The San Francisco 49ers open the 2018 regular season as a road underdog against the Minnesota Vikings. The 49ers opened as a 4.5 point underdog, not exactly a surprise given the Vikings strong 2017 season that came up just short of the Super Bowl. Oh, and they signed Kirk Cousins this offseason to replace Case Keenum. Cousins has his share of question marks, but that is an upgrade at the most important position on the field.
It is no surprise then that offseason money is coming in on the Vikings. Oddsmaker William Hill has over 100 sportsbooks across America, and they have 62 percent of betting tickets and 59 percent of betting money on the Vikings. Of the 16 games that first week, the 62 percent of tickets is tied for ninth most and the 59 percent of betting money is tied for 11th.
The first week, and really much of the first month of the NFL season can be difficult to sort out for oddsmakers. There are certain assumptions being made based on what happened in the offseason, but we know plenty is going to be proven inaccurate. Certain good and bad teams will perform as we expect, but Week 1 offers a chance for the public to be thrown for a loop. Teams are preparing for the whole season, but Week 1 is a chance to offer some new things that aren’t on film.
I’ll be back making my SuperContest picks this fall, and I am sufficiently intrigued by the 49ers in their opener. I have to figure out in the meantime whether or not the 49ers are going to be over- or under-valued given how last season ended and their offseason went. For purposes of Super Bowl and division title futures, they are likely overvalued, but what about for some of these tough early road games?