Monday Night Football Picks: Niners Showing Heart, Even If Banged Up
To say the San Francisco 49ers have had a rough time of it this season would be an understatement. They’ve had a load of injuries, and have somehow remained alive in the playoff race. Now they have been uprooted. Local restrictions that have been imposed in Santa Clara forced them to go somewhere else. So they have been practicing in Arizona. And they will play a couple of home games at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ.
At 5-6 (both straight-up and against the spread), they encounter the Buffalo Bills (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS). It’s ESPN’s Monday Night Football game, which BetOnline customers will be able to see at 8:15 PM ET.
Bills – Where they stand
The Bills (8-3 SU, 6-5 ATS) are one game ahead of the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East. Their only loss in the last five games came by way of a Hail Mary (or rather ‘Hail Murray’) pass against Arizona. So they have already played on this field, just three weeks ago.
And you can’t argue very much with the level of opposition they’ve played. Aside from Miami and New England within their own division, they’ve already squared off against the Rams, Raiders, Titans, Chiefs and Seahawks, as well as the Cardinals.
Niners – Where they stand
The Niners have lost quite a bit of personnel. And it seemed to stem from the September 20 game at MetLife against the Jets. On that date, about a dozen players came down with one injury or another. As of right now, they have had to go without standouts like Nick Bosa, Solomon Thomas, Dee Ford, Ziggy Ansah, Richard Sherman, Jimmy Garoppolo, Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel and more.
It’s a credit to head coach Kyle Shanahan and defensive coordinator Robert Saleh that they have held things together. And they are by no means out of the playoff picture, although it will be an uphill battle. They will have to win this week, and against Seattle and Arizona in rematches.
Sherman, Samuel and Mostert are available again, although Nick Mullens is still subbing for Jimmy G at quarterback.
Here are the numbers
In the Monday Night Football odds posted at BetOnline, the Niners are a slight favorite:
|Bills||+1 (-110)||47½ (-105)||-105|
|49ers||-1 (-110)||47½ (-115)||-115|
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Should the Niners be favored?
Consider the injury situation with San Francisco. Not to mention the fact that Buffalo doesn’t appear to be on a downslide. And that there is no “home field advantage” for the 49ers. Why would they be favored here?
Well, maybe that is a reasonable question. But the Bills have posted the kind of numbers that indicate things might catch up to them sooner or later. For example, the offense is just 23rd in yards per drive. And on defense, they’ve surrendered 4.7 yards per carry, and they are dead last in “Second Level Yards,” which means they are in trouble if the Niners can break a running play beyond the line of scrimmage.
Mullens’ receivers have averaged more yards after the catch than any other QB. So San Francisco should be able to work play-action to their benefit. We’re comfortable moving with them here, even if they’re a little far from home.
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