The San Francisco 49ers go into training camp with tons of question marks, and their NFL odds for winning Super Bowl 50 are all over the map. What's the deal here?
We've spent a fair chunk of time this offseason charting the demise of the San Francisco 49ers. This is one of the few public teams on the West Coast, so if die-hard San Francisco fans are willing to keep betting on their heroes, we might be able to cash in by fading the Niners with our NFL picks this year.
It seems at least some are willing. Not long after Jim Harbaugh quit/was fired as head coach and replaced by Jim Tomsula, the Niners plummeted from +1600 to +3300 at Bovada on the Super Bowl 50 futures market. Then they fell even further to +4000, helped along by the retirements of several key players. But there was a brief uptick earlier this week as San Francisco bounced back to +3300 – only to drop again to +4000 at press time. No doubt the NFL odds will continue to ride the waves going into the 2015 regular season.
Every Day I Write the Book
We should point out that +4000 is the lowest payout offered among the sportsbooks on our NFL odds board. Prices run as generous as +6488 at Bookmaker. This kind of disparity isn't unusual in the futures market; each book sets its lines depending on the action it receives and the hold percentage it's going after. All the more reason to open up more than one account and shop around for the best deals.
You may recall we did some comparison shopping for regular season win-loss totals earlier this summer. WagerWeb had an outlier price on San Francisco, pegging the UNDER at –140 on a total of 8.5 wins. The vigorish had moved to –210 when we last checked in; one month later, the juice has settled down to –200, as the Niners get all their remaining ducks in a row for training camp.
You'll also find a wide range of prices when it comes to San Francisco's chances in the NFC, and specifically in the NFC West. Just two years removed from their third straight trip to the Conference Championships, the Niners are near the bottom of the pile to win the NFC, at a range between +1800 (Bovada) and +3675 (Bookmaker). To reclaim the division for the first time since 2012 is also a tall task: Bovada and SIA have San Fran at +800, while Bookmaker and JustBet would pay out nearly twice as much at +1477.
In theory, the 49ers could have some betting value at these low, low prices. But the offensive line is in tatters, the linebacker corps is a shell of its former self, and the coaching staff? Yeesh. This franchise isn't likely to have much success until change visits the very top of the food chain – at the ownership level. Meanwhile, it's Santa Clara's problem now, not San Francisco's.