The San Francisco 49ers are coming off a big win over the Denver Broncos last week, and for the second straight week, it would appear professional bettors are backing the team. The 49ers opened the week as high as a six-point home underdog to the Seattle Seahawks, but even with the majority of tickets bet coming in on Seattle the line has come down to as low as 3.5 points.
We saw the same thing last weekend, with a majority of tickets bet coming in on Denver, but the majority of money bet coming in on San Francisco. That does not always mean the same thing each week, but it usually means the smarter “sharp” bettors are betting on the money team, while the public is betting on the ticketed team.
Sportsbook operator William Hill released their latest round of numbers Thursday afternoon, and they have had 76% of bets coming in on the Seahawks, but 63% of the money coming in on the 49ers. Over at OddsShark, 60 percent of bets are on Seattle, even as the number has dropped, suggesting professional bettors have been jumping on the 49ers.
The 49ers were thumped up in Seattle two weeks ago, losing the Seahawks 43-16. Prior to the game, Field Gulls editor Kenneth Arthur said he was hoping for a blowout, but figured Seattle would win by ten or less. I asked him again this week what he thinks of the matchup. Given how unpredictable the NFL was last week, he thinks it will be close.
The Steelers just lost to the Raiders. The Dolphins beat the Patriots. The 49ers beat the Broncos. I’m not a fool. There’s nothing guaranteed, especially on the road. Right now Seattle is the more talented team and they have the healthy quarterback, but anything could happen. The Seahawks just focused on shutting out the Vikings’ top two receivers, I wonder if this week they’ll actually let George Kittle get his and try to focus on Dante Pettis and the other non-number one options and see how that works out. Then just doing their thing on the ground and having Russell take some shots, knowing that the Niners only have two interceptions on the year. I expect it to be closer than last time, but I do think Seattle will win. Maybe by six.
Dating back to the start of the Pete Carroll era, the 49ers are 4-14 against the spread overall when facing the Seahawks, and 3-5 against the spread at home. They covered the spread back-to-back times between the second game of the 2010 season and the first game of the 2011 season, and then again in the second game of the 2016 season and the first game of the 2017 season.
I’ve been more or less eliminated from winning anything in the Westgate SuperContest, and so each of these remaining weeks I’m picking the 49ers game as one of my five picks. The current spread is 3.5 points, but the SuperContest sets lines on Wednesday evening and it set at 4.5 points. I’ve been going back and forth on this, but right now I’m leaning towards taking the points with the 49ers.
I’m not overly comfortable with the pick given that the Seahawks have had a lot of success against the 49ers, and this is Nick Mullens’ second start against them. They’ve got film on him for the five starts he’s made, but specifically for a start he’s made against them, presenting a new challenge to the young quarterback. Seattle is rolling right now, but I’ll roll with the sharp bettors this week. And if I’m wrong, well, the 49ers will have maintained their effort at the top pick in the draft.