NFC Championship Game Preview: San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks

San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks
Sunday, 1/19/14, 6:30 PM EST
Opening Point Spread:  Seattle -3.5
Current Betting Line:  Seattle -3.5
Opening Total:  41
Current Total:  39.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The NFC Championship Game figures to be the most physical contest of the season
The NFC Championship Game figures to be the most physical contest of the season

San Francisco will make the franchise’s 15th appearance in the NFC title game, as it has picked up road victories over the Green Bay Packers and Carolina Panthers during the playoffs to reach this stage.  The 49ers will be focused on giving the ball to running back Frank Gore as much as possible, as they’ve gone 14-0 when he gets 25-or-more carries, which is important to consider when making your pro football picks.  He has 110 yards on 17 rushes in last month’s matchup, and is averaging 4.9 yards per carry in seven postseason games.  San Francisco is 7-5 SU and 8-3-1 ATS as underdogs the last two-plus seasons.

The 49ers will need a solid performance from quarterback Colin Kaepernick if they hope to advance to the Super Bowl for a second consecutive year, which is certainly possible due to his 4-1 postseason record, including a 3-0 mark on the road.  San Francisco has plenty of perimeter weapons at his disposal, including wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who has 30 receptions for 435 yards and a touchdown in seven games this season since making his debut on Dec. 1 after an Achilles injury.

Seattle is nearly unbeatable at CenturyLink Field due to the 12th Man that provides it the biggest home-field advantage in football, as it comes off a 23-15 victory over the New Orleans Saints as 10-point home favorites on Jan. 11.  The Seahawks have the ability to pound opponents with running back Marshawn Lynch, who gained 140 yards and scored two touchdowns in the Divisional round.  He’s averaged 112.5 yards and hit pay dirt four times in four home games in this series.  Seattle is 4-0 SUATS as home favorites of 3.5 to 7 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Seahawks will need a commendable effort from signal-caller Russell Wilson to provide balance to the offense, as he’s averaged just 157.6 passing yards in his last five games with four touchdowns and three interceptions.  Seattle won’t have wide receiver Percy Harvin available, as he suffered a concussion last week and has been officially ruled out.

Sports bettors will likely back the Seahawks due to their 4-0 ATS mark in their last four home games versus a team with a winning road record.

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