The San Francisco 49ers were narrowly edged by the Baltimore Ravens in a much-anticipated game that lived up to the hype, could have easily gone the other way and literally came down to the final second as Justin Tucker kicked the game-winning field goal for a final score of 17-20. But the Niners have no time to dwell on that defeat as they now face another stiff road test against a team that many are calling the best team in the NFC in the New Orleans Saints. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

When: Sunday December 8th, 2019 at 10:00am PST (FOX)
Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
Line: 49ers +3, o/u 44

New Orleans Saints
The Saints took care of the Atlanta Falcons 26-18 on Thanksgiving evening, giving them a little more time to rest for their Week 14 contest.

After thirteen weeks, New Orleans ranks 5th in Football Outsiders' weighted total DVOA at 25.3 percent (represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games), 6th in offensive weighted DVOA at 13.6 percent and 5th in weighted defensive DVOA at -10.1 percent.

The Saints' offense ranks 13th with 361.4 yards per game, 9th with 24.8 points per game, 9th with 254.1 passing yards per game and 17th with 107.3 rushing yards per game. New Orleans' defense is 10th in giving up 323.5 yards per game, 12th in yielding 20.7 points per game, 17th with 234.9 passing yards conceded per game and 3rd in allowing 88.6 rushing yards per game.

The Saints' offensive line is ranked 1st in run blocking and 7th in pass protection. New Orleans' defensive line ranks 8th in adjusted line yards and 7th in adjusted sack rate. Drew Brees ranks 12th with a DYAR of 431 and 9th with a total QBR of 61.0. The Saints have an ESPN Football Power Index (FPI) score of 5.6 and are 8-4 ATS and 6-6 to the over/under so far this season.

San Francisco 49ers
Through thirteen weeks, San Francisco is ranked 2nd in weighted DVOA at 33.0 percent, 10th in weighted offensive DVOA at 4.4 percent and 2nd in weighted defensive DVOA at -27.6 percent.

The 49ers' offense is 6th with 378.0 yards per game, 2nd with 29.1 points per game, 16th with 230.0 passing yards per game and 2nd with 148.0 rushing yards per game. San Francisco's defense is 1st in allowing 250.9 yards per game, 2nd by conceding 15.3 points per game, 1st in giving up 134.3 passing yards per game and 22nd in yielding 116.7 rushing yards per game.

The Niners' offensive line is ranked 12th in run blocking and 9th in pass protection. San Francisco's defensive line is 14th in adjusted line yards and 1st in adjusted sack rate. Jimmy Garoppolo ranks 10th with a DYAR of 541 and 12th with a total QBR of 58.4. The Niners have an ESPN FPI score of 8.4 and are 7-4-1 ATS and 5-7 to the over/under this season.

Prediction
Several factors play into New Orleans' favor in this contest, including having the advantage of playing at home with longer rest against a Niners team that will be playing in its second consecutive road game at the early start time after San Francisco played an emotional and physical contest against the best team in the NFL.

Some might say that the 49ers might be due for a letdown, especially in the famed Superdome against a Hall of Fame quarterback in Drew Brees, but both the Saints' home-field advantage and Drew Brees might not be the same as they once were. New Orleans is 3-3 ATS at home this season and since coming off of their Week 9 bye, the Saints lost to the Falcons 9-26 as 14 point favorites in Week 10 at home and barely scraped by the Carolina Panthers 34-31 as 10 point favorites in Week 12 at home, needing Carolina to miss a 28-yard field goal with two minutes remaining in that game to win on a last second field goal.

Could one imagine the 49ers giving up 31 points and almost losing the game to the Carolina Panthers at home this season?

We've seen the Niners' defense struggle against mobile quarterbacks but do well by pressuring traditional pocket passers, and Drew Brees is a traditional pocket passer who had hand surgery that kept him out until Week 8 and he and New Orleans have not faced a defense like San Francisco's this season. New Orleans plays in one of the weaker divisions in the NFL this year and among all of the Saints' 2019 opponents so far, the Chicago Bears have the highest ranked weighted defensive DVOA at 7th.

Some of the toll of playing back-to-back road games at the early start time will be somewhat neutralized by the Niners deciding to stay in Florida at the IMG Academy after Week 13, not unlike how they stayed in Youngstown, Ohio following their Week 1 game in Tampa Bay; and after watching Seattle beat Minnesota in Week 13, we anticipate that San Francisco knows the stakes of this match up with New Orleans and will not allow a let down in a game with such monumental playoff implications.

We had New Orleans winning this game in our preseason analysis but expect San Francisco's offense to be at much closer to full strength than it has been in recent weeks, with Jimmy Garoppolo finding some success in the passing game, and for the defense to significantly disrupt Drew Brees and the New Orleans offense in another close, lower scoring game. San Francisco has not lost a game by more than 3 points all year and is 2.8 points higher than New Orleans in ESPN FPI score. If one considers home field advantage being worth 3 points, then this line should be closer to even, so if you can still get 3 points with San Francisco, they're worth taking. Pick: 49ers +3

Season:
SU: 6-6
ATS: 4-8

Poll

  • What is your best bet for Niners at Saints on 12/8/19?
  • 49ers +3
  • Saints -3
  • Over 44
  • Under 44