Jason’s final record on his final NFL picks for 2013-14:
49-41-2 ATS (+7.7 units)
1-1 ML (+0.71 units)
16-20-1 Totals (–5.6 units)
Total units won: +2.81
They say the third time’s the charm. Then again, they say it’s the third time you go under the surface that spells the end for drowning victims. Which will it be for the San Francisco 49ers during the 2014 NFL betting season?
Fortunately for San Francisco, that thing about drowning isn’t really true. Unfortunately for them, neither is that thing about “the charm.” Worse, the 49ers are in the same NFC West division as the Seattle Seahawks, your Super Bowl XLVIII champs. And the Seahawks are already the 11-2 favorites to defend their title on Bodog’s NFL futures market. The Niners are the second favorites at 13-2. Something’s going to have to change.
National People’s Football League
Or will it? There’s only so much any one franchise can do in the NFL, thanks to the anti-competitive salary cap, and the Niners (14-5 SU, 12-7 ATS last year) are already about as good as a franchise can get in this league. Also, if San Francisco alters its program specifically to beat the Seahawks, what about the improving Arizona Cardinals (10-6 SU, 11-5 ATS) and St. Louis Rams (7-9 SU and ATS)? Not to mention the other 10 teams the Niners will have to face during the regular season, including the Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears.
Having said all that, these are the kind of first-world problems any NFL team would love to have – especially as the Niners prepare to move into their brand new stadium in Santa Clara. They’ve got one of the very best coaches in the league in Jim Harbaugh, plus a roster that finished sixth overall in efficiency last year (No. 8 offense, No. 13 defense, No. 7 special teams) despite plenty of injuries and drama along the way. A few tweaks here and there should keep San Francisco firmly in Super Bowl contention.
Out With the Old
The primary focus this offseason will be on defense, most notably in the secondary. We’ve probably seen the last of former Pro Bowl CB Carlos Rogers, who turns 33 this season and is due to make $6.6 million if he doesn’t take a pay cut – which he didn’t last year. CB Tarell Brown is also a free agent, and CB Chris Culliver sat out the 2013 campaign with a torn ACL. Again, changes must be made.
But how? The Niners are facing a slew impending free agents at other positions who need to be taken care of, led by WR Anquan Boldin (85 catches, seven TDs) and safety Donte Whitner (63 tackles, 15 passes defended). That leaves the 2014 NFL Draft as San Francisco’s savior. As it stands, the Niners have 12 picks at their disposal, including five in the first three rounds. They could package some of these in an effort to move up from No. 30 in the first round, and grab someone like CB Justin Gilbert out of Oklahoma State, or CB Darqueze Dennard from Michigan State.Otherwise, the Niners are also going to be in need of some more receiving talent, and the mock drafts are looking at LSU’s Jarvis Landry or Odell Beckham Jr. at No. 30. However, there will be tons of WR talent available in the later rounds and in free agency, and San Francisco has more pressing needs at cornerback anyway. Why not Ohio State CB Bradley Roby at No. 30 if the Niners don’t trade up? The Broncos definitely could have used a player like that against the Seahawks. Teachable moments.