49ers are hitting their stride at just the right time in NFC race

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

December 15th, 2021

An old axiom across all sports says you want a team to be playing its best ball near the end of the season. A glance at the NFC West reveals one such team many left for dead earlier in the 2021 NFL season, and that squad hits me as an intriguing wagering proposition.

The San Francisco 49ers dropped five of six games in the first half of the campaign, turning a 2-0 start into one of the 3-5 variety. Two of those losses, though, came to the Arizona Cardinals when that bunch was flying high, another came to the Green Bay Packers, and a fourth came to the Indianapolis Colts (who have also hit their stride late in the year).


There were reasons to believe the Niners would turn things around, and they’ve done that. After Sunday’s thrilling 26-23 overtime win at Cincinnati, San Francisco is 7-6, and if the season stopped now, they’d be in the playoffs. As such, they’re the sixth choice to win the NFC in future betting. They can be had for +1500, and I think that’s worth a flyer.

NFC Championship 2021/2022

Sun, January 30 2022, 5:00 PM

Tampa Bay Buccaneers


Green Bay Packers


Arizona Cardinals


Dallas Cowboys


Los Angeles Rams


San Francisco 49ers


Minnesota Vikings


Philadelphia Eagles


Washington Football Team


New Orleans Saints


San Francisco will benefit from a soft remaining schedule

San Francisco gets a pretty favorable schedule to end the season. Up next is a home date with the Falcons, followed by a trip to Tennessee, a home finale against Houston, and a journey to Los Angeles for a season-ending battle with the Rams. A 2-2 finish is likely enough for a playoff spot, and a 3-1 stretch might well be enough for them to move up in seeding. With the Texans and Falcons struggling, and the Titans battling injuries throughout the year, it’s very possible that game in Los Angeles carries plenty of stakes, and let's not forget that the Niners dusted the Rams 31-10 earlier in the season.

Jimmy G is hitting his stride

Much was made of a possible quarterback controversy before the season, but Jimmy Garoppolo has quietly put forth a strong campaign. He’s hit on two-thirds of his passes and thrown 17 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Add in the emergence of running back Elijah Mitchell, the evolution of big-play threat Deebo Samuel, and the rock-solid presence of all-world tight end George Kittle, and you have an offense that can put plenty of points on the board.

49ers present plenty of value

There’s no doubt that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the team to beat in the NFC. The futures market reflects that, as they’re +220 favorites to go back to the Super Bowl. However, if they lose, it’s anyone’s conference to win. San Francisco’s playing well, they’ve shaken off early-season troubles to gain valuable momentum at a crucial point in the season, and with their remaining schedule not looking overwhelmingly tough, it’s tough to see them falling out of the hunt. With all of that in mind, +1500 hits me as a square price.