When the odds opened up last year, the San Francisco 49ers were 2.5 point underdogs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 1. San Francisco eventually ended up winning by two touchdowns. Week 1 lines are usually off more than any other week, as Vegas isn’t familiar with the teams yet.
Once the schedule was released, the 49ers opened up against the Arizona Cardinals as 7.5-point favorites. That number lasted about 90 seconds. On Friday morning, that line moved to 10.5 points, which seems like a bit much for a divisional game, but that tells you how high Vegas’ expectations are for San Francisco. A three-point move in the line overnight is significant. The total on the game is currently at 45, which is surprisingly low. That means Vegas is expecting the Niners to win 27-17. In the two games last season against each other, the Cardinals and 49ers averaged over 57 points in each contest. If I were a gambling man, I’d take the over.
A lot will change between now and September, so there’s no point in us breaking down the game. There will be quite a few intriguing matchups. Two of the best players at their respective positions will face off against each other in Trent Williams vs. Chandler Jones. You have one of the most athletic tight ends in the game against a top-10 pick. George Kittle can give Isaiah Simmons his “welcome to the NFL” moment. The same thing can be said on the other side of the ball when Nick Bosa rushes against Josh Jones, the Cardinals’ third-round pick.
Last year in the first matchup, Emmanuel Sanders ran circles around Patrick Peterson. Will Deebo Samuel do the same this year? The critical matchup is Kyle Shanahan having a few months to prepare for Vance Joseph. That’s a big factor in the 49ers being big favorites. Are they ten points better than Arizona, though?