The San Francisco 49ers will travel to Motor City to take on the Detroit Lions in their season opener on Sunday, September 12, 2021.
San Francisco is looking to bounce back this year after an injury-plagued 2020 season that followed their Super Bowl LIV appearance. Jimmy Garoppolo is back and although the 49ers have not made it official, he is expected to be the week 1 starter. Likewise, San Francisco will have Nick Bosa and other key defensive players back in this game. The 49ers are one of the top favorites to win the championship this season and they look to prove their status on opening night.
Detroit traded starting QB Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff during the offseason after a 5-11 SU and 7-9 ATS season. After a 41-25 loss to Houston, the team fired both head coach Mike Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn. They hired former Saints assistant head coach Dan Campbell to take over and he will be making his coaching debut in this game. With lots of new faces in key places, the Lions’ 4.5 win total is the second-lowest in the league this season.
The 49ers drafted Trey Lance with the 3rd overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft and many expected coach Kyle Shanahan to give him the keys to the car. But Shanahan has been coy about who will start on Sunday but he said in the offseason that both Jimmy G. and Lance will get their opportunities this season. Lance however suffered a chipped bone in his right index finger during the preseason and was a limited participant in practice this week.
However, with the likes of Jimmy G., Nick Bosa, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert, and Dee Ford given the green light to play in this game, the 49ers are sizeable favorites to beat the Lions. In his six games last season, Garoppolo threw for 1,096 yards with seven touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 67.1% of his passes. San Francisco ranked only 17th in scoring at 22.6 points per game but their defense was 5th overall with just 314.4 total yards allowed.
The Lions have a new quarterback in Jared Goff who last year played for the L.A. Rams. Goff started 15 games last season and completed 67% of his passes while throwing for 3,952 passing yards with 20 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions. Goff has played against Jimmy G. three times before and his team lost all three games. Goff has won 42 total games in the last four seasons which ranks second only to Tom Brady’s 47.
The Detroit defense was the worst in the league last season as they allowed 419.8 total yards per game and 284.5 passing yards per outing. The Lions were also in the bottom in scoring defense after giving up 32.9 points per game. They were also 28th in rushing defense at 28.45 rushing yards per game and 27th with only 24 total sacks.
San Francisco is 1-4 SU in their last five games played and 2-6 SU in their last eight games against the NFC. The 49ers are 12-5 SU in their last 17 games played on the road. Detroit is 1-6 SU in their last seven games played. The Lions are 1-11 SU in their last 12 games played at home and 1-4 SU in their last five games against the NFC.
Head to head, San Francisco is 10-1 SU in their last 11 games played against Detroit and 9-1 SU in their last 10 games played overall.
Finally, the 49ers will have their best players healthy. Premier pass rusher Nick Bosa is back after missing 14 games last season. Starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo is also coming off a season where he missed 10 games. George Kittle also played just 8 games last season.
With these three back, San Francisco has a loaded lineup that may be a Super Bowl contender.
Detroit meanwhile has the same weapons but they have a new quarterback in Jared Goff. With former QB Matthew Stafford presumed to be better, the Lions aren’t expected to make noise this season.
The 49ers may have the best team in the NFC and against an inferior opponent, they would like to serve notice to the rest of the conference right away by winning this game and covering the spread. Expect Garoppolo to be at his best as he tries to prove he still deserves to be the starter.
Prediction: San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco is 4-2 ATS in their last six games against the NFC North. The 49ers are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games played on FieldTurf, 5-2 ATS in their last seven September games, and 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Week 1 game.
Detroit is 1-6 ATS in their last seven games played. The Lions are also 1-10 ATS in their last 11 games played at home, and 5-11 ATS in their last 16 games played on FieldTurf.
Head to head, the 49ers are 4-2 ATS in their last six games played in Detroit. San Francisco is also 5-3-2 ATS in their last 10 games against the Lions.
Between Garoppolo, Bosa, and Kittle being rusty after missing at least half of the previous season each and the Lions’ trying to establish a new identity under Goff and Campbell, I’d rather risk my money on the former.
Other bettors like to fade road teams with huge betting spreads on the opening week because teams are still trying to get back in form in week 1. However, the discrepancy in talent level may be too much, both on offense and defense.
While I expect the 49ers to have a slower start, they should rediscover their previous form in the second half and pull away from the undermatched Lions. Prediction: San Francisco 49ers -9
The total has gone over in six out of San Francisco’s last nine games played in September. The over is also 4-0-1 in San Francisco’s last five games as road favorites, 5-2 in their last seven games overall as the betting favorite. The over is also 3-2 in their last five games played.
The total has gone over in seven out of Detroit’s last 10 games played. The over is 13-3 in their last 16 week 1 game, 4-1 in their last five September games, 7-2 in their last nine games on FieldTurf, 6-2 in their last eight games as betting underdogs, and 9-3 in their last 12 games as home underdogs.
The 49ers were an excellent defensive team in 2020 and with Bosa back, they should be one of the strongest defensive units in the league. However, this is week 1 and I don’t expect them to be in mid-season form yet.
The San Francisco offense will get a massive boost with the return of Jimmy G. and a healthy George Kittle. Their strong running game will open up the passing opportunities for Garoppolo and produce a high-scoring affair.
Detroit wasn’t an excellent offensive team last season but Goff should give them a new look and perhaps a new hope. I expect a spirited effort from the Lions here. Their defense wasn’t also elite so we should see a high-scoring affair.
Prediction: Over 45
Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.