The San Francisco 49ers start their quest to return to the Super Bowl with a road trip to visit the Detroit Lions. Las Vegas’ NFL odds have them as a favorite by more than a touchdown though the money is going the other way. Is there more than meets the eye in this matchup?
|Game: San Francisco 49ers at Detroit Lions
Location: Ford Field Date: Sunday,
Time: 1 p.m. ET
|Team||Point Spread||Moneyline||Over/Under||Team Total|
|San Francisco||-7½ -105||-350||45 -110o||27 -110o/-120u|
|Detroit||+7½ -115||+290||45 -110u||17½ -135o/+105u|
Head to Head
This has been a one-sided matchup in recent history. The San Francisco 49ers have beaten the Lions in 10 of their last 11 meetings and hold an all-time record of 38-28-1. The Lions’ only win since 1995 came in 2015 when the Niners had Jim Tomsula as a coach and they finished with a 5-11 record.
San Francisco 49ers
Next game: at Philadelphia Eagles
San Francisco was decimated by injuries last season and finished with a 6-10 record. The Niners had a 4-3 record heading to Week 8 when the wheels started to fall off. Amidst all their injuries, the Niners still managed to sweep the Rams as they finished with a 3-3 division record.
NFL Predictions Part 2
— Jonny Meeson (@JMeeson) September 8, 2021
The Niners are healthy for the most part. Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) is their most significant injury as he is listed as “probable.” Backup quarterback Trey Lance (finger) is listed as “questionable.”
Next game: at Green Bay Packers
NFL predictions have the Lions finishing as one of the worst three teams and they have last season to thank for setting this up. Detroit went through everything last season: COVID, injuries and a front office that got sacked 11 games in. Detroit finished 5-11, their third straight losing season.
Detroit has some minor injuries. Starters like wide receiver Tyrell Williams (groin), running back D’Andre Swift (groin) and tight end T.J. Hockenson (shoulder) are all listed as probable. Defensive end Michael Brockers (undisclosed) has also been upgraded to probable.
Betting on the Game
The sportsbook’s lines have not changed much since it opened. The spread continues to be 7½ and, surprisingly, the Lions are receiving plenty of support. This is likely a fade against the Niners as this team’s defense-first approach has yielded closer games than what’s on paper.
San Francisco went 13-3 but only 9-6-1 against the spread (ATS) in 2019. The team failed to cover all five games where it was lined as seven-point favorites or more. As a road team that was favored, the Niners went 1-2. But they are going against the Lions so this should be easier, right?
Detroit went 7-9 ATS last season and only 1-3 when it was an underdog by seven or more points. And this was when Detroit had Matthew Stafford to depend on as quarterback. With a new quarterback in Jared Goff and a new coaching staff, the Lions are starting from dirt.
The Niners have also covered on four of the last six times at Detroit. This is compounded by Detroit’s penchant for starting the season on the wrong foot. The Lions have only covered in two of their last six season openers.
But don’t be so quick to fade the Lions. New coach Dan Campbell already knows of the low expectations strapped on his team. But he brings plenty of fire to this group and the Lions may just “ambush” the Niners if they show any signs of rust.
If the Lions got support on the spread, they received even more support on the moneyline. Detroit now +290 when betting online but they opened at a whopping +385. San Francisco backers should be happy seeing this as the line went from -475 to -350.
The Lions will have Jared Goff, who is 3-5 against the Niners with an 88.2 passer rating, at QB. He was playing behind a significantly better team in the Los Angeles Rams. The Lions are not quite up to that standard. The offensive line will have trouble dealing with the Niners’ top-rated pass rush.
A healthy defensive end in Nick Bosa could mean a return to one of the NFL’s best defense. The Niners allowed the second-fewest yards and eighth-fewest points in 2019. They also averaged three sacks and nearly six quarterback hits a game.
Campbell is preaching about making his team tougher and they’ll need to be. The Niners have a great offensive line and have a wealth of skill position players that can put up points on any team. If the Niners can get right to business like in 2019, they should beat Detroit with no problems.
The totals remain at 45 as it opened. This is the fourth-lowest totals of the week as we have the Niners potentially limiting the Lions to a single-digit score. However, they could also cover the spread by themselves if this turns into a blowout.
That is unlikely as the totals only went over on three of San Francisco’s road games in 2019. However, the Niners have the ability to explode and score over 40 points. They had three games like that in 2019 and scored 30 or more points in half of their games. There could be plenty of points to be had here.