The San Francisco 49ers return from their bye next week to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. The official line will arrive Sunday afternoon, but the Westgate SuperBook posted its lookahead line earlier this week, and the 49ers were listed as a five-point underdog. I don’t expect a big difference between that number and the official number on Sunday, but if the Bucs either thump the Giants or get thumped by the Giants, maybe we see some movement.
Back in May, CG Technology, an operator of numerous sportsbooks in Las Vegas, released lines for the first 16 weeks of the season. They were effectively offseason lookahead lines, and they gave us an initial baseline for where lines moved once the season arrived.
At the time, the 49ers had Jimmy Garoppolo and Jerick McKinnon healthy and potentially a big boost for the offense. They were favored in nine games, underdogs in six, and there was no Week 17 line. By late September, both were on the sideline with ACL tears, and this team was entirely different from what we hoped for in the offseason.
Here are the lines for Weeks 12-17 from back in May. The 49ers were listed as likely favorites in four of the five games with a line, but will now likely be underdogs in all five. The Broncos are not playing particularly well, but their defense is likely enough on its own to make them favorites when they visit Santa Clara.
Week 12: @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1) (-120)
Week 13: @ Seattle Seahawks (+1)
Week 14: vs. Denver Broncos (-4.5)
Week 15: vs. Seattle Seahawks (-3.5)
Week 16: vs. Chicago Bears (-6)
Week 17: @ Los Angeles Rams (No line)
Below is a look at the 49ers lines through Week 10, both what they were projected at in May, and what they closed at come kickoff. We saw significant movement those first three weeks, but things really changed after the Jimmy Garoppolo injury. The Chargers line climbed 6.5 points, the Packers line climbed five points, and the Rams line climbed eight points.
It is interesting to note that the 49ers’ status as favorite or underdog only changed in one game. In May, the 49ers were projected as a four-point favorite against the Raiders. They were favorites early in game week, but it eventually closed with the Raiders as a one-point favorite over the 49ers. It was Nick Mullens’ first start, so this is not entirely surprising. But other than that, the 49ers remained favorites or underdogs in the other games after Jimmy Garoppolo got hurt.
Week 1: @ Minnesota Vikings (+4.5), closed at +6.5 — lost 24-16
Week 2: vs. Detroit Lions (-3.5), closed at -6 — won 30-27
Week 3: @ Kansas City Chiefs (+3), closed at +6 — lost 38-27
Week 4: @ Los Angeles Chargers (+3.5), closed at +10 — lost 29-27
Week 5: vs. Arizona Cardinals (-7), closed at -3 — lost 28-18
Week 6: @ Green Bay Packers (+4), closed at +9 — lost 33-30
Week 7: vs. Los Angeles Rams (+1), closed at +9 — lost 39-10
Week 8: @ Arizona Cardinals (-1.5), closed at -3 — lost 18-15
Week 9: vs. Oakland Raiders (-4), closed at +1 — won 34-3
Week 10: vs. New York Giants (-6.5), closed at -3 — lost 27-23