Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:56 AM
MNF - Seahawks at 49ers
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Seattle at San Francisco (-6.5, 47.5), 8:15 pm ET, ESPN
Monday Night Football is finally putting on a game people should cancel plans for just to make sure they’re able to watch.
When the season began, neither of these teams were favored to win even the NFC West, so schedule-makers shouldn’t be taking a bow. In fact, the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook had the 49ers at +180 to make the playoffs and the Seahawks at +135. They’re not in the business of giving away money, so few could’ve foreseen that the Week 10 finale would match two of the conference top-four. San Francisco (8-0 SU, 5-3 ATS) has already dominated once on the Monday stage and is the final remaining unbeaten. Seattle (7-2, 4-5) is off to its best start since opening 11-1 in 2013. The Seahawks, who ironically suffered their second loss that season at the Niners, went on to win the Super Bowl.
There’s a very good chance that one of these teams taking the field on what’s expected to be a clear, windy night in Santa Clara will end up in Miami for Super Bowl LIV.
The 49ers are the only team in the NFL besides the Patriots with a point-differential of over 100, having outscored opponents 235-102, an average score of roughly 29-13. Five of their victories have come on the road and they’ve only failed to cash three times after surrendering a late touchdown against Arizona last time out to let the Cards pull off a backdoor cover. The 25 points they surrendered on Halloween night were a season-high and more than doubled the output against them over their previous four October games that saw them give up just 23.
This will be a major test to see if that defense can rebound, especially since they’ll be going up against the MVP favorite Russell Wilson without LB Kwon Alexander, who has been lost for the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral last Tuesday. Wilson is 24-5-1 in primetime games, making him the biggest winner among QBs in such games since the merger.
This is going to be an immense test for Jimmy Garoppolo too. The quarterback was injured last season and had mostly experienced NFL life through backing up Tom Brady, so he is really going through all these big games for the first time. Pete Carroll will have blitzes and disguised defenses up his sleeve to try and force turnovers and spark an issue back up that Garoppolo has only recently been able to overcome.
Seattle has dominated the regular-season series in winning 12 of the last 14 meetings – details at the bottom – but lost the most recent matchup last December in a game started by backup Nick Mullens. A Richie James 97-yard kickoff return helped San Francisco find its footing early and it eventually won at home 26-23 to snap a 10-game losing streak in the series. The 49ers are prepared to stop being regarded as a surprise and look to begin their ascent to previous heights.
The Seahawks are intent on making sure that doesn’t happen. Wilson’s ability to keep plays alive should prove handy against the conference’s stingiest defense, especially given the pass rushers they bring to the table. He was sacked three times in last season’s loss but will get a new toy to work with in Josh Gordon, who strengthens a receiving corps that has excelled due to the efforts of Tyler Lockett and rookie DK Metcalf.
Seattle has won five of six, but only one of its victories has come against a team with a winning record. The Seahawks are 4-0 on the road, but all of the games have been close and only one was an upset. This will be a proving ground for both teams, but my expectation is that we’ll be taking the 49ers and Seahawks seriously come January regardless of what transpires at Levi’s Stadium tonight. The divisional rematch will be played Week 17 at Century Link Field on Dec. 29. If the Seahawks are hoping to win the NFC West and compete for homefield advantage come playoffs, they’ll need to find a way to hand San Francisco its first loss here.
The total on this game opened at 45 and has been pushed up to 47.5 as of Monday morning. Seattle enters this game with a 5-4 ‘over’ mark while San Francisco has watched the ‘under’ produce a 5-3 record. VegasInsider.com totals expert Chris David took a closer look at the total for this divisional matchup.
“After watching the ‘under’ go 19-10 in divisional games through the first six weeks of the season, we’ve seen the ‘over’ go 9-5 the last four weeks and that includes a 2-2 record in Week 10. I believe all things usually balance out in the long run and I would expect more high side tickets to cash in these spots, especially in rematch games.”
The ‘over’ went 2-0 in this series last year but the total results have flip-flopped over the past three seasons between the pair. Meaning, the ‘under’ was 2-0 in the 2017 series but the ‘over’ was 2-0 in 2016. The Seahawks have been the more consistent team offensively during this stretch, averaging 27.3 PPG but Seattle isn’t expected to score as many points on Monday. The team total on the ‘Hawks is listed at 20 ½. David believes Seattle will eclipse that number.
“After watching some big underdogs connect on Sunday, nothing should surprise you in the NFL anymore and an outright win by Seattle certainly wouldn’t be a stunner. I believe the Seahawks have a shot to win and if they’re going to get the job done, then the offense will have to carry them,” David said. “Seattle has covered six straight games as a road underdog (4-2 SU) and the offense has averaged 28.5 PPG in those decisions. Even though the Niners defense is ranked second in scoring (12.8 PPG), I don’t believe they’ve faced a formidable offense. Wilson has been the best passing QB in the league this season and I believe he’ll expose this unit, similar to what Baltimore did to New England in Week 9 on SNF.”
