Why Vegas Is Correct in Saying 49ers Are Favorites on Sunday

Chris Trapasso@ChrisTrapassoAnalyst IJanuary 18, 2013

Jan 12, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) passes the ball against the Green Bay Packers during the second quarter of the NFC divisional round playoff game at Candlestick Park.  Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

All the Atlanta Falcons did was go 13-3 in the regular season, 7-1 at home, send three offensive players to the Pro Bowl and beat the hottest team in the NFC in the divisional round.

How did Vegas reward them? 

By making them five-point underdogs at home (h/t Bovada) in the NFC title game against the No. 2-seeded San Francisco 49ers, making them the biggest home underdogs in a conference championship game in over 30 years. 

Not to mention, Atlanta's arguably elite quarterback has a 34-6 career record inside the Georgia Dome.

How nice of Sin City. 

But no, Vegas does not have a grudge against the Falcons, the City of Atlanta or Matt Ryan

It correctly listed the 49ers as favorites on Sunday. 

While the five-point spread initially appears to be relatively outrageous considering San Francisco's 5-3 road record during the regular season, when considering all factors, a spread within the three-point-to-five-point range is accurate.

These 49ers—the vastly talented team lead by the innovative coaching style of Jim Harbaugh—have demonstrated some worrisome inconsistency this season, which could lead one to believe the five-point spread is a little steep.

But in reality, with Colin Kaepernick under center, San Francisco has been the better, more capable team.

The zone-read, or read-option—whatever you want to call it—is a nightmarish wrinkle for defenses to stop, and it puts significant strain on defensive ends. 

You think Harbaugh will frequently test the banged up John Abraham? 

You can bet on that one.

Not only can Kaepernick destroy a defense with his deceptive speed, he's also a fine thrower of the football.

Remember, Wilson went 385 yards through the air a week ago.

Defensively, the 49ers boast the two most well-rounded linebackers in the game, and it is likely a slower, less invigorated Michael Turner will be seen. 

For this one, he doesn't have the luxury of two weeks rest.

No, the 49ers aren't a lock to beat the Falcons in Atlanta, but they are rightfully road favorites in the NFC title game.

 

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