The San Francisco 49ers head into the 2018 season with sizable expectations for the first time in four years. The team went into the 2014 season coming off an NFC title game appearance, and even with NaVorro Bowman sidelined due to his knee injury, people still figured the team would be in the playoff hunt. Everything went south, however, and thus began a thee-year long collapse.
The team rebounded last season with the emergence of Jimmy Garoppolo, and now oddsmakers expect a decent amount of wagers on the team. The team’s win total is set at 8.5 or nine wins, depending on your sportsbook, and they are among the top five NFC teams in Super Bowl odds. These are not predictions of how the team will do, but rather a way to make sure they slow down betting on the team in case things do work out well.
ESPN recently offered a look at all 32 teams from a betting perspective. The 49ers over/under is at 8.5, Super Bowls odds at 20-1, conference title odds at 10-1, and divisional odds at 5-2. Those lines come via the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, and thus is just one sample, as opposed to an all-encompassing representation.
They noted that the 49ers have been favored five times in 48 games since Jim Harbaugh left for Michigan. They were favored twice last season under Kyle Shanahan, including their road game against a Los Angeles Rams team resting its players in the season finale, and their home game two weeks earlier against the Tennessee Titans. In 2016, under Chip Kelly, the 49ers were favored three times, including home games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals, and their road game against the Chicago Bears. They were not favored in a single game during Jim Tomsula’s season as head coach.
Last season, the 49ers had their best win/loss record (6-10) since they went 8-8 in 2014. More importantly for profiting purposes, they had their best against the spread record (9-7) since they were 12-6-1 in 2013. A record five straight losses by a field goal or less from Weeks 2-6 helped that, going 4-1 against the spread in that stretch. Their five-game winning streak to close out the season saw them go 4-1 against the spread as well.
Earlier in May, CG Technology released their Week 1-16 lines (they do not include Week 17 since teams often bench players that week). These are meant to provide a glimpse at where things stand, and the 49ers were getting some love. They were favored in nine of their 15 games, including road games against the Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Plenty will change, but if the 49ers can reach or surpass last year’s ATS mark, they would reach their win total mark, and could find themselves in the thick of the playoff race.