NFL 2018 Season - Week 14
 

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Intelligence
by Dennis Ranahan

The San Francisco 49ers lost the highly anticipated first full season of Jimmy Garoppolo running their offense when he suffered a season ending injury in third week action.

The Green Bay Packers lost quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the first half of their opening game against NFC North Division rival Chicago.

But, unlike Garoppolo, Rodgers was able to absorb the impact of his injury and still play. Somehow, someway, he managed to engineer the Green Bay Packers largest fourth quarter comeback in their storied history, overcoming a 20-3 fourth quarter deficit enroute to a 24-23 victory.

The following week, against division rival Minnesota, the Vikings took advantage of a hobbled Rodgers to hold the high powered Packers offense to less than 30 points. A Green Bay road loss to the Washington Redskins the following week gave more credence to the handicap the Packers are playing with while Rodgers is still affected by his injured leg.

Tonight, the 49ers pit their backup quarterback, C.J. Beathard, against the Packers hobbled veteran.

While I don’t like the wagering prospects of laying nearly double-digits with a Packers team clearly less than they could be based on Rodgers’ health, I’m not sure the 49ers can stay within the point spread tonight with their current roster.

Before Garoppolo showed up last year to guide the Niners five straight season-ending wins, San Francisco was 1-10.

Are they that one win team this year with Garoppolo out?

So far, they have been a no win team since his injury suffered on September 23rd against the Kansas City Chiefs. They lost to the Chargers in Los Angeles in Beathard’s first start, a game not as close as the final score, 29-27. Last Sunday, at home against the previously winless Arizona Cardinals, the Niners lost their third straight game.

Which proves this; San Francisco is not a good bet as a favorite and highly suspect even as an underdog against the spread.

What is true is that the wise guys have shown up for this Monday Night Football encounter, and they like the 49ers plus the points. They obviously don’t see Green Bay doing to the 49ers what they did to the Buffalo Bills two weeks ago, a 22-0 shutout home win following the Packers loss in Washington.

The Packers are now playing another NFL weakling off a loss, following last Sunday’s setback in Detroit to the Lions, and I can’t find any reason for Green Bay not to win tonight. But, I have a good reason not to bet on them.

I may not always agree with the wise guy moves, but I seldom bet against a clear edge from their perspective.

The books agree with them, they have moved the spread down from a high of 10½ to the current nine point line.

I’m not in the market for points if I’m not in the market for that team.

Still, with the smart money and books aligned on one side against the public, I think it wiser to keep quiet if I disagree with the intelligence.