San Francisco 49ers: Road to the Super Bowl

San Francisco 49ers: Road to the Super Bowl

The San Francisco 49ers haven’t looked this good in quite some time. The 2023 model is easily the best of the Kyle Shanahan Era, at least on paper – maybe even better than the 1981 and 1988 Bill Walsh teams that went on to win the Super Bowl. But it will all be for naught if they don’t beat Kansas City this Sunday.

Fans in the Bay Area have every right to feel nervous. Their team may have finished the regular season 12-5 SU, but they were anything but dominant at the San Francisco 49ers betting window, going 9-8 ATS at Bodog Sportsbook before failing to cash either of their playoff games as sizeable favourites.


As we go to press, Bodog’s Super Bowl betting lines have San Francisco laying two points to Kansas City, flipping the script from four years ago when the Niners were +1.5 at kick-off. Will Shanahan finally get his team over the hump this Sunday? Momentum – if there is such a thing – is definitely not on their side, judging by the crests and troughs of their ATS performance in 2023.

Crest: Week 5

Everything was Camelot for the 49ers back in early October. They were seventh on Bodog’s preseason Super Bowl LVIII odds board at +1400 coming out of the 2023 NFL Draft; after sweeping their first five games at 4-1 ATS, San Francisco was the clear No. 1 title favourite, with their Super Bowl odds tightening to the +400 range.

Scoring at least 30 points every week had something to do with it. QB Brock Purdy was back in fine form after tearing his throwing elbow during last year’s NFC Championship Game – a welcome relief, given that Sam Darnold is Purdy’s back-up this season. Including his last three starts of the 2022 campaign, Purdy joined Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady as the only quarterbacks to rack up eight straight regular-season games of 30 points or more.

Trough: Week 8

Things started going sideways when PK Jake Moody missed what would have been the game-winning field goal from 41 yards out in their 19-17 loss to the Cleveland Browns (+9.5 at home). Then the bottom fell out; the Niners lost their next two games SU and ATS, again scoring just 17 points apiece, as their Super Bowl odds fell towards +600.

Injuries played a key role in San Francisco’s malaise. No. 1 WR Deebo Samuel (shoulder) was ruled out for two of those three losses, alongside stud OT Trent Williams (ankle). Lead tailback Christian McCaffrey (oblique) was dinged up, but managed to play all three games – rushing for a combined 139 yards. McCaffrey beat that total in Week 14 alone.

Crest: Week 13

Ah yes, Week 14. That was when the Niners dropped the hammer on the Seattle Seahawks, who were briefly on top of the NFC West while San Francisco was struggling. McCaffrey sliced and diced the ‘Hawks for 145 yards on just 16 carries in a 28-16 victory, taking advantage of Seattle’s own injury problems to seize control of the division for good – and boost their Super Bowl odds into the +300 level.

Just one problem with that result: San Fran was favoured by 16.5 points at home. They were already starting to cool after their impressive 42-19 romp over the Philadelphia Eagles (+3 at home) in Week 13. In retrospect, the 2022 NFC champions were yet another opponent that saw their season derailed by injuries. But as long as the Niners were winning, their place atop the Super Bowl futures market was secure.

Trough: Super Bowl LVIII?

There’s only so far this latest downswing can take San Francisco with just one game left in the season.  Hindsight will tell us whether things kept getting worse for the Niners in February, but their performance level has been shaky ever since Christmas Day, when they lost 33-19 to the Baltimore Ravens (+6.5 away). That loss saw Baltimore QB Lamar Jackson unseat Purdy as this year’s MVP favourite.

The playoffs have been even more unnerving for Niners fans. Both games were victories, but only by three points over the visiting Green Bay Packers (+10.5) and Detroit Lions (+7.5), and it took a heroic comeback with some mind-boggling plays for San Fran to get past Detroit in the NFC Championship Game.

As with their previous trough, the Niners are experiencing some personnel issues heading into Super Bowl LVIII. They have Samuel and Williams back, but Samuel was questionable heading into the NFC title game after re-injuring his shoulder versus Green Bay. McCaffrey also had to leave the Lions game briefly after hurting his shoulder. Chances are they’ll play on Super Bowl Sunday, as will TE George Kittle (toe), but these premium skill players won’t be at 100% capacity.

San Fran’s Super Bowl Odds

So why are the 49ers favoured by two points this Sunday when they’re not on the upswing? Mostly because they outperformed Kansas City on the season. Advanced metrics (some of them, at least) have San Francisco’s offense No. 1 in the league, and their defense not far behind. KC has the advantage on special teams, thanks in large part to PK Harrison Butker – he’s missed just two of 87 kicks all year.

There’s something to be said for motivation as well. Shanahan and the Niners came achingly close to beating Kansas City at Super Bowl LIV, and now that they’ve made the switch at quarterback from Jimmy Garoppolo to Purdy, San Francisco’s hunger level will be off the charts this Sunday. Can we say the same thing for the defending champs?

Now’s the time to bet on it. We already have hundreds of different ways you can bet on the Super Bowl here at Bodog Sportsbook, so check out our NFL odds page for the latest lines, and we’ll see you in Paradise.


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