2012 San Francisco 49ers Betting Preview
We knew the San Francisco 49ers, over recent seasons, had some talent; they just didn’t have anybody who knew what to do with it. Until last year, apparently, when Coach Harbaugh, in his first season in charge, immediately led an underachieving San Francisco team to the brink of the Super Bowl. The 49ers hadn’t even made the playoffs in nine seasons, then got within a fumbled punt of winning the NFC. The next step now for this team is to get to the Super Bowl.
Last Season in Review
The Niners opened last year with a win over Seattle, then blew a game vs. Dallas. They then won eight in a row, coming from 20 points down to beat the Eagles in Philly, scoring late to beat the Lions in Detroit and knocking off the Giants. San Fran then lost the Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh showdown in Baltimore, and later dropped a game at Arizona, but won its last three to finish at 13-3, winning the NFC West for the first time since 2002.
In the playoffs the Niners scored late to beat the Saints in a thrilling NFC divisional-round game. And thanks to the Giants victory at Green Bay San Francisco got to host the NFC championship game. But their luck finally ran out in a 20-17 overtime loss to New York, brought about in part by two special teams turnovers, the killer in OT.
San Francisco ranked just 26th in the league in offense last year at 311 YPG, but eighth in rushing at 128 YPG. On the other side of the ball the Niners ranked fourth in defense, allowing 308 YPG, and first vs. the run, giving up a stingy 77 YPG on the ground.
Overall San Fran ranked 14th in total yardage at +3 YPG, second in total rushing at +51 YPG and fourth in average time-of-possession at +4:04 per game.
Around the league last year teams that outrushed their opponents covered the spread 69 percent of the time, and teams that won the TOP battle covered 66 percent of games. As it turned out, the Niners were the best team in the league to bet on last year, going 12-3-1 ATS.
Also, as 49ers games averaged 38 points, sixth-fewest in the league, they went 7-9 on the ‘over/unders.’
Individually QB Alex Smith had his finest season as a pro last year, completing 61 percent of his throws for 3,100 yards, with 17 TD passes and just five interceptions. RB Frank Gore ran for 1,200 yards and K David Akers set a new NFL record with 44 made field goals, although he wouldn’t have had as many chances had the Niners stuck the ball in the end zone a bit more often.
Over the off-season the Niners didn’t lose much of note. But in the acquisitions department they brought in Randy Moss and Mario Manningham, and drafted Illinois wide receiver AJ Jenkins at No. 30 overall, to add to Michael Crabtree and Vernon Davis on the receiving corps. They also bolstered the backfield by signing former Giant Brandon Jacobs and drafting Oregon RB LaMichael James at No. 61 overall. If everything meshes, the San Francisco offense could be very dangerous this season.
2012 Niners Schedule
According to last year’s W/L records the 49ers will play the seventh-easiest schedule in the league this year. They’ve only five games vs. teams that made the playoffs last year, although they also play at the Jets and host the Bears. San Fran gets two of those tough games out of the way in the first two weeks when it opens at Green Bay, then hosts Detroit. Four weeks later they host the Giants in a championship game rematch, visit New Orleans in another playoff rematch a month later, and play at New England on a Monday night in December. But other than that we see a lot of very winnable games for the Niners.
2012 San Francisco 49ers Betting Odds and Prediction
The 49ers are listed as -250 favorites at Bovada to win the NFC West this season, and at 11/2 to win the NFC and 10/1 to win the Super Bowl. San Francisco is also lined with a regular-season wins ‘over/under’ of 10 (-115 both ways) at 5Dimes.
The Niners came close to going all the way last year, and they should be even better this year. Smith appears to be taking to Harbaugh’s tutoring, they’ve gotten deep at the skills positions and the defense is top-five. A quick glance at their schedule shows us at least a dozen winnable games. So we’re leaning toward the ‘over’ on 10 wins for San Francisco this season.