Bettors should note that favorites have gone 10-0 SU and 7-3 ATS on Monday Night Football this season while the ‘under’ has produced a 7-3 record. The majority of these results were clear-cut with seven of the 10 decisions decided by double digits.
Projected season win total: 9 (Over +100, Under -120)
Odds to win NFC West (pre-Week 1/current): 5/2 to 7/2
Odds to win NFC (pre-Week 1/current): 9/1 to 12/1
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 20/1 to 25/1
San Francisco 49ers
Projected season win total: 8 (Over -140, Under +120)
Odds to win NFC West (pre-Week 1/current): 4/1 to 1/4
Odds to win NFC (pre-Week 1/current): 20/1 to 5/2
Odds to win Super Bowl (pre-Week 1/current): 40/1 to 7/1
Caesars' Senior Oddsmaker Alan Berg provides insights from behind the counter.
"The game got immediate sharp action at -6.5 and pretty good action at 6 both ways. The George Kittle injury didn’t really cause any ripples. I’d think we kick at 6 or 6.5," said Berg, whose valuable observations can be found on Twitter at @PercentBerg. "It seems like a game where we would prefer the 49ers win but don’t cover."
Kittle’s knee injury finally sidelining him after he’s attempted to play through discomfort over the past few weeks is major news, so unless he suits up at the last minute, San Francisco will look to survive with second-year tight end Ross Dwelley and Levine Toilolo, who is attempting to return from a groin injury. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk, the NFL’s best at his position, will return for the first time since Week 5 and should help soften the blow of Kittle’s absence. Tackle Mike McGlinchey is also returning for the first time in over a month, while veteran tackle Joe Staley is expected back for the first time since Week 2. McGlinchey is the only one of those returning whose availability remains in doubt, so check on that closer to kickoff.
Alexander had been tremendous for the defense, so it’s no indictment of rookie Dre Greenlaw that a dropoff is expected. The fifth-round pick from Arkansas will likely be tested often. Corner Ahkello Witherspoon is dealing with a foot sprain and a quad injury, so he’s unlikely to be back in the mix. Kicker Robbie Gould is also dealing with a quad injury and isn’t expected to be available either. Rookie Chase McLaughlin, who worked with the Chargers while Michael Badgley was on the mend, was signed over the weekend to fill-in.
Most of Seattle’s concerns lie up front, but it got good news with tackle Duane Brown (biceps, knee) expected to play. Center Joey Hunt is a go. Guard Phil Haynes (ankle) is questionable but likely to play as well, which eases the blow of having lost center Justin Britt and versatile Ethan Pocic in October. Safety Tedric Thompson was also lost for the season last month, so getting safety Delano Hill back would be a plus for the Seahawks, who are healthier than they’ve been in weeks. They’ll also have newly acquired Quandre Diggs out there after he’s been dealing with a hamstring issue, not to mention adding the aforementioned Gordon to the offensive mix.
(Seahawks 12-2 SU, 9-4-1 ATS last 14, UNDER 8-6)
12/16/18 49ers 26-23 OT vs. Seahawks (SF +3.5, 44)
12/2/18 Seahawks 43-16 vs. 49ers (SEA -10, 45.5)
11/26/17 Seahawks 24-13 at 49ers (SEA -7, 45)
9/17/17 Seahawks 12-9 vs. 49ers (SF +13.5, 42)
1/1/17 Seahawks 25-23 at 49ers (SF +11.5, 45)
9/25/16 Seahawks 37-18 vs. 49ers (SEA -10.5, 42)
11/22/15 Seahawks 29-13 vs. 49ers (SEA -13.5, 40)
10/22/15 Seahawks 20-3 at 49ers (SEA -6.5, 42)
12/14/14 Seahawks 17-7 vs. 49ers (SEA -9.5, 38)
11/27/14 Seahawks 19-3 at 49ers (SEA +1.5, 40.5)
1/19/14 Seahawks 23-17 vs. 49ers (SEA -4, 40.5)
12/8/13 49ers 19-17 vs. Seahawks (SF-2, 41)
9/15/13 Seahawks 29-3 vs. 49ers (SEA -2.5, 43.5)
12/23/12 Seahawks 42-13 vs. 49ers (SEA -2, 40.5)
NEXT WEEK'S NUMBERS POSTED
The Westgate opens its advance lines for the following week on Tuesdays and Week 11 currently has the 49ers as a 14-point home favorite against division rival Arizona, which will come in on a three-game losing streak as the lone NFC South team sporting a sub-.500 record. The Seahawks will be on their bye week.
Follow Tony Mejia on Twitter at @TonyMejiaNBA