The San Francisco 49ers had an offseason from hell losing key players from their defense and offensive line. New coach Jim Tomsula couldn’t have been dealt a worse hand taking over from Jim Harbaugh.
This has resulted in a historic downward line movement in San Francisco’s regular-season over/under win total. The 49ers opened as high a 8 1/2 victories at some bet shops. They are now down to as low as six victories.
I’ve been involved in the Las Vegas sports gaming scene for more than 30 years and I can’t recall a bigger team adjustment on this prop.
Is the Niners Line Move Justified?
It just may be. The 49ers lost star defensive players Patrick Willis, Justin Smith and Chris Borland to retirement. Talented but troubled Aldon Smith was booted off the squad after more trouble with the law thus taking away the 49ers’ top pass rushing threat. Franchise rushing leader Frank Gore bolted to Indianapolis.
Gone, too, are starting offensive linemen Mike Iupati and Anthony Davis.
And, of course, Jim Harbaugh left for Michigan. Harbaugh was one of the few NFL coaches actually worth something on the betting line. San Francisco went 49-22-1 during Harbaugh’s four seasons.
So it’s easy to understand why the 49ers have been bet down both on their regular-season win total and in their opener against the Vikings where they went from more than an opening field goal favorite to a 2 1/2-point home underdog.
Tomsula Seeks San Fran Stability
Tomsula, the 49ers’ longtime defensive line coach, hopes to bring stability. The 49ers and Harbaugh were at their dysfunctional worst losing four of their final five games while going 0-5-1 ATS during their last six games of 2014.
San Francisco isn’t in a total rebuild spot. Just two years ago, the 49ers reached the NFC title game and three seasons ago were in the Super Bowl. There still are some good defensive players, including linebacker NaVorro Bowman.
There should be far less drama with Harbaugh and serial troublemaker Aldon Smith gone. The key is how Colin Kaepernick bounces back in his third full year as a starter after regressing last season.