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NFC West Cellar Beckons Once Again in San Francisco

It’s a dark period for 49ers fans and bettors but that faint flicker in the distance is the light at the end of this very long, very dark tunnel. It’s going to take some time to reach that twinkle, but things have to be better than in 2016, right? RIGHT!? Back-to-back last-place seasons in the NFL’s worst division compound matters even more in the Bay Area but a new head coach and new GM, both locked in for six years, reflect some semblance of a plan.

At 2-14 last season, the Niners left a lot to be desired for fans in the stands and couldn’t even cash for their backers, finishing 4-11-1 against the spread, tied with the Los Angeles Rams for the second-worst ATS record in the league (Cleveland 3-12-1). The 2017 campaign probably won’t be much better at the betting window, so by all means fade away once again.

The coaching carousel in San Fran has been a bit crazy down the years but Kyle Shanahan (most recently the offensive coordinator in Atlanta) offers a bit of hope. It will certainly take some time to build an NFL-caliber offense (of which he is also the coordinator) in San Francisco, but what he did with the Falcons offense last season was scary. That said, nobody is mistaking Brian Hoyer or Matt Barkley for Matt Ryan.

The defensive side also needs some work after a poor season. Robert Saleh comes in as the new defensive coordinator after a couple of seasons as the linebackers coach in Jacksonville. There are good pieces for him to play with here, including first-round draft picks Solomon Thomas and Reuben Foster, past first-round picks Arik Armstead and DeForest Buckner and stud linebacker NaVorro Bowman (please stay healthy). After finishing dead last in total defense and rushing defense, there is nowhere to go but up for Saleh and that defense.

A perfect sentiment overall in San Fran: there is nowhere to go but up.

I’m not suggesting miracles are going to take place and am not recommending you should go out and back this team to win the NFC West, but be prepared for baby steps and small, minor milestones. Four or five wins following last season’s disaster would be regarded as a victory for this franchise.

Is there anything to look at backing in season-long prop markets here? Well, let’s take a look:

Super Bowl +30000

I mean … if you’re betting this, you probably do so every year as a dedicated 49ers fan and backer and, for that, I salute you.

I don’t need a ton of real estate on this page to tell you that this in no way, shape or form is going to happen, so let’s move on to some other stuff, shall we? Great. Thanks.

Finish Fourth in the NFC West -175

Good lord, even this season-long prop wager lacks any real value.

Online shop BetOnline is offering these fun props for all teams and all divisions and the Niners are a chalky option to finish fourth for good reason, obviously. Even the Rams are +175 for fourth. That’s how bad things are going to be in 2017.

As mentioned, it’s been back-to-back seasons in the NFC West cellar and Niners fans should brace for another. But while we’re doing that, pad your bankroll and hammer the hell out of this bet.

Win Total – 4.5

Backing the OVER here is really chalky at -170 but I find this number very sharp and I like the 49ers to win bang-on four games in 2017 so we’ll take UNDER at +140.

The schedule isn’t the toughest out there but for this Niners team, every single one of these games will be a grind if they are going to win.

I’m just going to call it right now: they win the highly anticipated ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ) Thursday nighter at home against the Rams in Week 3, they win at the Bears in Week 13, they beat the Jags at home in Week 16 and they upset somebody else along the way for win No. 4. Maybe the Seahawks at home after their bye week (Week 12).

If that actually pans out, I’ll be really proud of myself.

Reuben Foster Defensive Rookie of the Year +450

You can also find teammate Solomon Thomas at +900 but I’ll take the linebacker to win DROY at that price.

You have to go back to 2012 to find the last time a linebacker won the award: the great Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers.

As a senior with Alabama, Foster made 115 tackles and added five sacks and was the recipient of the Butkus Award as college football’s top linebacker.

Foster was drafted 31st overall and is second on the board here behind Myles Garrett of the Cleveland Browns at +400. He was a tackling machine at Bama and I’d like to believe that continues in the pros under Saleh.

I like both of the Niners’ first-round picks on this board and it should be noted that Thomas has already moved from +1000 to +900, but I’ll be backing Foster as DROY.

2017 San Francisco 49ers Futures Odds
Super Bowl+30000
NFC Championship+10000
NFC West+1800
Win Total 4.5

Odds as of August 21 at Bovada