It seems a tornado has whipped through the San Francisco 49ers organization, leaving debris everywhere and forcing the team to almost have to do a total rebuild after seeing so many players leave through Free Agency, Trades and even Retirement.
Then toss in a Head Coach—Jim Harbaugh—who decided to get out while the gettin’ out was good, and you have a team that could be represented as a big question mark, with flighty QB Colin Kaepernick being the guy that has to make it all click in 2015. Good times. So what’s the best way to approach betting San Francisco in 2015 and are the Niners really going to be that bad?
San Francisco 49ers: Part NFL Team, Part Shakespearean Tragedy
The San Francisco 49ers (8-8 in 2014) have received a great deal of attention this Offseason, and rightfully so. First off, Head Coach Jim Harbaugh decided to get as far away from team CEO Jed York as possible, so he promptly headed back to the Midwest and his alma mater, the University of Michigan to coach in the Big Ten, while many crucial players on Defense either left via Free Agency or simply chose to Retire. DT Justin Smith (Retired), ILB Patrick Willis (Retired), LB Chris Borland (Retired), CB Chris Culliver (Redskins), P Andy Lee (Traded to Browns) and DE Ray McDonald (Bears) are among the San Francisco players who seemingly left like bees from a hive after the Queen Bee had flown away and the Offense also saw its share of talent go elsewhere including RB Frank Gore (Colts), WR Michael Crabtree (Raiders) and 25-year-old T Anthony Davis (Semi-Retired?) who has decided to take a year away from the NFL and think about things. Nothing wrong with that. And there’s no doubt in my mind that Davis might be in the Niners training camp right now if not for all of the changes swirling around this team, including a fairly new (1-year old) Levi’s Stadium some 20-plus miles away from San Francisco in Santa Clara, which might not provide the homefield edge old Candlestick Park did. And looking at it now, from this distance in Time, it seems that maybe some of the Old 49ers Magic and maybe some confidence and any significant Home advantage crumbled when they began the demolition of the beloved yet challenging Candlestick Park last November.
So, what will rise from the proverbial Ashes and become of this 49ers (125/1 to win Super Bowl, Boylesports) team which has such a tradition in the league and so much past success bringing NFL Championships back to the Bay Area? Whatever happens, it will all have to start with a Head Coach (Jim Tomsula, 0-0 ATS), who was pretty much thrown into the position and a QB (Colin Kaepernick) as choppy as the Hawaiian surf. And NFL Futures betting marketplaces have reacted as one would think they would to all these months of Niners Turmoil with the 49ers Regular Season Team Win Totals (7½ Under -155, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) as well as their Super Bowl odds logically taking a hit. But have the Wiseguys and the General Public possibly over-reacted in all of these markets with their opinions of San Francisco? The 49ers do get to play 66.7% (4 of 6) of their NFC West games against the Arizona Cardinals (11-5 in 2014) and the St. Louis Rams (6-10), so maybe it’s not so bad with the Cardinals maybe in for some regression and the Rams seemingly in perpetual rebuild mode and always looking for a starting QB. San Francisco (11/1 to win NFC West, Stan James) will probably get spanked in both meetings with the defending NFC champion Seattle Seahawks (12-4), but this team gets the AFC North and NFC North out of division this season, meaning they’ll face the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Minnesota Vikings, Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals—all teams with losing marks last year save for the Lions and Bengals, who could both be on the Downswing in 2015. And another positive for San Francisco (5-11 ATS, 1-7 ATS Home) is that it was tied for 6th NFL in Turnover Differential Margin (+7) last season and this team has always had a certain pride about this organization. And with so much success in Super Bowls and legends like Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice having plied their wares with this organization, it’s very easy to understand why. A market reacting to all this turmoil and number moving is one thing, but whether or not this team is as bad or in as much trouble as all the Squawking Heads say remains to be seen. Kaepernick (55.9 Total QBR, #17) will most definitely have to improve some—many think this could be a do-or-die year for him with the 49ers—but he is extremely athletic and fast and does have a strong arm and with a pair of WRs like Anquan Boldin (83 receptions, 1,062 yards, 5 TDs) and Free Agent-acquisition Torrey Smith (Ravens; 49 receptions, 767 yards, 11 TDs) and a TE like Vernon Davis (26 receptions, 245 yards, 2 TDs), Kaepernick has his weapons and this team should be able to rally from deficits (if it has to) as guys like Boldin, Smith and Davis are the fiercest type of competitors and they will now be able to feed off each other with the underrated Smith in town. And we’ll all see if RB Carlos Hyde explodes onto the scene this season. The soil is fertile for his growth now. Watch him.
