San Francisco 49ers vs. Washington Commanders 12/31/23 – In a Week 17 showdown, the high-flying San Francisco 49ers, standing at an impressive 11-4 record, travel to face the struggling Washington Commanders, who hold a 4-11 record. This game, scheduled for Sunday, at FedEx Field, is a classic David versus Goliath scenario in the NFL. With the 49ers aiming to solidify their playoff position and the Commanders playing for pride, NFL free picks and analysis become crucial for fans and bettors alike.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Washington Commanders 12/31/23
|Sunday, December 31, 2023, at 1:00 PM ET
|NFL Game Pass
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 30, 2023
Sam Darnold QB vs. Sam Howell QB
Sam Darnold has only played in 8 games this season but has been efficient in relief duty. He is completing 60% of his passes with a 70.4 passer rating. Darnold struggles with turnovers however, having thrown 1 interception for every 1 touchdown pass. He will need to avoid mistakes against a opportunistic Washington defense.
Sam Howell has shown potential in his first season under center for Washington. He is averaging 241 passing yards per game with 19 touchdowns. However, Howell has struggled with 17 interceptions and has taken 60 sacks. He will need better pocket awareness against the fierce 49ers pass rush.
49ers’ Dominant Rushing and Receiving Game
The 49ers have dominated on the ground thanks largely to the play of Christian McCaffrey. Since coming over in a midseason trade, McCaffrey has rushed for over 100 yards in 6 straight games. He leads the league in yards after contact and has superb vision finding running lanes. The Commanders allow the 4th most rushing yards per game (135.3) so expect McCaffrey to gash them for big plays. When they do pass, Brandon Aiyuk has emerged as Darnold’s favorite target. Aiyuk is averaging 18.5 yards per catch and has 6 touchdowns. His big play ability perfectly complements McCaffrey’s zone running scheme. Aiyuk should be able to exploit a Washington secondary that starts two rookies.
Commanders’ Offensive Struggle
The Commanders running game has taken a step back after the loss of Antonio Gibson. Brian Robinson Jr. is averaging just 51 rushing yards per game since taking over lead back duties. The blocking up front has done him no favors, as Washington ranks 20th in run blocking grade according to PFF. Terry McLaurin is the lone bright spot for this offense. He is averaging 12.8 yards per catch and continues to show great chemistry with Howell. However, the rookie QB too often locks into McLaurin allowing defenses to bracket him. And the 49ers defense ranks #1 in passing DVOA per Football Outsiders. It could be another frustrating day for the Commanders offense.
NFL Betting Odds: San Francisco 49ers -850, Over/Under: 49.5
The odds heavily favor the 49ers, with a daunting -850 moneyline and a spread of -13.5 at -111. The over/under is set ambitiously at 49.5, indicating expectations of a high-scoring game, likely skewed by the 49ers’ offensive prowess.
San Francisco 49ers Betting Trends
The total has gone OVER in 4 of San Francisco’s last 5 games.
San Francisco are 6-1 SU in their last 7 games.
San Francisco are 6-2 SU in their last 8 games against Washington.
49ers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on the road.
San Francisco are 6-2 SU in their last 8 games when playing on the road against Washington.
San Francisco are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games against an opponent in the National Football Conference conference.
Washington Commanders Betting Trends
Washington are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Washington’s last 6 games.
Washington are 0-6 SU in their last 6 games.
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Washington’s last 7 games against San Francisco.
Washington are 0-5 SU in their last 5 games at home.
Washington are 2-6 SU in their last 8 games when playing at home against San Francisco.
San Francisco 49ers vs. Washington Commanders Betting Picks
The stats and trends clearly favor the 49ers. Their offensive firepower and solid defense make them the overwhelming favorites. However, the large spread presents a risk, considering the unpredictability of late-season games.
For prop bets, focusing on McCaffrey’s rushing yards and Aiyuk’s receiving yards could be profitable. The over/under is a tricky bet, but given both teams’ recent trends, the OVER seems more likely.
For those looking at online casinos for betting opportunities, the safer bet is on the 49ers to win, but the Commanders could cover the large spread, especially in a scenario where the 49ers secure a comfortable lead and ease off.
Score Prediction: 49ers 31, Commanders 20