San Francisco 49ers Are Built Like A Super Bowl Champion

FairwayJay analyzes the San Francisco 49ers and their 8-0 start and why they are a Super Bowl favorite.

Niners atop the odds board to win Super Bowl LIV

The San Francisco 49ers are 8-0 heading into the Monday night division showdown with Seattle (7-2) on Nov. 11. The 49ers have already reached  their season over/under win total of 8 wins posted by leading online sportsbooks at BookMaker, BetOnline, Bovada and My Bookie. The 49ers were the NFC West third choice to win the division between +325 and +350, and Super Bowl odds on the 49ers at the start of the season were 40-1. Now San Francisco is +525 to win the Super Bowl at 5Dimes and the favorite from the NFC to reach Super Bowl LIV (54) at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL on Feb. 2, 2020 in the leagues 100th season. 

The 49ers won 4, 6 and 2 games the past three seasons and the 4-win average over that time was the worst in the NFC and only better than the Browns in the entire league. The same Browns that were hyped as a Super Bowl contender prior to the season and the favorite to win the AFC North in 2019. Cleveland is 3-6 after beating Buffalo 19-16 in Week 10. 

The 49ers are the real deal and build for a Super Bowl run and championship. San Francisco has the strong combination of an elite rushing attack and dominant scoring defense, averaging 171 rushing yards per game (No. 2 in the NFL) and a league-high 38 rushing attempts per contest. The defense allows just 12.8 points per game and 4.5 yards per play to rank No. 2 in the NFL in both categories with the league's No. 1 pass defense allowing just 138 yards per game. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is now 14-2 as the 49ers starter, showing how important he is to the offense and team after winning five straight starts to close the 2017 season and then an early season injury last year that derailed San Francisco's season finishing with just four wins. 

Since joining San Francisco, the 49ers are 6-0 with Garoppolo as starting quarterback. They have averaged 34 points per game at home in Garoppolo's starts, and Jimmy G has passed for more than 280 yards per game with 11 touchdown passes in those six contests. That's something to consider when making your bets at the online sportsbooks for Monday's game with Garoppolo making his first-ever start against the Seahawks.

Monday, Nov. 11 

Seattle at San Francisco (-6) - Total 47.5 

From a consensus of seven leading online sportsbooks including BookMaker and 5Dimes, the Seahawks are taking 60% of the spread bets and 77% of the moneyline bets in the marquee Monday night match-up. Sports Insights tracks the betting data and also shows 'over' the total is taking 76% of the bets. 

Teaser bettors are going to take the 49ers down to a pick 'em in 6-point teasers. If you like San Francisco (-6) on the spread, understand this key stat when betting. 

In competitively-lined NFL games with a point spread of 6 points or less, the straight up (SU) winner is 88-10 ATS (90%) this season. So even though the 49ers are a 6-point favorite and at the top-end of the competitively-lined games guideline we use, the chances are nearly 90% (for more than a decade) that a 49ers win results in a point spread cover. In Week 10, those competitively-lined games and SU winners went 7-1 ATS with the Buccaneers (-5) the only ATS loser in a 30-27 win over the Cardinals. 

Tampa Bay rallied for the win in the final two minutes despite two more interceptions by QB Jameis Winston, who leads the league with 14 interceptions and makes more mistakes week after week. Did I mention Winston has also fumbled 10 times this season? I just did, and he's lost four of them and the Bucs are on a 1-4 SU and 0-5 ATS slide making them the most frustrating team to support with Winston at quarterback, as he leads the league in interceptions since he entered the league in 2015 as the overall No. 1 draft pick. Think about those turnover numbers by Winston, and then watch this year's league MVP Russell Wilson play quarterback Monday night. Winston has thrown just one interception this season and has not lost a single fumble. That's another reason why he's ranked No. 1 in ESPN's QBR ratings and Garoppolo is No. 6 and is completing 70% of his passes for the 49ers. 

You can decide if protecting the ball is important as a quarterback, and then understand as well that NY Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (8 INT's and league-high 9 lost fumbles) has a lot to learn moving forward as well. 

