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The NFC West champion and 2-seed San Francisco 49ers host division foe and 7-seed Seattle Seahawks at Saturday in the NFC Wild Card round. Kickoff at Levi’s Stadium is scheduled for 4:35 p.m. ET.
Seattle snuck into the NFC postseason via tiebreaker when the Lions upset the Packers on the road in Week 18. The Seahawks beat the Lions 48-45 in Detroit earlier this season.
Seahawks QB Geno Smith had highs and lows in his first full-season as a starter. But, overall, Smith greatly exceeded expectations. Smith leads the NFL in completions rate, ranks sixth in QBR and seventh in TD rate.
San Francisco beat Seattle in both regular-season meetings 27-7 in Week 2 and 21-13 in Week 15 with three different QBs. Niners QB Jimmy Garappolo replaced an injured QB Trey Lance in Week 2 and rookie QB Brock Purdy started in Week 15.
Quarterback-chaos be damned, the 49ers have the best defense in the league. They are led by probable 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year in edge rusher Nick Bosa who has an NFL-high 18.5 sacks.
The Niners are 7-1 against the spread (ATS) as home favorites in 2022, 6-0 ATS vs. division teams and a far better roster than the Seahawks. But, this is just too big of a number for a rookie QB in this spot.
Betting Details (DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Seahawks (+400), 49ers (-500)
- ATS: Seahawks +9.5 (-105), 49ers -9.5 (-115)
- Total — 42.5 — Over: -110, Under: -110
Seahawks-49ers: The Spread
San Francisco has a better ATS record this season. But, since 2021, teams entering the playoffs on winning streaks of 10 or more games are 7-8 overall and 2-13 ATS, according to @DataBasePicks on Twitter.
Prior to the Bills crushing the Patriots and Rams slapping up the Cardinals in last year, favorites vs. division teams are 0-8 ATS in the wild-card weekend from 2014-21. Those favorites have a -9.8 ATS margin..
There is a suspicious “reverse line movement” in the betting market. Per VSIN, roughly 70% of the action at DraftKings Sportsbook is on San Francisco ATS. Yet the Niners are getting cheaper. Hmmm.
Eventually, Purdy is going to come back down to earth. This will be Purdy’s sixth career start and second vs. Seattle. He had a bottom-10 completion rate over expectation in Week 15 vs. the Seahawks, per NFL’s Next Gen Stats.
Also, Seattle coach Pete Carroll is low-key a pass coverage mastermind. Carroll has a history of coaching up defensive backs and the strength of the Seahawks’ defense is against the pass.
Seattle’s defensive line is second in pressure rate among wild-card teams, per Pro Football Focus (PFF). Seahawks S Ryan Neal — PFF’s top-graded safety — may return from injury this week.
Plus we’ve seen Niners coach Kyle Shanahan tighten up in big games. Why would that change for Seahawks-49ers Saturday? San Francisco has a rookie QB vs. a familiar foe in a probable bad-weather game (more on that below).
Conservative Shanahan might be good enough for the 49ers to beat the Seahawks. But, it won’t be good enough for San Francisco to win by double digits.
BET 1 unit (u) on Seahawks +9.5 (-105) at DraftKings Sportsbook
Seahawks-49ers: The Total
As mentioned above, Seahawks-49ers will most likely be a bad-weather game. San Francisco’s weather forecast from Thursday-Saturday is predicting heavy rain with 20+ mph winds and gusts above 30 mph.
You’d think the Niners would go more run-heavy between the weather and rookie QB. Seattle’s defense did better against San Francisco’s ground game than the box score indicates.
Let’s remove 49ers RB Christian McCaffery‘s longest run of the game (23 yards) and RB Jordan Mason‘s 55-yard run with 1:16 remaining to key the victory. The Niners rushed for just 2.9 yards per carry vs. the Seahawks in Week 15.
Seattle’s defensive line has second-best yards allowed before contact out of the 12 teams playing this week. The Seahawks are 10th in rushing defense success rate as well.
Circling back on Shanahan’s conservative nature in the playoffs, the Niners are 1-5 Over/Under (O/U) with a -7.3 O/U margin since 2017 (Shanahan’s first year in San Francisco).
Shanahan will do stuff like punt on 4th-and-medium on his opponent’s side of the field or leaving scoring opportunities on the table by not being not be aggressive at the end of halves. The 49ers play the slowest pace in the NFL, per Football Outsiders.
Lastly, 85% of the money in the consensus market is on the Under whereas more than 60% of the bets placed on the total is on the Over, according to Pregame.com. Typically, the cash column is the sharper side of the betting splits.
BET a third-unit on UNDER 42.5 in Seahawks-49ers (-110) at DraftKings
Seahawks-49ers: Player Props
I’m putting cold-hard cash on the likelihood Purdy struggles in his first-career playoff start. Granted, Smith is making his first playoff start as well but, Smith’s production is more legitimate than Purdy’s, in my opinion.
Purdy’s 218 passing-yard-per-game average would rank 17th among NFL QBs if he played enough snaps. His passing yards prop opened at 227.5 so action is coming in on Purdy’s Under.
Three of the five opposing QBs Seattle has faced to end the season has thrown for 217 or fewer yards and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes threw for exactly 224 yards.
Purdy passed for 217 yards vs. the Seahawks on only 26 attempts and had season-high 19.2% bad-throw rate. Again, between the weather and Purdy’s inexperience, I expect Shanahan to run the ball more.
Seahawks-49ers: Bet Slip
- Seahawks +9.5 (1u on -105)
- UNDER 42.5 Seahawks-49ers (0.3u on -110)
- San Francisco 49ers QB Brock Purdy (0.25u on -115)
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