The San Francisco 49ers play their last game in Candlestick Park tonight when they face the Atlanta Falcons in the last Monday Night Football game of the regular season.
Some handicappers give San Francisco a big edge in this game simply on motivation and emotion as the team plays for the last time in Candlestick.
Adding to San Francisco’s motivation is the fact the Arizona Cardinals defeated the Seattle Seahawks and the 49ers must win on Monday to at least secure a postseason spot in the NFC this week.
With those circumstances and given the strength of their roster, it is no surprise odds makers such as sportsbook.com and betonline have San Francisco as a 14-point favorite. The 49ers have been a profitable team this season going 9-4-1 ATS.
This season for San Francisco has just been a continuation of the trend the team has had since Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach three seasons ago. Since that time, San Francisco is 31-17-3 ATS, while going 17-8-1 ATS in home games over that same period.
Atlanta this season is a dismal 4-10 SU and 5-9 ATS. However, the Falcons have shown some spark of late covering in three of their past four games and winning two of them straight up.
However, the current team is nothing in comparison to the one that lost to San Francisco in the 2012 NFC Championship Game.
The game however will not be easy for San Francisco. Atlanta have one intangible in their favor, as Tony Gonzalez a future Hall of Famer at tight end is playing in the homestretch of a remarkable NFL career.
Not since December of 2007, when the Falcons played Tampa Bay have they been such big underdogs. In that game, the Falcons lost on the road to Tampa Bay 37-3.
The most current line as of Monday morning on Bovada and topbet had San Francisco favored by 14 points with the point total at 46.
In the NFC title matchup in 2012, the passing game for Atlanta frustrated San Francisco, as Matt Ryan the Falcons quarterback had close to 400 yards.
However, this season Ryan has played much of it without Julio Jones at wide receiver due to an injured foot. Helping out in Jones’ absence has been Roddy White and Harry Douglas, with Gonzalez grabbing short passes.
However, Atlanta will be facing one of the best defenses in the NFL. The 49ers pass defense has been its strength this season. San Francisco has only allowed opponents to convert a third of the time on third down.
San Francisco offensively finally has a full contingent of receivers with Michael Crabtree back from his Achilles injury. With Crabtree, Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis at tight end, the group is a formidable receiving corps.
One the ground, Frank Gore has rushed for 1,017 yards and 8 touchdowns. Atlanta’s defense has been unable to stop the rush or pass this season.
The Falcons are just 3-6 ATS this season when an underdog and the 49ers feast on bad teams in the NFL.
Pick: Lay the points and take the 49ers.