Tampa Bay Buccaneers Battle 49ers In San Fran
By: Dave Consolazio
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Two teams on the rise in the NFC meet this week when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the San Francisco 49ers for Week 5 NFL betting action.
Kickoff is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. (ET) at Candlestick Park, and will be televised on FOX. The Don Best odds screen currently lists the San Francisco 49ers as a 2 ½-point home favorite.
Both teams have the chance to improve to 4-1 in this game, which would be a huge step in the right direction towards a playoff spot. San Francisco hopes to solidify its lead in the NFC West, while Tampa Bay hopes to build a buffer for the brutal schedule that lies ahead.
The Buccaneers (3-1) have picked up three straight wins after losing their season opener to the Detroit Lions. They failed to cover as a 10-point favorite last Monday night against Indianapolis, but won the game without much difficulty behind a strong performance by Josh Freeman.
Freeman hasn’t quite been as good as he was in 2010, with only three touchdown passes and four interceptions through four games this season. The Buccaneers hope that Monday night’s interception-free game is the first of many, because they’ll need Freeman to be virtually mistake free over the next few months.
Tampa Bay’s next six games include road trips to New Orleans and Green Bay, and home games against New Orleans, Chicago and Houston. A win this week would go a long way in setting the tone for the upcoming stretch.
San Francisco (3-1) has flourished under new head coach Jim Harbaugh, and has opened up a big lead in the NFC West just four games into the season, sitting two games ahead of 1-3 Seattle and Arizona. Last week’s outright win on the road against Philadelphia as a 10-point underdog not only improved the 49ers to 3-0-1 ATS this season, but also made a case for them as a potential playoff contender in the NFC.
Alex Smith has been one of the biggest beneficiaries of Harbaugh’s new offensive philosophy. While his stats won’t jump off the page at you, especially in a season of huge passing numbers around the NFL, he has been an effective game manager and has only thrown one interception through four games.
If he continues to play smart football, San Francisco should cruise to an NFC West Title.
Last season, Tampa Bay came into San Francisco and beat the 49ers, 21-0. San Francisco had won each of the previous two meetings SU and ATS, both also played at Candlestick.
Since 1997, these two teams have met seven times and the total has gone ‘under’ in six of the games. That said, both teams have trended ‘over’ in betting this year at 3-1. The total for Sunday’s game is currently set at 41 ½.