Entering the 2018 NFL season, most San Francisco 49ers fans recognized the difficult the first quarter of the season presented. Most projected 2-2 at best, with plenty seeing 1-3 as a realistic possibility. The 49ers head into Week 5 with a 1-3 record, but it’s not quite what people expected given Jimmy Garoppolo’s season-ending injury.
The 49ers record is what many expected, but season-long expectations have changed. The 49ers are tied with eight other teams at 1-3, sitting behind the 0-4 Arizona Cardinals. Tiebreakers are hard to discern this early in the season, but some have said the 49ers strength of schedule has them holding the No. 2 spot. I say “some have said” because some use strength of schedule just for the schedule played, and others use it for the full season schedule.
Whatever the case, the 49ers are in position to finish the season with a strong draft pick. Even if they beat the Cardinals this weekend, the schedule offers plenty of speed bumps along the way.
Thus far we have primarily looked at Super Bowl and division title odds. I don’t know any 49ers fans who currently think the team is going to win the division, let alone the Super Bowl, and so we will be focusing on the team’s draft odds moving forward. If they prove they can win games and remain competitive against good teams, maybe that will change.
The online sportsbook Sports Betting Dime offered odds on who would land the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The Cardinals led the way at 7/3, followed by the Buffalo Bills (7/1), New York Jets (8/1), and New York Giants (11/1). The 49ers were tied with the Giants at 11/1 odds.
Sports gambling odds are useful for considering what people think might happen, but Football Outsiders offers a more analytical approach. They provide a weekly update on playoff odds, but they also include odds for the top picks in the draft. While Sports Betting Dime lists the 49ers with the fourth best odds, FO has the 49ers with the third best chance of claiming the No. 9 pick. The Bills lead the way at 28.2 percent, with the Cardinals just behind them at 28.1 percent. The 49ers are listed at 9.9 percent, followed by the Lions (6.4 percent) and then Giants (6.0 percent).
FO also offers odds on a top five pick. The Bills lead the way at 76.5 percent, followed by the Cardinals at 72 percent, and then the 49ers at 46.9 percent. The Giants are listed at 37.9 percent, followed by the Lions at 37.0 percent.
The 49ers “elegant tank” got off to a solid start with last week’s close loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. They could very well lose this Sunday to Arizona, but they are favored against a rookie quarterback leading a bad offense. Here are their remaining 11 games following Sunday vs. the Cardinals
Week 6: @ Packers
Week 7: vs. Rams
Week 8: @ Cardinals
Week 9: vs. Raiders
Week 10: vs. Giants
Week 11: BYE
Week 12: @ Buccaneers
Week 13: @ Seahawks
Week 14: vs. Broncos
Week 15: vs. Seahawks
Week 16: vs. Bears
Week 17: @ Rams
We’ll find out more about what C.J. Beathard can do with this offense, but Raiders, Giants, Bucs, and home vs. the Seahawks all could be very winnable. If things keep up the way they are, that Week 17 game against the Rams could be very winnable as well, since LA might be resting players by that point.
How many wins do you see the rest of this schedule?