Oddsmakers lined the 49ers to be a below .500 team last season coming off a 4-12 campaign after Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL just three games into the 2018 season. Kyle Shanahan’s crew surpassed even their wildest expectations last season by ripping off a 15-4 overall record on their way to an appearance in Super Bowl LIV. They finished last season with an impressive 11-7-1 against-the-spread mark, but they failed to hold onto a 10-point fourth-quarter lead against the Chiefs in the Super Bowl as 1.5-point underdogs. Including the playoffs, San Fran played in just seven one-score games (4-3) as they won an impressive 11 games by two scores or more last season.
The 49ers allowed the seventh-fewest points per game last season (19.5) while scoring the third-most PPFG (29.6), which resulted in an 8-8-1 split on totals. San Francisco made their backers plenty of money last season by making the playoffs (+180 preseason odds) and by winning the NFC West (+400) and the NFC Championship (+2000). Second-overall pick Nick Bosa also won the Defensive Rookie of the Year as a +700 favorite.
The 49ers are getting much more respect in the betting markets this summer after they outpaced their 2019 win total (7.5) by a league-best five and a half wins, which was matched by the Ravens. The 49ers were the first team to top their win total last season as they reached their eighth victory in a Week 9 victory over the Cardinals. San Fran’s 2020 season win total has jumped by a staggering three victories from 2019 up to 10.5, and they’re -335 to make the playoffs. Entering training camp, I have the 49ers power rated as the third-best team in the NFL (+1000 to win Super Bowl LV), as the best team in the NFC (+500 to win the conference), and as the best team in the NFC West (-106 to win the division).
|Week||Opponent (spread if available)||Time|
|1||Arizona Cardinals (-8)||4:25|
|2||@New York Jets (-5.5)||1|
|3||@New York Giants (-5.5)||1|
|4||Philadelphia Eagles (-5.5)||8:20 (Sun)|
|6||Los Angeles Rams||8:20 (Sun)|
|7||@New England Patriots (-1)||4:25|
|9||Green Bay Packers||8:20 (Thurs)|
|10||@New Orleans Saints (+2.5)||4:25|
|12||@Los Angeles Rams||4:05|
|13||Buffalo Bills||8:15 (Mon)|
|15||@Dallas Cowboys||8:20 (Sun)|
Key Off-season Moves
Trent Williams (OT)
Javon Kinlaw (DT)
Brandon Aiyuk (WR)
Travis Benjamin (WR)
DeForest Buckner (DT, Ind)
Joe Staley (OT, retired)
Emmanuel Sanders (WR, NO)
Garrett Celek (TE, retire)
Levine Toilolo (TE, NYG)
2020 Season Odds
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
|Season Win Total (O/U)||10.5 (-110/-110)|
Reasons to Bet Over the Season Win Total
The 49ers blew past their seven and a half win total by the middle of last season, but they’ll have a much more difficult time doing it this season as they have the third-highest win total this year at 10.5. They’re tied with the Saints for the highest win total in the conference, and the 49ers have the best team in the NFC West heading into the season.
San Francisco’s second-best rushing attack and its elite defense are likely to decline this season, but the 49ers were so dominant last season that they won’t necessarily see a major regression in the win department. The 49ers sported the third-best point differential last season (+169) behind only the Ravens (+249) and the Patriots (+195). They had by far the best point differential in the more balanced and difficult NFC, finishing 52 points ahead of the Saints and 56 points ahead of the Cowboys.
San Francisco lost three key players from last season’s Super Bowl team in DT DeForest Buckner, LT Joe Staley, and WR Emmanuel Sanders, but they still have one of the best rosters in the league. They shouldn’t see too big of a decline in play at those positions after finding talented replacements for each departure. The 49ers used a pair of first-round picks on DT Javon Kinlaw and WR Brandon Aiyuk, and they traded for LT Trent Williams during the draft to fill their three glaring holes from the off-season. They’ll also get a healthier DE Dee Ford at their disposal after he struggled through knee and hamstring injuries at the end of the season.
The 49ers are likely to open the season as favorites in their first six games of the season (Ari, @NYJ, @NYG, Phi, Mia, LAR) before running into their first true toss-up games on the road against the Patriots and Seahawks in Weeks 7-8. They also benefited from having back-to-back games in the Eastern Time Zone against the Jets and Giants, which will allow them to stay on the East Coast between games.
Reasons to Bet Under the Season Win Total
The 49ers will try to buck recent trends and kick the Super Bowl hangover by being the first Super Bowl loser to surpass their season win total the following year since the Denver Broncos topped their 11.5 win total by half of a win back in 2014. San Francisco has a tall task to pass its season win total this year competing in arguably the most competitive division in the league. Jimmy Garoppolo is no slouch at quarterback, but he might be the weakest starting QB in this division featuring four strong options at the position.
