- The 49ers spent most of their high-end draft capital over the last four years on defense, and they’ve yet to get much bang for their buck. Is this the year that the unit takes a step forward?
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49ers 2018 win total: 9 (over +170, under -190)
49ers 2017 record: 6-10
Key offseason acquisitions: DE Jeremiah Attaochu, RB Jerick McKinnon, C Weston Richburg, CB Richard Sherman, LB Korey Toomer
Key offseason losses: OG Zane Beadles, OT Trent Brown, DE Tank Carradine, LB Elvis Dumervil, S Antone Exum, OG Brandon Fusco, CB Leon Hall, RB Carlos Hyde, CB Dontae Johnson, C Daniel Kilgore, LB Aaron Lynch, S Eric Reid
Five things to keep in mind before betting the 49ers’ win total
1. Let’s start this one off the field. The prices on the over and under are two of the biggest deviations from a straight -110 you’ll find on any team this year. If you like the 49ers to be a playoff contender this season, there’s some value in taking a risk on the over and getting 1.7 times your bet, should it hit. Conversely, the -190 price on the under makes it a little less attractive, even if you think the 49ers have little shot at winning 10 games.
2. There is a very real chance that Jimmy Garoppolo is the next great NFL quarterback. He looked the part in his five starts for the 49ers last year, completing 67.4% of his passes for 1,560 yards and 8.76 yards per attempt. He threw for just seven touchdowns against five interceptions, but that’s an anomaly driven by the small sample of games. Everything Garoppolo did in San Francisco supported the belief that he’s a franchise quarterback, most notably the five wins after taking over a team that was 1-10 before he was the starter.
3. Kyle Shanahan is the right coach for the modern game. Remember that 2016 Atlanta offense that led the team painfully close to a Super Bowl victory? That was Shanahan’s brainchild, and while he had the right players to execute it, his influence cannot be overlooked. It isn’t hard to look at these 49ers and find parallels to those Falcons, with Garoppolo as Matt Ryan, and Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida standing in for Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. The lone, significant exception is a player in the Julio Jones role, but Pierre Garcon, Marquise Goodwin and George Kittle give Shanahan plenty with which to work.
4. The 49ers spent most of their high-end draft capital over the last four years on defense, and they’ve yet to get much bang for their buck. Since 2015, they’ve spent first-round picks on Solomon Thomas, Reuben Foster, DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead, and a second-rounder on Jaquiski Tartt. All but Buckner have fallen well short of expectations early in their careers, though Thomas and Foster were just rookies last year. Foster is suspended for the first two games of this season for violation of the league’s conduct and substance abuse policies. Richard Sherman should help shore up the secondary, but the defense remains a work in progress.
5. The schedule doesn’t do the 49ers any favors. In the division, the Rams look like Super Bowl contenders, the Seahawks still have Russell Wilson and the Cardinals went 8-8 a year ago despite losing their superstar running back in Week 1 and their starting quarterback after seven games. The NFC West matches up with the NFC North, arguably the best division in football, and the AFC West. If that weren’t bad enough, they have to play the four best teams from those divisions—the Vikings, Packers, Chargers and Chiefs—on the road. Like so many teams seemingly on the rise, there’s room for the 49ers to improve this year and still come up short of their win over/under.
PICK: UNDER 9 wins