Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, December 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM
Up until midseason, Saturday Night’s scheduled NFL showdown between the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers was shaping up as a real doozy. Both were playoff contenders in 2014. San Francisco had played in the last three NFC Championship games while San Diego was an up-and-comer that gave Denver all it could handle last January. This would surely be a huge matchup with playoff implications that might also involve a Super Bowl sleeper.
NOT GOING TO HAPPEN!
San Francisco was eliminated from playoff contention with a loss in Seattle last week (their third straight loss). But, they hadn’t looked like a playoff team since a road win in New Orleans several weeks earlier. And, even that became polluted as other visitors won in the SuperDome. San Diego has been playing hurt for awhile, and just lost back-to-back home games to New England and Denver. The Chargers still have a shot to earn a Wildcard in the AFC. But, if you can’t win home games over the conference’s elite, you’re not likely to matter in January if you’re still playing.
Both teams are 3-5 straight up their last eight games. They were playoff caliber teams in September and parts of October. Since then, not so much.
So, a bit of a letdown in terms of what could have been. But, it’s still a prime time game you’re going to watch on CBS. Let’s see if JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats will help us pick a winner…
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
San Diego: 8-6 (#4 schedule in USA Today)
San Francisco: 7-7 (#7 schedule in USA Today)
Both teams have played killer schedules. So, those 3-5 records over the last eight games are false reads in terms of true team quality. But, the pair is clearly playing worse than the best teams in their conferences…while also struggling to win impressively vs. lesser lights when they show up on the schedule. Just not good enough! Slight edge to the Chargers who have the better record vs. the tougher schedule…and at least appear to be trying while the Niners are slowly disintegrating as the Jim Harbaugh era comes to an end.
San Diego: 5.4 on offense, 5.4 on defense
San Francisco: 5.0 on offense, 5.1 on defense
Also a slight edge here to the visitor, with a fractional advantage in differential against the tougher schedule. San Francisco does have the better defense though. Frankly, both teams have been playing a lot of grinders lately. If the Chargers have mentally thrown in the towel on the season, then we may see a quickly played low scoring yawner. Keep the Under on your radar as a possibility.
San Diego: -2
San Francisco: +4
Very disappointing mark for the Chargers, who have a veteran quarterback and an offensive guru as a head coach. Teams like that are supposed to excel in the risk/reward ratio. San Francisco is on the right size of zero, but well off their past peaks. They used to own this category with a safe and simple offense on one side of the ball, and a very aggressive hard-hitting defense on the other. More evidence that neither of these teams was really good enough to matter this year.
San Diego: 6-8
San Francisco: 6-7-1
All things considered, those aren’t disastrous records. The market caught on to San Francisco’s reduced level of play fairly quickly. San Diego was 6-6 ATS before running into the two AFC powers the past two Sundays. The market had them overrated, but it could have been a lot worse for backers.
Current Line: San Francisco by 1.5, total of 41
San Francisco is the home team. You can see that the line is below the three points generally allotted for home field advantage. The market agrees with our indicator stats that San Diego is the slightly better team. Handicappers will have to determine if San Francisco is now so far in the tank that they’re not going to compete with anybody. Remember that they lost to lowly Oakland by 11 points two games ago! If neither team shows up mentally, we’re probably looking at a 20-17 coin flip that stays Under the total because both teams want to run clock and go home. If San Diego shows up with some passion…they become a smart play.
JIM HURLEY will be working very closely with his on-site sources so he has the right read on this game. There’s a winner there for bettors with the right information! You can purchase the final word for Saturday’s NFL and bowl action right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-888-777-4155.
We have truly CRITICAL pro football games to talk about the next two days here in the NOTEBOOK. Here’s the schedule for Christmas Week…
Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Seattle at Arizona on NBC
Monday: NFL TV Preview…Denver at Cincinnati on ESPN
Tuesday: Boca Raton Bowl Preview…Marshall vs. Northern Illinois
Wednesday: Hawaii Bowl Preview…Fresno State vs. Rice
Thursday: Early Look...Rutgers vs. North Carolina in Friday’s Quick Lane Bowl
Friday: St. Petersburg Bowl Preview…North Carolina State vs. Central Florida
Saturday: Holiday Bowl Preview…Nebraska vs USC
It’s a great time to be a football fan. You’re going to watch all the action on TV…be sure you WATCH AND WIN with WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY!
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