The 49ers have some big-time skill players in George Kittle and in ascending second-year WR Deebo Samuel, but it’s not a truly loaded group. They have the weakest set of skill players of the eight teams lined at 9.5 wins or more this summer (Chiefs, Ravens, Saints, Cowboys, Seahawks, Eagles, Buccaneers). It’s been made even weaker with Deebo potentially missing some time at the beginning of the season for a Jones foot fracture. Of course, they have one of the most innovative offensive minds running the team in Kyle Shanahan, who is able to cover up some of their deficiencies. They finished second in the league in team rushing yards (2305) with a journeyman special teams player, Raheem Mostert, leading the way.
The 49ers rushing attack is bound for some regression this season as well as their top-rated defense. It’s hard to poke too many holes in this defense, but cornerback may be one area of concern if Richard Sherman’s play slips at all entering his age-32 season. It will also be interesting to see how Trent Williams fairs as the new left tackle after Joe Staley’s retirement. Williams hasn’t played since 2018 because of injuries and his disillusionment with the Redskins organization. The 49ers also have a big hole to fill at DT after trading away DeForest Buckner, but they landed one of the top DT prospects in Javon Kinlaw with their compensation from Buckner’s trade.
The 49ers have a gauntlet of games from Weeks 6-13 against teams that are all lined to be .500 teams or better this season based on season win totals (LAR, @NE, @Sea, GB, @NO, bye, @LAR, Buf). San Francisco will need to escape that stretch with a winning record to have a chance at topping their season win total.
Notable Player Props
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
Jimmy Garoppolo: passing yards (3700.5), passing TDs (25.5), most passing yards (+3300), MVP (+4000)
Fantasy Points Projections: passing yards (4265), passing TDs (28)
Best-case scenario: The 49ers run game and defense are bound for some regression after they played nearly flawless last season, which will create more passing opportunities after he averaged fewer than 30 pass attempts per game last season.
Worst-case scenario: Deebo Samuel’s foot injury lands him on the PUP list or the injury lingers into the season and deprives Jimmy G of one of his top receiving weapons. The 49ers also figure to be one of the run-heaviest still and it could be difficult for him to stay in the neighborhood of his 8.4 YPA average from last season.
George Kittle: receiving yards (1050.5), most receptions (+2800), OPOY (+1400)
Fantasy Points Projections: receiving yards (1025), receptions (80)
- Best-case scenario: Kittle remains one of the most dominant receivers on a yards per route run basis — he led the league last season — and his body holds up for the entire season while the 49ers become slightly more pass-heavy in 2020.
- Worst-case scenario: Kittle topped 1050.5 yards last season in just 14 games last season but missed playing time is by far my biggest concern for him. He plays a fearless brand of football like Rob Gronkowski, and he’s appeared in every game in just one of his seven seasons between Iowa and San Francisco.
Raheem Mostert: rushing yards (850.5), most rushing yards (+2000), OPOY (+3300)
Fantasy Points Projections: rushing yards (1025)
- Best-case scenario: The former special teams ace ran for 715 yards in his final eight games of last season (playoffs included), and he doesn’t skip a beat in 2020 by asserting his status as the team’s top back early in the season.
- Worst-case scenario: The 49ers figure to have one of the best rushing attacks again this season, but HC Kyle Shanahan simply does not play favorites in his backfields over the years. Mostert will have to continue to play at a high level to lead this backfield in rushing yards.
Best Bets and Leans
Be sure to check out all of our staff Best Bets for NFL Futures.
San Francisco is certainly a talented enough team to avoid the Super Bowl hangover, but the recent history of teams struggling after a loss in the big game is enough for me to lean toward the 49ers under 10.5 wins this season. I’m expecting an extremely competitive NFC West this season with all four teams capable of claiming the title, and 10 wins could be all it takes to win the division if these teams are competitive with each other in intradivisional play.
I’ve been fading Raheem Mostert all summer in fantasy drafts at his fifth-round ADP because Kyle Shanahan isn’t afraid to rotate his backs and to stick with the hot hand at running back. Still, the 49ers are expected to have one of the best rushing attacks once again after finishing second in team rushing yards (2305) last season. I wouldn’t be completely shocked if Mostert competed for the league lead in rushing yards (+2000) if his hot play extends into the start of this season and Tevin Coleman stinks again. This is a large plus-price to grab the incumbent top back in potentially the league’s top rushing attack.
I’m also leaning toward Jimmy Garoppolo over 3700.5 passing yards with our projections forecasting him for an additional 564.5 yards. He’s unlikely to match his impressive 8.4 YPA from last season, but he should see more passing volume — he averaged fewer than 30 attempts per game last season — with their rushing attack and defense likely to regress some this season. I’m ultimately passing on the wager with the uncertainty surrounding Deebo Samuel’s availability early in the season and because of the possibility that the 49ers could play well enough to rest their starters in Week 17.
Best Bets: None
Leans: 49ers under 10.5 wins (+100, FanDuel), Jimmy Garoppolo over 3700.5 passing yards (-110, DraftKings), Raheem Mostert most rushing yards (+2000)