco 49ers -10 at Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have strung together three consecutive wins (both straight up and versus the number) -- the second of which being a 19-3, Turkey Day thrashing of these 49ers at Levi Stadium. Thus, it appears that, in spite of some early-season sputters, Seattle is regaining their championship form, just as the playoffs approach.

On the other hand, the 49ers have disappointed this season. Lowlights include the week 2 loss versus the Bears, despite a 7.5 point advantage (per the spread), a week 9 defeat at the Rams as 10.5 point favorites and last week's bad, 13-24 loss to Bay Area rivals, the now 2-11 Oakland Raiders.

We can not quibble with the contention that the Seahwaks are the superior franchise. However, laying 10 points seems a bit rich in our thinking. The two primary components of our NFL handicapping system (a simulation program and a power rankings-based assessment) both suggest a narrow cover for the floundering Niners this afternoon.

In our estimation, the Niners best hope for success hinge on the potential for a strong defensive showing. This is not a huge stetch considering that the Niners rank 3rd in the league in yards allowed. On offense, RB Marshawn Lynch has been the anchor for Seattle. Lynch is one of only six players in the NFL to gain over 1,000 yards rushing this season, and has scored as many rushing TDs this year as anyone (9 ) -- but with the fewest fumbles (1). San Francisco will need to apply their 7th-ranked rushing defense to slow Seattle's ground attack. The Seahwaks have been somewhere around bottom of the barrel throwing the ball, and 49ers are 4th defending the pass, so QB Russell Wilson is unlikely to breakout aerially. We could potentially see a one-dimensional offensive effort from Seattle this afternoon, with limited scoring (making it possible for the Niners to cover without putting a ton of points on the board).

We are also counting on San Francisco to be mentally sharp this afternoon. Per FiveThirtyEight, the 49ers playoff chances are a nominal 3%, while Seattle is a virtual lock with a 94% probability of postseason play. This is to say that today's game is meaningless to both teams from the perspective of playoff implications. However, to be sure, this is a big rivalry. Seattle CB Richard Sherman expresses his disdain for WR Michael Crabtree and the 49ers at every opportunity, ensuring that the friction doesn't die down. After last week's lapse in psychological acuity resulted in embarrassment at the hands of one of the worst teams in the NFL, we think the 49ers be mentally centered today, and ready to give their all.

Happy betting!!

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