Atlanta Falcons (4-10) at San Francisco 49ers (10-4)
Colin Kaepernick has had his fair share of issues this season, but against teams that currently have a .500 or worse record this season, Colin Kaepernick has completed 97 of 156 (62.2%) for 1356 yards (8.69 YPA), 10 touchdowns, and no interceptions, while rushing for 230 yards and 3 touchdowns on 39 carries in 7 games. They’ve won all 7 of those games by an average of 21.57 points per game and covered each time. This is nothing new, as the 49ers are 23-11 ATS as favorites of 3 or more since Jim Harbaugh took over before the 2011 season.
That’s certainly the case here against a 4-10 Atlanta team, against whom they are favored by 12. Atlanta isn’t in a good spot here as they have to face Carolina next week in Atlanta. They won’t sleepwalk through this nationally televised 2012 NFC Championship rematch, but with such a big game coming up next week as well, they could easily not be as focused as they need to be to keep this one close. Teams are 37-67 ATS since 2012 before being home underdogs of 3 or more.
Also working against the Falcons is the fact that this is a night game on the West Coast against a West Coast opponent. While this game will run from 8:30 to about 11:30 or 12:00 on the Falcons’ internal clocks, it’ll run from 5:30 to 8:30 or 9:00 on the 49ers’ internal clock. While the Falcons’ will be internally winding down energy wise in the 2nd half, the 49ers will still be going. Sounds crazy? Well maybe a little, but West Coast teams are 48-20 ATS at night at home against East Coast teams since 1989 so there definitely seems to be something to this.
The only reason this isn’t a bigger play is because this line is a little big. The 49ers are moving the chains at a 69.90% rate, as opposed to 66.25% for their opponents, a differential of 3.65% that is 8th in the NFL. The Falcons, meanwhile, move the chains at a 73.38% rate, as opposed to 75.17% for their opponents, a differential of -1.79% that ranks 20th in the NFL. That suggests this line should be around 8.5, instead of 12, which is a big difference. Still, the 49ers’ average margin of victory against teams with losing records (21.57), the Falcons having to face the Panthers next week, and the time zone aspect are enough for me to be pretty confident in the 49ers.
San Francisco 49ers 34 Atlanta Falcons 16
Pick against spread: San Francisco -12