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NFC Championship Betting: Colin and the Smiths can help 49ers to road win

Aldon Smith is a key man for San Fran

"I expect the new kid on the block to put on a clinic and tear Atlanta apart. Get with the Niners any way you can."

Back San Francisco to win at Half Time and Full Time @ 2.265/4

San Francisco have unleashed a magician in the form of QB Colin Kaepernick who can lead them to the Superbowl for the first time since 1995, according to Luca Bercelli

The history of the Superbowl is littered with exotically named winning quarterbacks.

Bart Starr, Troy Aikman and Johnny Unitas, for example, all conjure up Superhero images straight out of the pages of a Marvel comic.

Then there's Colin.

Not the most exciting of names (sorry Colin, it's true), but then again, who cares when you've got the talent of Mr Colin (CK Maxx) Kaepernick.

Out of relative obscurity San Francisco's second-string QB has skyrocketed up the rankings and now sits in the rarefied air inhabited by a top three NFL quarterback. He has been nothing short of sensational since taking over from Alex Smith in week 10.

He's got the lot; the brain, the arm and the legs, the latter effortlessly galloping for the all-time QB rushing record (181 yards) last week against Green Bay. His versatility is a nightmare for defences, especially one as shaky as Atlanta's.

But, for all CK's supreme talent, I believe the key to this game lies elsewhere, and we're back on the subject of boring names (again apologies in advance). The name in question?

Smith

San Francisco have two Smiths, Justin and Aldon, both defensive linemen. Earlier in the season these two streaked through offensive lines for fun. They have become the most ferocious defensive double team in football, a potent threat to quarterbacks throughout the league. Justin's presence often occupies two offensive linemen, allowing Aldon to break through and get sacking.

The pair were virtually unstoppable until Justin partially tore his left triceps in week 15. His absence neutralised any sacking threat from the Niners and Aldon became ineffective on his own; as a result teams were able to move the ball almost at will.

Justin was back last week albeit in a hefty brace, but he was effective and thinks he'll be better this time out.

Aldon Smith had already broken the 49ers' single season record for sacks with 19.5. It's a crucial part of the Niners' gameplan for him and the rest of the excellent defensive line to make life uncomfortable for Matt Ryan. If the Smiths turn up on gameday and are able to battle through injuries, they should be able to pressure Ryan in a way that Seattle were completely unable to manage last week.

Roddy White and Julio Jones are two quality receivers for Atlanta and nullifying them will make the Falcon's task almost impossible. They won't get much help from a running game that has improved a tad recently but is still ranked 29th in the league. Make no mistake, the winner in the trenches wins the match.

With the San Francisco defence strangling Atlanta's attacking threat I've got no doubt that CK Maxx will keep the scoreboard ticking over. He can hand off to slippery and effective running back Frank Gore, keep the ball himself and outsprint the defence, or fire a rocket to red-hot receiver Michael Crabtree.

Crabtree hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons a couple of days ago and is now under investigation over sexual assault allegations. How he reacts to this situation will determine how he plays; my guess is if he wasn't focused he wouldn't be risked.

Atlanta's defensive coordinator will be having nightmares over a man called Colin this week...and rightly so. I expect the new kid on the block to put on a clinic and tear Atlanta apart. Get with the Niners any way you can; on the Moneyline, the Point Spread, the First Half Point Spread, Half Time/Full Time Result, and sprinkle some cash on CK to score the First Touchdown.

Recommended Bets
Back San Francisco to win @ 1.564/7
Back San Francisco to win on Point Spread (-3.5) @ 2.01/1
Back San Francisco to win First Half Point Spread @ 2.111/10
Back San Francisco to win at Half Time and Full Time @ 2.265/4
Colin Kaepernick to be First Touchdown Scorer @ 12.011/1

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18 January 2013

NFL

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