Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Sep 2013

ESPN Upset Watch: 49ers over Seahawks

How can the 49ers overcome both the Seahawks and the 12th Man? This week, the secret might be Vernon Davis instead of Anquan Boldin. Plus: Cover Watch looks at Washington at Green Bay.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 12 Sep 2013

12 comments, Last at 13 Sep 2013, 6:48pm by MATHLETIX.NET


by RickD :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 12:59pm

Why would the 49ers over anybody be considered an upset?

by Eddo :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 1:14pm

See, sports books (primary in Las Vegas) set these things called "lines", which favor one team over another, and this one team, the "Seattle Seahawks", are considered favorites over this other team, the "San Francisco 49ers".


Isn't "Upset Watch" just determined by the Vegas underdog that has the best chance of winning, per FO's Premium Picks?

by RickD :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 2:00pm

Yes, the 49ers are 3-point dogs on the road. I don't consider it an "upset" when a 3-point underdog wins. That's basically a coin-flip game. It means that Vegas considers the teams to be equal but is giving 3 points to the home team.

Save your asinine explanation of what betting lines are.

I would hope that FO has better things to do than point on that very slight underdogs might actually win. Esp. when the underdog is the reigning conference champion and a co-favorite to win the Super Bowl.

If this game is what their formula is spitting out, they should change the formula.

by Perfundle :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 2:12pm

I'm pretty sure the article is doing more than just pointing out that very slight underdogs might actually win. Given what's written here, it's explaining how the upset might go down. So for instance, it probably mentions the fact that despite Seattle being extremely good against the pass in general last year, they were only 18th-best at covering TEs. Coupled with the fact that they were best at covering #1 receivers, that indicates that Davis is going to do better than Boldin, despite Boldin's performance last week.

by Briks (not verified) :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 2:20pm

That dude was a dick about it, but not considering it an upset when a 3 point dog wins doesn't make sense either. They don't just "give" the home team 3 points for no reason, it is because home field advantage has actually been worth about that much historically. So with 2 equal teams, the road team winning is an upset, even if its not a big upset.

by Eddo :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 3:30pm

Yeah, I was a bit overly snarky, but like Briks says, an upset is an upset.

by bravehoptoad :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 4:40pm

I think even in the "free" part of the article, they explain that this week, FO isn't predicting any upsets. So they're reduced to a "most likely" upset, and given the games they think are close, this looked like the most interesting one to talk about.

by tuluse :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 5:53pm

No doubt this is an interesting game to talk about, but it's not interesting from an "underdog might win" perspective. No one is going to be surprised if the 49ers win this game.

by jdawga (not verified) :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 2:38pm

Upset Watch appears every Thursday for ESPN Insider, as Football Outsiders uses a proprietary formula to forecast the expected point spread of each game based on current DVOA ratings (explained here) and, early in the season, our DVOA projections. Each week we highlight the most likely upset on a game with a line over three points, plus an additional game in which a significant underdog has a strong chance to cover.

by jaw4527 :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 4:24pm

why is wash +7.5 on cover watch but GB -7.5 is the pick in the premium picks?

by Aaron Schatz :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 5:30pm

Because the only games where our system is picking underdogs this week are games with lines of three points or less.

Yes, I agree, that is very weird this early in the season.

But when you write a feature every week, you have to write it every week.

by MATHLETIX.NET (not verified) :: Fri, 09/13/2013 - 6:48pm

On Sunday or Monday nights, 'divisional' games involving a 2 to 4-point road-underdog ...
... Coming off of a home win, and eight of the last 11 games went OVER their given point totals (and six of those 8 games went OVER by more than 7 points).