NFL Pick: 2023 San Francisco 49ers Over 10.5 Wins (-150) at BetRivers
The San Francisco 49ers lost in the NFC Championship Game for the 2nd year in a row, and they are also behind the Philadelphia Eagles in the odds to win the NFC this season. But the 49ers are still valued as one of the best teams in the NFL thanks to an elite roster and the coaching of Kyle Shanahan.
This will be Shanahan’s first season in San Francisco without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, his safety net who was 42-19 as a starter for him. Garoppolo is with the Raiders now, so Shanahan will have to make sure he can get the job done with Brock Purdy, Sam Darnold, and Trey Lance.
Barring a disaster at quarterback or injuries on par with the 2020 season for this team, the elite players on both sides of the ball should help keep the 49ers marching towards another double-digit win season. The top online sportsbooks have the 49ers with an over/under of 10.5 wins, only a game off the highest total this season in the NFL.
Are they a safe bet, or is there some caution here?
Is quarterback the concern again in San Francisco? What about the change at defensive coordinator? For such a complete roster, do not expect much to be said about the team’s rookie class this year.
Will Brock Purdy Prove 2022 Was No Fluke?
The 49ers have too much elite talent at receiver, running back, and the offensive line to not produce good numbers in this system regardless of who plays quarterback. But the knock on Shanahan was that when Trey Lance was injured last year, his record in games without Garoppolo was 8-29.
Fortunately, the winning streak under Purdy to end the season put some of those concerns to rest. But which version of Purdy are we getting in 2023 after elbow surgery, and what is the real version of Purdy in the first place? It was unprecedented the way his career started with this much success despite a low draft status.
Playing well as a rookie usually leads to having career success at quarterback in the NFL. Injury is the only major way that can change, and Purdy is not without injury on his resume. You have to think not having a huge arm was already a reason in why he was the final pick in the draft, and there are legitimate concerns in just how strong his arm will be this year after surgery.
Getting Away With It
There is also the fact that there is plenty of tape of Purdy getting away with interceptions and risky throws that linebackers did not make him pay for last year. Those breaks may start to go the other way this season. The tape is out and defenses will be less surprised about facing Purdy. He will have to adjust and improve his game.
It is not like the 49ers have any faith in Lance to get the job done or else he would be the starter again. Instead, he might be 3rd string behind Sam Darnold, who has never been a winner in the NFL.
The 49ers threaten to end up like the 1990s Steelers or Chiefs, two teams with talent and great defenses who came up short time and time again in the playoffs because of a failure at quarterback. Last year it was injuries at quarterback, but we still need to see if Purdy is the real deal or not.
New Defensive Coordinator
Results in the NFL are less consistent season to season on defense than they are on offense. But some defenses can put together strong runs for a few years at a time. The 49ers certainly have the talent to do it, but they will have another new coordinator after DeMeco Ryans got the head coaching job in Houston.
Ryans held the job for 2 seasons, replacing Robert Saleh, who left to coach the Jets in 2021. Shanahan continues to hire good staffers who can go onto bigger things elsewhere. He has hired Steve Wilks, who failed as Arizona’s head coach in 2018, but he did a respectable job as Carolina’s interim coach last year.
Wilks will have more talent on defense than he ever has before in his NFL career. The 49ers have returned most of their defensive studs except for safety Jimmie Ward. They also added Javon Hargrave at defensive tackle. He should be a stud in this front after having 11 sacks for the Eagles last year.
The Draft Haul
With the 49ers making so many trades in the past, they did not draft anyone until the 87th pick when they took safety Ji’Ayir Brown. They also used a 3rd-round pick on tight end Cameron Latu, who will have to learn behind George Kittle, one of the best in the game.
Oddly enough, the player from this draft class who should have the most significant role this year is kicker Jake Moody. Using a 3rd-round pick on a kicker still feels wrong, but hopefully, this will go better than the last time a team used a top 100 pick on one when Tampa Bay selected Roberto Aguayo.
Kicker is such a mental position, and the added pressure to be good after getting drafted so high seemed to do Aguayo in. Moody comes with less fanfare, but he will be held to a high standard in San Francisco.
2023 Schedule Analysis
With a chance to remain elite on both sides of the ball, the real question is can you find more than 6 losses on this San Francisco schedule?
There may not be a game against a quarterback capable of scoring 21 points on this defense until Dak Prescott and the Cowboys in Week 5. Given how the playoffs have gone the last 2 years for Dallas against this defense, that is no guarantee either, and the game is in San Francisco.
The NFC West division should be very winnable with the Seahawks not having an answer in 3 tries against the 49ers last year, and there is concern that Geno Smith could have been a one-year wonder in 2022. The Cardinals are a mess (sweep incoming) and the Rams have 3 studs and 50 duds on their roster.
There are other teams with more betting value for their over in wins or their odds of winning their division, but the 49ers are a solid pick to count on for your NFL ATS bets this year.
NFL Pick: 2023 San Francisco 49ers Over 10.5 Wins (-150) at BetRivers
2022 Recap: One Quick Pressure Ruined Everything
At 3-4, the 49ers were in danger of having a lost season. They already lost quarterback Trey Lance for the season just 5 quarters into 2022. The offense was not thriving, and while the defense was doing some great things, this unit allowed 28 points to the Falcons and 44 points to the Chiefs in back-to-back weeks.
Getting hit with a Patrick Mahomes avalanche is understandable, but how do you let Marcus Mariota complete 13-of-14 passes for 129 yards and 2 touchdowns? Losing to the Falcons (7-10), Broncos (5-12), and Bears (3-14) were terrible losses for this team that was expecting to get back to a Super Bowl.
Sweeping In the West
But the 49ers swept the Rams to get back to .500, then a bye week helped calm things down. The 49ers traded for running back Christian McCaffrey in October, and he did not take long to start paying dividends. The 49ers were rolling along with a 4-game winning streak led by Nick Bosa, the Defensive Player of the Year.
But in Week 13 against Miami, the 49ers would lose another quarterback for the year when Jimmy Garoppolo broke his foot. This put Brock Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 draft, into action. With no expectations, he came off the bench and passed for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns in a win.
In his first start against the Buccaneers, Purdy had his team up 35-0 on Tom Brady’s team. The 49ers were not beating great teams, but they were winning confidently with a rookie who looked well beyond his pedigree. Purdy threw multiple touchdowns in 7 straight games, tying a rookie record held by Justin Herbert.
Purdy made his playoff debut against the Seahawks in the wild-card round, and he helped complete the 3-0 sweep over Seattle with an incredible performance. Purdy passed for 332 yards and 3 touchdowns, numbers not seen by a rookie quarterback in the playoffs since Sammy Baugh in 1937. World War II hadn’t even started yet.
Purdy was more subdued in the 19-12 win over the Cowboys in the divisional round, but that is why the defense gets paid too. They did a great job slowing down Dak Prescott and winning that game to set up another NFC Championship Game appearance.
It was the matchup many had wanted to see in the NFC all year, but just 4 snaps into Purdy’s opening drive, everything went sour after a quick pressure led to a strip-sack and Purdy injured his elbow. Josh Johnson had to enter the game as Garoppolo was not ready to return, and Johnson also had to leave after suffering a concussion.
This left the 49ers without a quarterback who could throw. Purdy had to finish the game but the team kept the ball on the ground due to his elbow condition. The 49ers lost 31-7 in one of the most disappointing and frustrating ends to a 12-game winning streak in NFL history.