Russell Wilson faces a stern test against the 49ers pass defense that ranks No. 1 allowing 138 passing yards per game and No. 2 in completions (56%) and yards per pass completion (8.7). Wilson will have new Seahawks wide receiver Josh Gordon to pass to as he makes his Seattle debut. For years, Wilson benefited from Seattle's elite defense and one of the all-time best in their Super Bowl championship season of 2014 when the Seahawks defense led the league in yards allowed, points allowed, and takeaways - the first team to do so since the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears. The Seahawks defense has just 15 sacks this season and is allowing nearly 26 points per game and 380 yards per game - both in the bottom 10 of the league. Wilson has carried the offense and has been forced to score week after week with the Seahawks allowing at least 20 points in all but one games this season. 

The 49ers picked up their own top receiver a few weeks ago with Emmanuel Sanders coming over from Denver. That's a big boost to the offense and QB Garoppolo, as is the return of starting tackles Joe Staley and Mike McGlinchey as well as Pro Bowl fullback Kyle Juszczyk for Monday's night's key NFC West showdown. 

Top Matchups 

49ers Secondary vs Seahawks Receivers and QB Russell Wilson

The 49ers secondary is a tough match-up each week for opponents, and this week it's especially entertaining and intriguing with former Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman now shutting down opposing wide receivers for the 49ers. Sherman is yielding a most impressive 39.6 passer rating; the lowest among qualified cornerbacks this season. He'll lockdown on Seahawks WR Tyler Lockett, who is most productive and Wilson's go-to receiver. But the addition of Josh Gordon along with rising rookie DK Metcalf gives Wilson some strong targets to compliment a rushing attack that runs the ball 30 times per game; also top 5 in the league. Wilson has 22 touchdown passes and just one interception this season. 

Seattle's pass defense against QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The 49ers lead the league in rushing attempts (38) and running play percentage (56%) on offense, but coach Kyle Shanahan's offensive schemes and play-calling is exceptional with more confidence coming from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and a receiving core that is stronger with Sanders but still led by top tight end George Kittle. The Seahawks defense was scorched the past two games allowing 522 yards (7.8 YPPL) including 433 net passing yards to the QB Matt Ryan and the Falcons, and then 418 yards including 319 passing to mistake-prone QB Jameis Winston in an overtime victory last week. Garoppolo has completed 78% of his passes the past two games with six touchdown passes and new wide receiver Sanders has caught two of them in his first two games with the 49ers. 

49er's Second Half Schedule and Push to the Super Bowl

The schedule stiffens for San Francisco the second half of the season with six games against winning teams including the Seattle (7-2) twice, Green Bay (8-2) and the LA Rams (5-4) at home and road games at Baltimore (7-2), New Orleans (7-2) and Seattle (7-2) in Week 17. By then the 49ers may have the No. 1 seed locked up in the NFC, and are clearly in a solid position to secure a top-2 seed and home field advantage with a bye to open the playoffs. 

Things can change quickly and upsets are going to continue down the stretch after Week 10 produced the biggest two upsets of the season from a point spread perspective. The Saints (-14) lost at home to the Falcons 26-9 and the Colts (-11) were upended by the Dolphins 16-12 at home. Also, home underdogs went 3-1 SU/ATS Sunday and 4-1 SU/ATS for the week which followed a 6-1 ATS home 'Dog log in Week 9. Home underdogs are now 20-20 ATS this season, although just 14-25-1 SU. There are five more home underdogs in Week 11. 

San Francisco is 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS at home this season. Following a 4-0 start, they went to Los Angeles on a short week and battered the Rams 20-7 with Los Angeles having 10 days to prepare. The 49ers defense shut down the Rams on the scoreboard and held LA to just 157 net yards offense (3.1 yards per play) including 48 net yards passing and 10 first downs. After a 9-0 win over Washington in the rain and mud on an off track, the 49ers returned home to crush Carolina 51-13 holding the Panthers offense to 12 first downs, 230 net yards at 3.7 yards per play and just 100 net yards passing. A short week on the road at Arizona saw San Francisco tired and missing players but still built a 28-14 fourth quarter lead before setting for a 28-25 win. 

Now rested and ready with 11 days of preparation themselves to set the record straight in the NFC West, the 49ers are for ready to prove again they are the real deal and a top Super Bowl contender. Look for San Francisco to surpass their team total points and for the 49ers to roll to a higher-scoring victory.

You can bet on it. 

FairwayJay is a leading national sports handicapper and is recognized as one of the sports industry's most insightful analysts. Read more great insights from Jay here and follow him on Twitter: @FairwayJay

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