The San Francisco 49ers need to shake off mistakes from an eight point loss at the Vikings last Sunday in anticipation of hosting the Detroit Lions in their 2018 home opener. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

When: Sunday, September 16th, 1:05pm PST (FOX)
Where: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Odds: 49ers -6, total at 47.5

Detroit Lions
The Lions are coming off an absolute throttling by the New York Jets in prime time. We had anticipated that Lions head coach Matt Patricia might not live up to expectations but did not anticipate how lost he and his team might appear, nor did we expect Matt Stafford to throw four interceptions in a dismal offensive performance at home. Beside the defense's pick-six on the first play of the game, the Lions offense managed only a single touchdown as the Detroit running game continues to be a non-factor in its pass-heavy offense.

Football Outsiders uses a DVOA-Adjusted for Variation Early (DAVE) rating that combines preseason projections with early games to try and predict outcomes, and currently give the Lions a -14.1 percent DAVE, an estimated mean wins of 6 games, a 1.6 percent chance of making the Conference Championship game and 36.7 percent chance of a top-five pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. ESPN's updated football power index (FPI) has the Lions ranked 30th at -4.4 with a predicted win total of 5 games and a 3.6 percent chance of making the playoffs. Yes, this is the smallest of sample sizes but it didn't take an expert statistician to know the Lions looked bad in Week 1.

San Francisco 49ers
It's understandable if 49ers fans are bemoaning what could have been if Alfred Morris didn't fumble the ball at the Vikings' one yard line or if Kendrick Bourne ran the correct route on Garoppolo's pick-six or if George Kittle didn't drop a wide open pass deep in Vikings' territory; but close only matters in horseshoes and hand grenades and the 49ers' mistakes that could have made the difference against the Vikings were the result of poor execution and preparation, and if the Niners want to get better they will need to learn from and improve upon these errors.

While the defense performed admirably and the emergence of Dante Pettis is reason for optimism, the 49ers offensive line and Garoppolo's three interceptions are cause for concern. Football Outsiders currently give the Niners a -10.1 percent DAVE, an estimated mean wins of 6.8 games, a 3.0 percent chance of making the Conference Championship game and 28.3 percent chance of a top-five pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. ESPN's FPI has the Niners ranked 16th at 0.3 with a predicted win total of 8 games and a 27.3 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Prediction
We had previously predicted that the Lions would miss Jim Caldwell and take a step back this season, and that Matt Patricia, like previous former-Belichick-assistants-turned-first-time-head-coaches, might not live up to the hype. But these are professionals and Matt Stafford has never let interceptions stop him from gun-slinging when given the opportunity, and we fully expect to see Stafford have improved production and the Lions to show up fighting for their season on Sunday.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw three interceptions and looked terrible in spots but this was against one of the most elite defenses in all the NFL in one of the loudest stadiums in the league. He certainly needs to play better to justify his contract but that might also depend on the play and health of his offensive line, whose right side all but collapsed following the injuries to Josh Garnett and Mike Person. The Niners will be without Reuben Foster for one more game but rookie Fred Warner stepped up in his first NFL game and DeForest Buckner continues to rise as a defensive force, collecting seven total tackles, 2.5 sacks, three tackles for loss and three quarterback hits in Week 1.

We anticipate a much better effort and more points from Matt Stafford and the Lions offense this week but will it be enough to beat the Niners or cover the 6 point spread? We've already gone on the record predicting the Niners to win this game and believe that the defense will find a way to continue to make plays and get a turnover or two in their home opener. If the offensive line plays a bit better against a defense that is softer than the Vikings front, Jimmy Garoppolo should have a little more time and comfort that will help get the offense going against a Lions defense that allowed 198 passing yards and two touchdowns to the youngest quarterback to ever start an NFL season opener in Sam Darnold.

The spread opened at 49ers -3.5 and has been bet up to -6, possibly reflecting a lack of faith in a Detroit team that looked terrible and has to travel to the West Coast on a short week. Detroit's offense will score more points, leading to a higher scoring game overall, but that will not be enough to keep up with a 49ers offense that gets back on track this week. Pick: 49ers -6 points.

Season
SU: 1-0
ATS: 0-1

Poll

  • What is your best bet for 49ers vs Lions on 9/16/18?
  • Lions +6
  • 49ers -6
  • Under 47.5
  • Over 47.5