49ers

49ers-Saints odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 14 game

49ers-Saints odds, predictions: Betting lines, picks for NFL Week 14 game

For the third straight week, the 49ers will play in a potential playoff preview Sunday. 

The Niners (10-2) visit the NFC-leading New Orleans Saints (10-2) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, as San Francisco concludes a brutal three-week stretch that included games against the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens. Facing Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Saints quarterback Drew Brees in back-to-back-to-back weeks is no small feat, and it's clear 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is taking a matchup with Brees seriously. 

"Everyone knows he's one of the best quarterbacks in the league, and I still will say he's underrated," Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco earlier this week. "I mean, he's unbelievable. Any time he's on your team, you've got a chance to be a Super Bowl team every year, and I think that's why they've had a chance over the last 10 years."

The 40-year-old is by no means the first -- or last -- elite QB the 49ers have faced this season, but he might be the best. Among qualifying quarterbacks, Brees ranks eighth in passer rating (104.4), ninth in QBR (60.9) and first in completion percentage (73.8 percent).

[RELATED: 49ers' Kittle on pace for best tight end season in PFF era]

Can the 49ers stop Brees and pick up a much-needed win in the Big Easy? Here's how Las Vegas and experts around the country see the game playing out.

Line

Caesars: Saints -2
Consensus: Saints -2
Westgate: Saints -2
Wynn: Saints -2.5

Predictions

Nick Wagoner, ESPN: 49ers 27, Saints 20
Mike Triplett, ESPN: Saints 19, 49ers 17
Mike Florio, Pro Football Talk: 49ers 27, Saints 23
Michael David Smith: Saints 21, 49ers 20
Gregg Rosenthal, NFL Media: 49ers 24, Saints 20

Teams with defenses like 49ers' have great track record in Super Bowl

Teams with defenses like 49ers' have great track record in Super Bowl

The "Defense wins championships" adage didn't arise out of nowhere. It's a tried and true method tested over multiple decades of different eras of the NFL, and one that bodes well for the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV against the Kanas City Chiefs.

San Francisco finished the regular season with the No. 2-ranked defense in the league behind only the New England Patriots. The Niners have been even better on that side of the ball through two playoff contests, where they've held their opponents to nearly 30 fewer total yards per game. That defense will face arguably its toughest test all year long in Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, but based on history, there is reason to believe it will hold up.

As ESPN's Dan Orlovsky discussed on Tuesday morning's episode of "Get Up", teams with a top-two ranked defense have a very good track record in the Super Bowl. In fact, it has usually taken a Hall of Fame quarterback to overcome that defense.

Kansas City ranked fifth in the NFL during the regular season with an average of 28.2 points per game, but it's worth noting that Mahomes missed two games due to injury, and likely wasn't at full strength for several other contests. He appears to be fully healthy now, as the Chiefs have exploded for an average of 43.0 points per game in the playoffs. For comparison, the 49ers rank second among all postseason teams with an average of 32.0 points per game. While those previous top-two ranked defenses have given up an average of 18 points per game in the Super Bowl, it's unlikely San Francisco will be able to limit the Chiefs' high-flying offense to that degree, but even if they can get close, that might be enough to prove victorious.

[RELATED: 49ers, Chiefs show importance of bye weeks in NFL playoffs]

As great as the historical track record is for the 49ers, that Hall of Fame QB exception to the rule likely will keep the team from puffing its chest too much before the Big Game. Mahomes is only in his third professional season and second as a starting quarterback, but it sure looks like he'll eventually wind up in Canton.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).

Super Bowl 54: Why history is on 49ers' side as underdogs vs. Chiefs

Super Bowl 54: Why history is on 49ers' side as underdogs vs. Chiefs

As the dust settled Sunday and the two teams competing in Super Bowl LIV were revealed, the early odds have the 49ers as one-point underdogs against reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.

While that margin shows that the sportsbooks clearly are torn on who they see coming out on top, it does indicate that there’s a slight consensus among bettors that Kansas City is the better team.

But if past records are any indication, the 49ers should embrace the underdog role.

"Let's not forget that in 28 career starts, Jimmy Garoppolo is 23-5," Fox Sports 1's Todd Fuhrman said on Tuesday's episode of "Lock It In." "Let's not discount his abilities and what he can do in this particular stage."

[RELATED: 49ers, Chiefs show importance of bye weeks in NFL playoffs]

There’s still plenty of time between now and kickoff at Hard Rock Stadium, so expect the lines to shift over that span.

But it might just be the time to throw down that bet while the odds still are in your favor.

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (5:30 p.m. Monday and Wednesday; 8:00 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday; 6:00 p.m. Friday).