Last updated April 4th, 2015
The (1-1) Indianapolis Colts travel to California to the (1-1) San Francisco 49ers in an NFL Week 3 game that both teams need to win (4.25pm ET, Sunday).
San Francisco, coming off of a shocking and crushing defeat at the hands of their divisional rival the Seattle Seahawks, is favored big in this game. The sportsbooks seem to believe San Francisco is going to rebound in a big way and as a result, the team is favored by 10 points on the spread. The over-under is set at 46 total points.
(IND) Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener Return Home
For three years, Andrew Luck (pictured) and Coby Fleener were teammates at Stanford University. Their coach was the one and only Jim Harbaugh. While those Stanford days have catapulted both Luck and his former coach to NFL success, they are long gone. Luck and Fleener are still teammates in Indianapolis but Harbaugh has stayed close to home, as the head coach of the 49ers.
While this storyline really doesn’t look to drive the game much, it is worth noting that Harbaugh coached Luck for three years. That means he knows his weaknesses and he knows his strengths better than an opposing coach should. It might not mean anything but it could prove to be a small advantage too.
After all, Luck was considered one of the most polished, NFL-ready quarterbacks when he came out of college. He had the arm strength and enough mobility in the pocket for scouts to be able to see him as more than just a pocket passer. It was for this reason that the Colts grabbed Luck with their first overall pick in the 2012 draft.
Since that draft, not much has changed about Luck’s game and that was evident last year by his relationship on the field with Fleener. The first year tight end was targeted 48 times in 2012, despite only catching 26 passes. Only wide receivers T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne were targeted more.
Fleener served as Luck’s security blanket in his rookie year and he has since used him in a bigger role in 2013 as well. In two games, Fleener has been targeted nine times, already recording 76 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Fleener is not the biggest threat but he does have a career average of 11.5 yards per catch. And Harbaugh is going to know this. He knows exactly how Luck used him at Stanford, plays that Harbaugh himself drew up.
Again it could be nothing, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the 49ers to have this extra sort of inside information.
Let’s Talk Trent Richardson
The Cleveland Browns made one of the craziest and completely shocking trades since Jim’s brother John traded star receiver Anquan Boldin to the 49ers in exchange for just a sixth round pick. And judging from Boldin’s stats in 2013, he has already been worth more to the Niners than a sixth-round pick.
And while Boldin’s production looks to be a storyline in this game, one that is going to be watched even more is the debut of Trent Richardson in a Colts’ uniform.
Having just allowed Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch to run all over them with no mercy, the once great 49ers have just the 23rd best rush defense this season. They are allowing opponents, on average, 117.5 yards a game.
Now Luck and Richardson are not going to put up the kind of numbers Russell and Lynch did, but having the former Browns runningback is a boost to Indy. Before the week began, Vick Ballard went down with a season-ending injury and the Colts evidently lacked confidence in Ahmad Bradshaw as a starter. So they traded a first round pick for Richardson, a man who once shared the green room in Radio City Music Hall with Luck as they were picked first and third overall.
The Colts added a great back for sure, but Richardson has had injury issues in his short career. In his first game against the 49ers, he certainly won’t have an easy task either. The numbers don’t support it, but San Francisco still has some of the best in terms of personnel that can stop the run. Richardson will be tested. Obviously he’ll look to put up big numbers for his new team but in the end, the advantage in this match-up once again has to go to the Niners.
Colin Kaepernick and That Boldin Guy
Luck is nowhere near a bad quarterback, but against the Niners, he is going to be faced with a team that has something they desperately need to prove and a quarterback who plans to prove it.
Colin Kaepernick entered last week on such a high. He had just dismantled the Green Bay Packers and was getting all of the compliments that came with it. Entering a divisional match-up against a rival, Kaepernick received all of the praise in the world. But at the end of the game which saw Kaepernick fail to lead his team on one TD drive, that praise turned into questioning.
Kaepernick was outplayed by Wilson and instead of the polished veteran he looked like in week one, got comparisons to an inexperienced, mistake-prone young quarterback who was frankly out of place and out of his element.
But in his career, Kaepernick never let doubters affect him and in fact, in the past it has made him want it more. It was because of this that Kaepernick ended up finally getting the starting role and now more than ever is his chance to prove he deserves it. One of the big ways he can do this is through Anquan Boldin.
In week one, Boldin caught nearly half of Kaepernick’s total passing yards. In week two, he had just one reception for seven yards. And because of how Seattle handled Boldin, Kaepernick looked lost and looked bad. As a result, San Francisco lost.
Against the Colts, the 49ers need Kaepernick and they need Boldin. And since both of them had horrible games, it can only be expected that against a 16th ranked Colts passing defense, redemption is exactly what will happen.
Indianapolis Colts at San Francisco 49ers Final Betting Pick
I can’t disagree with the sportsbooks because at home, the 49ers have everything to prove. They will be against a tough Colts team with a rejuvenated running game, but ultimately, if the 49ers are as good as they should be, they’ll win this game, but not by the 10 points of the spread.
- So expect the 49ers to land the moneyline win, but the advised bet is to back the Colts +10pts @ -110 on the spread with Bovada. It is +9.5pts for the same odds with BetOnline.
- Expect the game to stay under 47 points at -110 odds with Bovada. It is under 46pts with BetOnline.
Not American? If you are not from the USA then have these advised bets with Bet365 Bookmaker.
RESULT UPDATE: Colts won 27-7. Both advised bets won.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.