2022 Super Bowl Odds and Predictions: Bet 49ers To Win Title, Plus NFC Championship Before Week 18 Kicks Off
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images. Pictured: 49ers TE George Kittle celebrates with WR Deebo Samuel
We don’t yet have the completed 2022 NFL playoff bracket, but that means now is the right time to bet on futures.
Once the bracket is set, these numbers shorten, and they only shorten further as teams begin to get eliminated. But right now, while there are still unknowns surrounding matchups and exactly which teams will make the postseason, there’s real value — especially on teams yet to clinch a playoff berth.
And that’s why now is the time to bet on the San Francisco 49ers to win the NFC and maybe even the Super Bowl.
The 49ers are +2500 to win the NFC and +5000 to win the 2022 Super Bowl at BetRivers. Make sure to use our tools to shop for the best line available in your state.
The Niners still need to clinch a playoff berth this weekend, which they can do with either a win over the Rams or if the Saints lose to the Falcons. I like both the 49ers and Falcons in those games and wrote about them already, so that gives us multiple paths to the playoffs. It also reminds us why we need to bet these 49ers futures before kickoff on Sunday. Part of the reason these odds are so long is because the playoffs start early for the Niners — this bet could already be dead by Sunday night. That’s a risk we’ll have to take.
There are two main reasons you should nibble a bit on 49ers futures. First, the NFC contenders are flawed and ripe for the picking in the right matchup. And second, the 49ers are very good — maybe just as good as those five presumed “contenders” — and the exact sort of nightmare matchup built to expose those flawed teams and succeed in January playoff football.
49ers Are Good Enough To Make a Deep Run
Let’s start with the case for the Niners. San Francisco is genuinely really good.
The Niners rank seventh in the NFL in DVOA on the season, per Football Outsiders. That’s ahead of the league’s last unbeaten team, the Cardinals, and ahead of the 1-seed Packers. The 49ers offense ranks fifth in DVOA, including top-five rankings in both passing and rushing. This offense is very balanced and very good.
It’s easy to focus too much on quarterback, and there’s little question the Niners don’t stack up to the top five NFC contenders at QB. Jimmy Garoppolo actually has outstanding metrics for the season, but he’s hurt and may or may not play, and rookie Trey Lance is unproven and mostly untested.
But the 49ers offense is succeeding because of the other pieces, not the QB. They’re not succeeding in spite of the quarterback; it’s more that the other pieces are amplifying whoever is under center and making them look good.
LT Trent Williams is maybe the best non-QB in football. He has been an absolute stud for San Francisco, is the best offensive lineman in football and makes everything go for this team’s passing and running attack. And then there’s TE George Kittle, who also has a real case as the best non-QB in the game. Kittle is unstoppable as a pass catcher, and he’s also a great blocker and an un-coverable weapon.
FB Kyle Juszczyk is another weapon no other team has. His blocking and versatility give the Niners a look that no team can match. Juszczyk has made six consecutive Pro Bowls and absolutely cleans guys up as he clears the way. And then there’s WR/RB/weapon Deebo Samuel. There’s no weapon like him in the NFL — ever, really. Samuel had 1,630 yards from scrimmage and 13 TDs split evenly as a runner and as a pass catcher. Brandon Aiyuk has also stepped up down the stretch, and the Niners consistently have huge yards after the catch.
The 49ers win games in the trenches and they win them with scheming, stretching the field both vertically and horizontally. With so much blocking in every direction and speed, any position player can bust a huge play at any time.
It’s the system, stupid — and it’s working.
Four times this season, the 49ers have been missing at least one of Trent Williams, George Kittle or Deebo Samuel. The Niners went 1-3 in those games — with the one win coming against the Bears — averaging only 21.0 PPG. They’re at 26.3 PPG in all the other games.
