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49ers open as 4.5 point underdogs vs. Chiefs

I buried the lede on this one.

The San Francisco 49ers open their 2017 preseason schedule next week when they travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs. There will be plenty to preview about the game, but the first piece of information is for the degenerates among us. Bet Online has opened lines for the first week of preseason action, and the 49ers are a 4.5-point underdog at Kansas City.

The preseason line is always a tough one to figure out, particularly in Week 1. Teams are going to play their backups much more than their starters, they are throwing out more vanilla game-plans, they don’t really game plan against the specific opponent so much as for their own players, and they are also still doing some mixing and matching in the lineups.

A lot of times, it comes down to who has the best second and third string quarterbacks. A year ago, the 49ers opened as a three-point favorite against the Houston Texans. With Colin Kaepernick sidelined due to shoulder soreness, Blaine Gabbert got the start, followed by Thad Lewis and Jeff Driskel. None of the three was particularly great, while Texans backup Tom Savage had no problems against the 49ers. The Texans went on to win 24-13.

This year, the 49ers will face the Chiefs with a quarterback depth chart of Brian Hoyer, Matt Barkley, C.J. Beathard, and Nick Mullens. Kansas City will counter with Alex Smith, Patrick Mahomes, Tyler Bray, and Joel Stave. With a new look 49ers defense potentially able to give Mahomes and the other backups some trouble, I’m tempted to lay a few bucks on the 49ers.

Speaking of gambling and this game, I’ll actually be in Las Vegas for the 49ers opener against the Chiefs. I’m flying down that Wednesday, and heading back to DC on Sunday. Clearly I have to place some kind of wager on the 49ers while I’m there, right?