San Francisco (50/1 to win NFC, Ladbrokes) has also added guys like Free Agent RB Reggie Bush (Lions), Free Agent WR Jerome Simpson (Vikings; 48 receptions,726 yards, 1 TD) and a bunch of solid kids taken in the NFL Draft like RB Mike Davis (South Carolina), WR DeAndre Smelter (Georgia Tech) and TE Blake Bell (Oklahoma), so maybe things aren’t so bad for this team. And the 49ers schedule could really be a blessing in disguise with what looks like 11 games (of 16 Regular Season) where San Francisco could actually earn a ‘W’ if they have their heads in the game and have any confidence and momentum. Much may depend on how good the Cardinals and Rams really are, but it may be too soon to say this great franchise has fallen apart.
San Francisco 49ers QB Depth: Colin Kaepernick—Blaine Gabbert—Dylan Thompson
Who’s New and Could Have an Impact? Head Coach Jim Tomsula, Free Agent WR Torrey Smith (Ravens), Free Agent WR Jerome Simpson (Vikings), Free Agent RB Reggie Bush (Lions), DT Arik Armstead (Oregon), SS Jaquiski Tartt (Samford), OLB Eli Harold (Virginia), TE Blake Bell (Oklahoma), RB Mike Davis (South Carolina), WR DeAndre Smelter (Georgia Tech), Rookie OL Ian Silberman (Boston College), OG Trenton Brown (Florida), P Bradley Pinion (Clemson), Free Agent Rookie QB Dylan Thompson
Possible Wins on Schedule: Week 1: Vikings; Week 3: @ Cardinals; Week 5: @ Giants; Week 6: Ravens; Week 8: @ Rams; Week 9: Falcons; Week 12: Cardinals; Week 13: @ Bears; Week 15: Bengals; Week 16: @ Lions; Week 17: Rams.
Some Good Potential Betting Spots in Regular Season: Because the Seahawks have owned the 49ers, taking Seattle in both Regular Season games against San Francisco is recommended. Seattle is 7-0-1 ATS L8 against the 49ers and won both games last season, 19-3 in San Francisco as 1-point favorites, believe it or not, and the Seahawks won 17-7 in Seattle as 10-point chalks pushing the second meeting in a series which saw two stone-cold Unders in 2014 (22 and 24 points scored respectively). This year, Seattle Seahawks is a 4-point favorite over San Francisco in Week 7 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, NFL Games of the Year) and the Seahawks are favored by 8½ points over San Francisco in Week 11 at Home at CenturyLink Field in the Emerald City. Also, taking the upstart Minnesota Vikings (7-9 SU in 2014, 3-2 L5) and the 3 points (Pinnacle) in the Week 1 Monday Night Football contest at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara against the 49ers is recommended as the Purple People Eaters have RB Adrian Peterson back, added WR Mike Wallace and will be expecting greatness from QB Teddy Bridgewater this season. Minnesota could very well win the game and shopping around and grabbing a +3 now (in the middle of the Summer) seems wise as there are many 2½’s in the marketplace and a Vikings +3 line at kickoff on Monday, September 14th seems unlikely. Also, fading the Niners in Week 16 at Detroit and backing the Lions and laying the lumber may be a good idea as San Francisco may be really road-weary at that point in Time with San Francisco travelling more miles (27,998) than any other team in the NFL this season.
Any Good 49ers Futures Bets Now? Not really. Just the four specific games above, with three having NFL odds out already (Week 1, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook NFL Games of the Year).
Recent Relevant Trends: 49ers 11-4 ATS L15 vs Bears; 49ers 9-4 ATS L13 vs Cardinals, 8-2 ATS L10 Away; 49ers 6-2 ATS L8 vs Vikings; 49ers 0-7-1 ATS L8 vs Seahawks; 49ers 2-7 ATS L9 vs Giants, 1-3 L4 Away
Players to Watch: WR Anquan Boldin, RB Carlos Hyde, RB Reggie Bush, QB Colin Kaepernick, Backup QB Blaine Gabbert, ROLB Aldon Smith, FS Eric Reid, LB NaVorro Bowman, Rookie P Bradley Pinion (Clemson; First Punter taken in NFL Draft), Rookie DT Arik Armstead (Oregon), Rookie SS Jaquiski Tartt (Samford), TE Vernon Davis
San Francisco 49ers Early Picks: Minnesota Vikings +3 over San Francisco 49ers, Week 1 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook); Seattle Seahawks -4 over San Francisco 49ers, Week 7; Seattle Seahawks -8½ over San Francisco 49ers, Week 11 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, NFL Games of the Year)