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49ers guaranteed top five pick regardless of Week 17 outcomes

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Time to break down the strength of schedule details once again.

The San Francisco 49ers currently hold the No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL Draft order. They could still climb into the No. 1 pick if they lose, the Arizona Cardinals beat the Seattle Seahawks, and the New York Jets either win or don’t reach the 49ers in the strength of schedule tiebreaker.

A Cardinals win is unlikely, but crazier things have happened. Arizona is currently installed at roughly +525 on the moneyline. That means if you bet $100 that they will beat Seattle, a Cardinals win results in $525. By comparison, the Seahawks are installed at -725, so you have to bet $725 to win $100.

Football Outsiders currently gives the 49ers a 3.9 percent chance of claiming the top pick, while the Jets have a 4.7 percent chance at the top pick. The Jets have the better odds because of the odds involved of the four games that matter for strength of schedule.

UnfrozenCavemanSpectator did a great job breaking down where things stand and the tiebreakers of note. We are rooting for the Falcons to beat the Bucs, the Browns to beat the Ravens, the Broncos to beat the Chargers, and the Cowboys to beat the Giants. As it currently stands. If two of those results happen, the 49ers secure a weaker SOS than the Jets, and thus the better pick if they are tied at the end of the season. If three or more of those results don’t happen, the 49ers would finish with a stronger SOS than the Jets, and thus a worse pick.

The spread offers a favorite, but the goal of the spread is to get money evenly on both sides of the number. Moneyline odds are not a prediction of a winner, but I thought it was a useful alternative angle to consider.

Falcons (-115) @ Buccaneers (-105): The Falcons are the slimmest of favorites against the Bucs, so we like that.

Browns (+210) @ Ravens (-250): The Browns are an underdog, but a chance to knock the old Browns out of the division title might give them a little extra motivation

Chargers (-285) @ Broncos (+240): The Broncos looked like a team that gave zero [site decorums] last week. I’m not holding my breath on this one, but maybe we see some craziness in the season finale.

Cowboys (+230) @ Giants (-275): The Cowboys have nothing to play for since they are locked into the No. 4 seed. They’ll rest starters, and while the Giants stink, I’m sure New York would like to finish the season with a win over their division rival.

It is worth noting that the 49ers are guaranteed no worse than the No. 5 overall pick if they beat the Rams on Sunday. They would be 5-11, and even if all the 5-10 teams lost on Sunday, the only team who could pass the 49ers in strength of schedule is the Detroit Lions. With only divisional games in Week 17, most games offset each other for SOS purposes, so it’s down to a handful of games.

For the Lions, there are three games that will impact it. They include the Falcons-Bucs, Panthers-Saints, and Cowboys-Giants. We already looked at Falcons-Bucs and Cowboys-Giants above with the same results needed. For Panthers-Saints, we’d want the Panthers to beat the Saints. The Panthers are installed as +260 underdogs on the moneyline, while the Saints are installed as -320 favorites. It sounds like the Saints will play their starters, but who knows if it will be the entire game. The 49ers need two of those three games to go their way.