The 2017 NFL regular season is nearly four months away, but people are already betting on win totals for the season. The San Francisco 49ers were installed at 4.5 wins by Bovada a couple weeks back. The OVER was installed as a favorite at -130 (bet $130 to win $100), while the UNDER was set at even money. According to Odds Shark, the OVER is now at -125, and the UNDER is at -105.
I checked in with Bovada on Tuesday, and while it is still really early in the offseason, 80 percent of initial bets have been on the OVER. I don’t know the exact number of bets at this point, but I have seen enough optimism out there that this is not all that surprising. Earlier today, a discussion got started about the 49ers OVER, and a few notable folks offered up some optimism:
The 49ers over/under is set at 4.5. I'm going to take that over. Could see 6-7 wins.— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) May 16, 2017
6-10 is my bet with a handful of close losses. Kirk Cousins arrives in 2018, 9-7, 49ers sneak into the playoffs https://t.co/ShOfUGuk4i— Kevin Jones (@Mr_KevinJones) May 16, 2017
When the regular season arrives, I don’t expect that we’ll have 80 percent of people still betting on the OVER. However, I do plan on checking in with Bovada later this summer to see how that percentage is looking. If the number remains this high, it will be tempting to fade the 49ers. When the public is so heavily backing one side of a bet, it raises some questions. After all, sportsbooks are money-making machines for a reason.
That did get me thinking about other win total wagers. The 49ers are matched by the Cleveland Browns at 4.5 wins, with the New York Jets just ahead of them at 5 wins. When I look at these three teams, I keep seeing the Jets as the team most likely to finish with the worst record in the league. They have some talent on their roster, but that offense, I just can’t see it looking particularly good. Josh McCown strikes me as sort of a poor man’s Brian Hoyer. He has an adequate floor, and virtually no ceiling. Add in that his own skill position players are a question mark, and the Jets could be in the driver’s seat for the No. 1 pick. I’m tempted by that UNDER, even as I wonder why the sports book has the number that high.