The San Francisco 49'ers look to run over the wounded Cleveland Browns this weekend in Candlestick Park. See what number sportsbook odds makers are asking Alex Smith and the Niners to cover, and find out if it is worth betting on.
Take away Tony Romo's heroics in Week 2 of the season, and
there would still be two undefeated teams in the NFL. Even with that defeat at the hands of Dallas, the San
Francisco 49ers still have a stranglehold on the NFC
West as they come off a bye week with a home matchup against the Cleveland
Bookmaker came out with an 8.5-point line favoring the
Niners, while other NFL betting shops went 9.5-10 with their openers for the 4:15 PM (ET)
kickoff this Sunday on CBS. The spread
had settled in at a consensus 9.5 by late Monday.
NFL odds makers all agreed on a 39.5-point opening total for
Sunday's battle, with that number dropping a point to 38.5.
The bye week should have given San
Francisco first year head coach Jim Harbaugh time to cool off a bit
following his postgame run-in with Detroit's
Jim Schwartz in Week 6. The two got into
a little pushing and shouting match after the 49ers handed the Lions their
first loss of the season as 5-point road dogs. Neither coach was fined for the altercation, and Harbaugh now hopes that
the off week didn't cool his squad's fast start to the campaign.
NFL bettors are hoping the Niners money machine wasn't
interrupted with the bye week. San Francisco has been one of the most profitable NFL picks this season, covering the spread in every game except their 27-24 Week 2 loss to the Cowboys, and that game pushed on the
-3 odds. This is by far the biggest
number San Francisco has been asked to cover, with the 49ers receiving points
in four of their six games.
San Fran was 6-point home chalk in the season opener against
covering with the 33-17 victory. If this
38.5-point total sticks, it will be the lowest since the 38-point mark in that
same Seahawks matchup. The 49ers are 4-2
O/U entering this week's contest.
Those OVER payouts certainly aren't due to their defense
that ranks second behind the Ravens allowing 16.2 points per game. The hiccups have come against Dallas and Philadelphia
who each had big days through the air vs. the 49ers, but with the season Colt
McCoy is having for the Browns, it's difficult to imagine him having the same
kind of success that Romo and Michael Vick enjoyed.
is only scoring 16.2 points per game, among the worst in the NFL. The Browns'
scoreboard impotence reached its nadir last week with six whole points on their
own field...and it was enough to still beat the Seahawks, 6-3. How any team manages close to a 43:17 time of
possession margin and only scores six points is beyond me.
The bad news for the Browns is that it could all be on McCoy's
shoulders to provide the offense this week. Four key components are questionable on the early injury reports,
headlined by top running back Peyton Hillis (hamstring) who missed last week's
thriller at Browns Stadium. Hillis'
replacement, Montario Hardesty, did rush for 95 yards, but it took him 33
Tight end Ben Watson and wideout Mohamed Massaquoi each
suffered concussions this past Sunday, and right guard Shawn Lauvao is questionable
with a knee injury.
It's just the third meeting between the two franchises, with
and covering the previous two (2003, 2007). This version of the Browns was a 7.5-point underdog in 2003 when the
reborn franchise made its only visit to Candlestick, pulling off the 13-12
Taking a Chance: Unless McCoy is going to get some of those
injured pieces to his offense back, expecting the Browns to score more than 14-16
is a tough sell, but this is supposedly the year of offense. It's also difficult, despite his fine start,
to have a lot of faith in Alex Smith on a 9.5-point line. When the UNDER looks too easy, I always bet
the OVER. My pick is San Fran, 27-17, on
a beautiful afternoon in San Francisco.