The San Francisco 49ers are set to play in the NFC Championship game for the second-year in a row. If the latest odds for the matchup are anything to go by, their luck just might be turning around.
San Francisco opened as 3.5 point favorites against the Atlanta Falcons, despite the fact that Atlanta is the No. 1 seed and the home team. If you look at some of the other books, you can actually find the 49ers as five-point favorites.
At this stage, that line is staggering. Since the expanded playoff format in 1978, the Falcons are now the biggest underdog a No. 1 seed has been in any round of the playoffs.
There's a few factors that play into that. Statistically, the 49ers have the No. 2 defense, while the Falcons boast the No. 7 offense in the league. Those are the two teams' strengths, but that matchup favors the 49ers and their all-around defense.
The other factor is the recent history. Atlanta just barely stretched out a win over the Seattle Seahawks in their divisional round matchup, relying on a Tony Gonzalez reception with 13 seconds to go and a Matt Bryant game-winning field goal.
San Francisco, on the other hand, just dominated the Green Bay Packers in the second half, en route to a multi-score victory that saw quarterback Colin Kaepernick rush for over 180 yards and account for four touchdowns (two rushing, two passing).
The 49ers are the favorites for a reason, and it will be very interesting to see if the Falcons can prove Vegas wrong.