Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at 7:00 PM
During the summer, the San Francisco 49ers were installed as a small home favorite over the Minnesota Vikings in their Monday night season opener. Since that time…sharps have driven that number across pick-em…and almost all the way to a full field goal for what is now a road favorite. That’s been part of a storyline that also involves Futures pricing and other investment dynamics.
*The Wise Guys LOVE Minnesota, and young QB Teddy Bridgewater!
*The Wise Guys HATE San Francisco given what looks to be a franchise implosion
This may be hard for casual fans to absorb right away. San Francisco has been mentioned in the same breath as Seattle for so long that those two NFC West (and league) powers seemed joined at the hip. But…with Jim Harbaugh leaving amidst so much turmoil…and the lack of evidence that quarterback Colin Kaepernick can win on his own without a former QB shielding his weaknesses from the sideline…the Niners are being treated like the Titanic after impact with the iceberg. Their projected win total and Super Bowl odds keeps sinking.
If you’re +2.5 at home vs. Minnesota…then you’re about 5 points worse than Minnesota on a neutral field. Minnesota isn’t even a playoff team (yet). That suggests San Francisco may have become the West Coast version of the Washington Redskins. A distant also-ran in the NFC.
Let’s review JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats to see what happened…
2014 Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
Minnesota: 7-9 (#22 schedule in USA Today)
San Francisco: 8-8 (#12 schedule in USA Today)
There was just a game separating these two at the end of 2014. San Francisco’s slide had already begun…though it came against the tougher schedule.
Minnesota: 5.1 on offense, 5.4 on defense
San Francisco: 5.2 on offense, 5.2 on defense
Just fractional differences as we’re looking at decent defenses but offenses that had trouble making big plays. The good news for Minnesota is that Bridgewater has a learning curve that could launch them into the high 5’s this season in this stat. Kaepernick can only make big plays with his legs…and that’s not a skill that lasts long in this league.
2014 Turnover Differential
San Francisco: +7
What looks like good news for SF may be bad news going forward. Again, Bridgewater is early in his learning curve…which means he and the Vikings should be on the right size of zero this season. SF’s success here has been based on extreme conservatism on third downs. Under Harbaugh, they’d rather punt than throw an interception. A new coaching approach may start asking more of Kaepernick. He’s proven to be a poor decision-maker under pressure. This stat more than any other may signal the demise of SF moving forward.
2014 Market Performance
Minnesota: 10-6 ATS
San Francisco: 6-9-1 ATS
Very interesting. Even though Bridgewater was showing growing pains, the Vikings were still a big moneymaker last season. The market didn’t give them enough respect. San Francisco was no longer a league power even though they were priced like they were still joined at the hip with the Seahawks. Much of what’s happened in team perception during the off-season is just the market catching up with what they were missing last year!
Current Line: Minnesota by 2.5, total of 41.5
Let’s see if that changes by game time. Maybe some San Francisco support will show up. That’s more likely if the game moves to the key number of three. The public may find the 49ers irresistible as a home underdog. Early bettors on the Vikings are happy with their positions.
JIM HURLEY has been studying both halves of the MNF doubleheader (this plus Philadelphia/Atlanta) all summer long. The schedules have been out for months. Vegas posted early numbers to generate sportsbook traffic. All angles have been covered by our exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach!
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Back with you tomorrow to post our “midweek” report on the upcoming Thursday nighter in the AFC. Here’s how the week looks for big game TV previews here in the NOTEBOOK…
Midweek: NFL TV Preview…Denver at Kansas City
Friday-Saturday: College Football TV Preview…Ole Miss at Alabama
Sunday: NFL TV Preview…Seattle at Green Bay
Monday: NFL TV Preview…NY Jets at Indianapolis
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