NFL Odds: Seahawks at 49ers Predictions and NFL Picks
by Trevor Whenham - 9/6/2011
Seattle at San Francisco
Sunday, Sept. 11, 4:15 p.m. EST
When I think of Pete Carroll at Jim Harbaugh I really wish I was still watching college football. Those two had a couple of great matchups when Carroll was at USC and Harbaugh was at Stanford.
What we saw back then is a lot more exciting than what this game has the potential to be. There are some reasons to be optimistic about portions of both teams, and it seems reasonable to believe both coaches are moving in the right direction.
Both of these divisional rivals have some glaring issues, though, and it is quite likely that this game will be sloppy and, at times, almost unwatchable. Let me put it this way -- I am very confident that this will be a much more compelling contest three years from now than it will be on Sunday.
Seahawks at 49ers Betting Storylines
When you are deciding which side to back in this one you are going to have to focus on the quarterback position. More specifically, which of the two fairly unpalatable situations make you slightly less uneasy.
Alex Smith is the starter for the Niners as he has been at least unofficially since Harbaugh took the job last winter. While he had a decent preseason, he is facing yet another change in offensive coordinators and philosophy and we have seen in the past that he is far from the most adaptable guy out there. He also has yet to really consistently cement himself as a bona-fide starting quarterback in the league despite an obvious combination of intellect and abilities.
Seattle is going with Tarvaris Jackson under center after he beat out Charlie Whitehurst in one of the least inspiring quarterback contests in recent history. Jackson is finally getting a chance to be the top guy after his time and frustration in Minnesota, but I am far from convinced that he is ready to step up and shine in the spotlight. In fact, I’m fairly confident that the decision to jettison Matt Hasselbeck in favor of Jackson is going to look pretty silly by the time December rolls around.
For the Seahawks you also have to consider the impact that change is going to have on the team. Carroll has had control of this team for just a year and a half, but already he has overturned virtually everything -- only 16 players with the team now were with them when Carroll was hired.
While many of the changes make sense, there are still a lot of key players no longer around, and a lot of guys who will be relied upon -- Sidney Rice, Zach Miller, Robert Gallery, Jackson, and so on -- who have to fit into a new system. Growing pains are probably inevitable.
Given that he team was only 27th overall in defense and 28th overall in offense last year, growing pains could lead to ugly performance early on.
Change is a big story for the Niners as well. Besides the coaching staff, they lost a starting center and four defensive starters to free agency, so a lot of solid pieces have moved on. They made some bold gambles to replace what was lost -- particularly at receiver and in the secondary.
Growing pains are likely here as well, though it will certainly help that they have the most competent coaching staff and clearest direction that they have had in a long, long time.
Seahawks at 49ers NFL Odds and Betting Trends
The Niners opened as 5.5-point favorites, according to NFL odds, and the line has shown little movement, though it can be found at 5.0 in some places. The total opened at 41, but a lack of confidence in either quarterback has seen that number fall to 38.
The teams have each covered five of their last 10 meetings, and two of their last four over the course of the last two seasons. The home team has covered each of their last four games. In those four games they have gone ‘under’ the total twice and a third was a push. Seattle went ‘over’ in 10 of their last 11 games last year.
Seahawks at 49ers Predictions and NFL Picks
To me this one is kind of like deciding which disease I would rather catch. At this point I don’t like where either team is at.
Over the longer term I am more confident in Harbaugh and his ability to build a winner. Right now, though, he is dealing with a lot of holes and a short offseason to implement the many changes he needs to. Carroll’s rebuilding task is just as immense, but he has a one-year head start, and that makes a big difference here.
While I wouldn’t be surprised if San Francisco wins, I think that the spread is too big, and favor the Seahawks. The total is trending in the right direction in my eyes, though at 38 it’s a bit lower than ideal, so though I lean to the ‘under’ I won’t be betting on it.
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