The San Francisco 49ers (6-4 SU, 5-5 ATS) will be eyeing sole possession of first place in the NFC West when they host the slumping New Orleans Saints (4-7, 4-7) on Sunday in NFL Week 12 action.

The Niners return home riding a four-game win streak after rolling to a 38-10 win over Arizona in last week’s Monday Night Football matchup in Mexico City, but remain deadlocked with Seattle atop the division standings. The Saints are coming off a 27-20 win over the underachieving Los Angeles Rams, but have failed to tally consecutive victories during a dismal 3-7 run that features three straight road losses.  

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Saints vs 49ers Betting Preview

Saints vs 49ers Opening Odds

The 49ers have vaulted to 9.5-point favorites since opening as 8.5-point chalk, and the total has also risen to 43 since opening at 41.5. Sunday afternoon’s matchup is the third meeting in four seasons between these NFC rivals but marks the first trip to the Bay Area by the Saints since 2016.

These teams have taken turns claiming victory over their past four clashes, capped by the Saints’ decisive 27-13 home win back in November 2020. Overall, the Niners have escaped with victories in four of the last seven dates with New Orleans after a six-game slide in head-to-head action.

These two teams have combined to score over 50 total points in five of their past seven matchups, spawning a 6-2 run for the OVER in totals betting. Road teams have also enjoyed steady success, earning the win in four of their past six meetings.

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Saints face Challenge to Maintain Offensive Momentum

The Saints seized their opportunity in last weekend’s home date with the rapidly fading Rams, overcoming a halftime deficit for the first time in seven games on their way to an impressive 27-20 victory. Quarterback Andy Dalton led the charge, avoiding the pick for the first time in three games while tossing three touchdown passes to seal the win. 

Last week’s victory marked a welcome offensive resurgence for the Saints, who averaged just 11.5 points per game during a preceding two-game slide and scored 14 or fewer points on four occasions during a 4-7 start to the season. Overall, this team has mustered just 19.3 points per game during its 0-3 road run and has yet to claim a win against the spread on the road this season.

And while Dalton managed to connect on a season-high 84.0 percent of pass attempts in his steadiest outing of the campaign in last weekend’s win over the Rams, duplicating that effort will be a massive challenge against a 49ers defense that has allowed just two total scoring passes and a mere 13.3 points per game during their current 3-0 run. 

Jimmy G, Dominant D Powering Niners’ Rise in Standings

The 49ers overcame a somewhat slow start on Monday night to rack up a third straight victory in dominating fashion. Jimmy Garoppolo led the assault with a breakthrough performance, throwing for 228 yards and four touchdowns while completing 69.0 percent of his pass attempts. Jimmy G’s performance has silenced – at least temporarily – naysayers who continue to view the pivot as the weak link on a team that should otherwise be considered a Super Bowl contender.

However, Garoppolo has remained steady since taking over the reins from injured starter Trey Lance, throwing for 12 touchdowns over his past six starts while completing 69.5 percent of pass attempts. Tight end George Kittle and receiver Brandon Aiyuk each caught two scoring passes Monday night and have now combined to rack up six scores over the past three games.

Equally important has been the stout performance of the Niners defense, which tallied one pick and forced two turnovers on downs while slamming the door on the Arizona attack after recess in Monday’s win. That marked the third straight game in which the 49ers have held opponents scoreless after the half.

Saints: Keys to Win

While Andy Dalton has been steady if not spectacular since taking over under center, he must find a way to build on last week’s three-TD performance and avoid reverting to the form that produced six picks over his previous four games. The Saints could also benefit from another stout performance from their defensive line, which has recorded 17 sacks over the past four games, while avoiding spotting the Niners an early and quite possibly insurmountable lead.

49ers: Keys to Win

Another big outing for Jimmy Garoppolo is key to the Niners’ bid to seize the top of the division. However, Jimmy G must take advantage of all the weapons he has at his disposal against a Saints defense that has proven capable at harassing opposing pivots. That means a bigger role for rusher Elijah Mitchell, who had just nine carries in Monday’s win over Arizona and has yet to score in two outings since returning from injury. 

NFL Computer Pick: 49ers -9.5

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Shark Bites
  • New Orleans is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games.
  • San Francisco is 7-1 SU in its last 8 home games.
  • New Orleans is 4-1 SU in its last 5 vs the NFC West.
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