With the release of the 2015 NFL schedule Tuesday, we now know a few specifics about what the 49ers face under new head coach Jim Tomsula.
They’ll open with a Monday night game against the Vikings – one of four times the 49ers will be on prime time – have to face the Seahawks in another Thursday night game (at home on Oct. 22) and only play one division foe in their first six games.
Various analysts took a look at their schedule when it was released and made their predictions and, after the Jim Harbaugh era, there was at least one consistency: no longer is anyone predicting the Niners-- who slumped to 8-8 in 2014 -- will compete for the NFC championship.
There’s another consistency, too: Long-term future bettors in Las Vegas are betting that the 49ers will under-perform rather than exceed expectations.
David Purdum of ESPN.com noted this week that in February, a major Las Vegas sports book set the 49ers’ projected wins at 8.5. Since then, that projected win total has dropped to 8.0.
Major bettors flocked to put money down on the 49ers not reaching that 8.5-win figure, wrote Purdum. Only when the total was dropped to 8.0 did bettors stop betting so heavily against the Niners.
Of course, there are still several months to go until Week 1, when San Francisco shows what it can do against Minnesota.
Between now and then, the 49ers could score big in the NFL draft, make a trade or add another key free agent, have defensive end Justin Smith announce he’s returning for another season and see a completely remade Colin Kaepernick wow everyone in training camp and preseason games.
If that happens, perhaps bettors will start thinking the 49ers will surprise some people.
But for now, it appears the smart money is betting the 49ers are in for a rough time in 2015.