I follow a variety of gambling related Twitter accounts primarily because they can provide some insight that has some value. Oddsmakers have their reasons for setting lines in a variety of ways, but it's still an interesting angle when considering how teams are viewed. They are looking to bring in money on both sides of the line, so it is not quite about who is clearly the better team by "X" amount of points. But it's still interesting to see where their heads are at.
The folks at Covers.com recently took a look at seven "banker" games, including four such 49ers games. They look at "banker" games as a games that will play a significant role in deciding whether sportsbooks or bettors come out on top in a given week. Covers.com described them as high profile matchups getting serious action, and scheduled later in the day, although they don't have to necessarily be Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football.
The banker games included 49ers vs. Cowboys (Week 1), 49ers vs. Broncos (Week 7), and both 49ers-Seahawks matchups (Week 13/15). These are not surprising matchups that could swing a week for the house.
Week 1 - 49ers (-4.5) @ Cowboys
This game comes at a point when people are still trying to figure out what most teams have going for them. The 49ers head into the season as one of the Super Bowl favorites, but they will be playing without NaVorro Bowman, and potentially without Aldon Smith. The early money has been on the 49ers, but if/when an Aldon Smith suspension is announced, I have to think the line comes down a 1/2 point or maybe even a full point. Obviously I still think the 49ers can win this game, but as covers.com put it, the Cowboys still have national appeal.
Week 7 - 49ers @ Broncos (-3.5)
The season will be nearly two months old, and as Covers put it, a lot of opinions could have changed at this point (we'll pretend they didn't say "San Fran"):
By Week 7, the opinion on these two teams could be very different. Does San Fran have another run left in it? Will Denver suffer from a Super Bowl beating hangover? Early-bird bettors are playing it cool with this non-conference clash, with the spread staying put at Broncos -3.5. This Sunday Night Football showdown will draw a massive amount of money and have plenty of parlays linked to it.
Yep, people will bet this game like crazy. We can't say for certain what things will look like come Week 7, but if the first six weeks play out as expected, I really don't see this line changing a whole lot. A lot of money will come in on the game, but if the 49ers and Broncos both start out strong, it could be fairly evenly matched money.
Week 13 49ers (-2.5) vs. Seahawks
Week 15 - 49ers @ Seahawks (-3.5)
Some may hope for a 49ers sweep, but I think most of us would be surprised if this was anything other than a split.
These two NFC West rivals meet twice in three weeks come winter. First, Seattle travels to the Bay Area as 2.5-point underdogs for the late Thanksgiving Day game - always a "banker" situation for sportsbooks. Then, in Week 15, the Niners pay a visit to CenturyLink Field and the infamous 12th Man as 3.5-point pups for a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff. Wet and cold winter weather in Seattle could play a big factor in Week 15.
It will be interesting to see what the weather is like in Seattle when the 49ers head up there for their December 14 matchup. It will be cold, but will it be particularly miserable? Aside from November 16 at the New York Giants (which probably won't be thaaaaaat cold), this is the only real cold weather matchup of note on the 49ers schedule. The 49ers are at home Weeks 12 and 13, then at Oakland and Seattle Weeks 14 and 15, then home Weeks 16 and 17.
It's a pretty comfortable close to the season. This very well could be make or break time for the 49ers division hopes. And given what we know about playing up at CenturyLink Field, getting that home field for the playoffs could be kind of huge.