And look at the team since they turned a corner in Week 10. The 49ers are fourth in Expected Points Added (EPA) since Week 10, per RBSDM. That includes fifth in offensive EPA and ninth in defensive EPA, not to mention the Niners are top-five in both passing EPA and rushing defense EPA. San Francisco is 6-2 in that stretch, and one of those losses was a game without Samuel.
San Francisco is really good — good enough to look any other team in the eye any given Sunday and know they can win. The 49ers will not feel like underdogs against anyone.
NFC Contenders Are Flawed & 49ers Matchup Well
It’s not just that the 49ers are very good but also that the rest of the NFC is more good than great.
The Packers offense has been unstoppable down the stretch, but they’re dead last in special teams DVOA and well below average defensively, including a bottom-five rank against the run. The Bucs have been decimated by injuries all season. A once historically great run defense has been below average and problematic lately, while the secondary has been in the hospital most of the season. The offensive weapons are banged up and question marks too.
The Cowboys and Cardinals may have both peaked too soon. Dallas’ defense has been awesome, but the offense has gone missing. The passing attack has fallen off and the run game is absent altogether. Arizona’s offense has struggled without DeAndre Hopkins and hasn’t run the ball well all year, and the Cards defense has cratered against the run without J.J. Watt. Dallas has been below average against the run too.
Noticing a theme? That’s four of five contenders who are below average or flat out bad against the run. And the 49ers are built to run, to dominate in the trenches and run it down opponents’ throats. That’s how postseason football is won too, racking up long drives and chewing up time of possession, keeping those dangerous opposing QBs and offenses on the sidelines.
It’s exactly what the 49ers are built to do, maybe even more so if it turns out Trey Lance is the guy. If Lance keeps playing, the Niners will have an even more lethal running attack, and he’s been noticeably better in the second half of both his starts as he’s settled in.
There’s one other NFC contender we haven’t discussed, and it’s the team the Niners are playing this week, the Rams. By DVOA and other advanced metrics, these teams are roughly equal. But the Rams are another team that peaked earlier in the season, while the 49ers are rounding into form late. The Rams were healthier earlier, and the offense was far more dangerous. Matthew Stafford has been extremely unreliable down the stretch.
And Kyle Shanahan owns Sean McVay. He’s 6-3 against the spread (ATS) against McVay and has won five straight, including three in a row as an underdog. In November, the Niners ran all over the Rams’ usually stout defense. L.A. is better against the pass than the run, and the Niners kept the ball for 39 of the 60 minutes and won 31-10.
The bottom line is that the 49ers match up well with all five of the NFC contenders — three of whom they’d have to beat to win the conference.
It won’t be easy. The Niners would almost certainly need to win three times on the road, and that’s never easy in January, especially with an injured quarterback and a secondary dealing with a COVID outbreak. And really, that’s four road games since San Francisco probably needs to win this week too.
But that’s why we’re getting such a good price here.
The 49ers are +2500 to win the NFC. If they make the playoffs and have even a 40% chance of winning each of three playoff games, that’s a 6.4% chance of winning the conference compared to an implied 3.8%. And why should any of those opponents be favored to beat this team 60% of the time? San Francisco is too good for that.
The Niners have owned the Rams. They’re the exact sort of power run team you’d build to take down the Packers, a likely second-round opponent. They have the weapons on both ends to hang with the Cowboys or Cardinals, plus a serious coaching advantage against either. And they’re healthier than the Bucs, playing better ball down the stretch, and worth a shot.
It’s a long shot — but not as long as the numbers have it.
I’m grabbing some 49ers futures, and I’m grabbing them before this weekend. The number will drop once the Niners make the playoffs, and it’ll drop even further if San Francisco beats the Rams soundly again and looks good doing it — especially if it sets up a rematch next week.
I’ll play San Francisco to win the NFC at +2500 and to win the Super Bowl at +5000. I might nibble a little 49ers-Bills Super Bowl odds at +11600 too.
Let’s have a little fun, shall we?