It looked bleak at the time and subsequent reports have confirmed the bad news: San Francisco 49ers star quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL and will be out for the season.
General Manager John Lynch told NBC Sports’ Peter King that “all indications” suggested that that’s the injury ahead of Monday’s MRI. As reality sinks in, let’s take a closer look at what type of impact this will have on the 49ers betting lines going forward and what it means to NFL betting fans.
One of the main reasons why everyone expects the 49ers odds to tumble – both futures and week-to-week – is because we know how they play with and without Garoppolo. Their roster is mostly the same as last year’s unit, which started the year 0-9.
It wasn’t until they were 1-10 that they brought in Garoppolo, and then proceeded to win their final five games. In Garoppolo’s five starts, the team scored an average of 28.8 points per game last season. They averaged 24.3 points per game in his three starts this year. Looking back to the 11 starts without him last season, the 49ers averaged just 17.0 points per game.
Had the cast around him drastically changed, we could hold out hope that maybe they can be more competitive without their star signal caller. Given that the 49ers didn’t really change the cast so much, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Taking a look back at the preseason futures, the 49ers were at 30-1 to win the Super Bowl with top NFL bookmakers. That tied them with teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Carolina Panthers, but now they’re tumbling.
Even ahead of the official announcement, 888sport had dropped them to 80-1. In terms of the NFC West futures, keep in mind that this team was expected to finish in second place. The Rams entered the season as a -160 favorite but the 49ers were ahead of the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Now the 49ers are third choice at +1200 at 888Sport and falling, and the Rams are -1000.
And the 49ers were definitely viewed as a team that could possibly make the playoffs. When the lines opened, they were at 12-1 to win the NFC, which put them seventh in line. By Monday afternoon they were 40-1 at 888Sport, ahead of only the miserable Arizona Cardinals.
In terms of a betting impact on the weekly lines, this is going to be quite significant. Oddsmakers estimate Garoppolo’s value on the betting line at a little less than a touchdown. Some sportsbooks post lookahead lines – lines for games weeks further down the schedule – and the 49ers were a 4.5-point underdog at the Los Angeles Chargers before the injury.
Now we see the lines popping up on the board and the 49ers are a 10.5-point underdog at most shops, including 888Sport. That means we’ve seen a six-point swing on the projected line to where it will actually be. And that number could move, depending on where the money comes in.
The other interesting impact is on the total. As mentioned, the 49ers averaged nearly a touchdown per game less without Garoppolo than with him, so that’s where the value could lie here. The total for this week’s game against the Chargers is currently sitting at 47.
There is one other element here to keep in mind, and that’s that the 49ers started last season with Brian Hoyer under center. He was an abject disaster as the team went 0-5, but they actually covered more than a handful of times, losing by an average of 2.75 points per game in his last four starts.
Beathard came in and struggled as the team went 1-6. However, Beathard was a third-round pick last year, so he was thrown to the wolves. The 49ers lost by just over 15 points per game in his five starts. He’s now had a second full offseason to study and learn, and should be better acclimated this time around.
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