By Bob Duff | | 7 mins
49ers vs Lions Picks & Week 1 NFL Betting Preview
Both the San Francisco 49ers and Detroit Lions endured difficult 2020 seasons but for entirely different reasons. Entering the season as reigning NFC champions, the Niners endured the second-most man games lost to injury by a team since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. A total of 32 San Francisco players went on injured reserve, leading to a 6-10 campaign.
The Lions can provide no such excuse for their 5-11 season. Detroit allowed an NFL-high 519 points. At season’s end, the Lions cleaned house. Head coach Matt Patricia was fired, and Matthew Stafford traded to the Los Angeles Rams in exchange for Jared Goff in a swap of starting quarterbacks.
In Lions vs. 49ers odds, Detroit opened as 7-point favorites when NFL spreads for Week 1 were released. The line lengthened to 7.5 points at one stage prior to returning to its original 7-point status.
When it comes to NFL betting, going against the Lions is often wise strategy, and this game would appear to be no exception. The Niners look set for a rebound season, while the more things change with the Lions, the more they stay the same.
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49ers vs Lions Key Matchups
49ers Receivers vs Lions Pass Defense: Detroit was 30th in pass defense last season, allowing 4,558 yards through the air. Niners QB Jimmy Garoppolo should have a field day getting the ball to receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle.
Jared Goff vs Jimmy Garoppolo: This will be the fifth time that these two starting QBs have gone head-to-head. Garoppolo, looking to fend off No. 1 draft pick Trey Lance to keep his starting job, is 4-0 against Goff. Goff was barely a serviceable QB with the Los Angeles Rams when he was surrounded by offensive weapons. His lack of skills should be truly exposed in a Detroit offense bereft of talent at the skill positions.
DeAndre Swift vs 49ers Rush Defense: Lions running back Swift missed most of training camp with a groin injury. The 49ers were one of the NFL’s best run-stopping defenses in 2020. That combo doesn’t bode well for the Lions.
5 Key 49ers vs Lions Stats
- The 49ers were the NFL’s No. 7 rush defense (1,703 yards). That means Goff, who rated among the NFL’s lowest in average depth of targets last season, must beat them through the air.
- Detroit was last in the NFL in scoring defense (32.4 points per game). The Niners were the No. 2 scoring offense in 2019.
- The Lions were 32nd in the NFL in yards allowed per game (419.7). San Fran suits up one of the most balanced offenses in the NFL.
- San Francisco was No. 4 in the NFL in fewest rushing TDs allowed last season (12).
- Detroit allowed 42 sacks last season, 10th-most in the NFL.
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49ers vs Lions Player Props To Consider
Raheem Mostert, Longest Rush Over 15.5 Yards
One of the reasons Raheem Mostert has been able to hang around the NFL so long is due to his big-play potential. Throughout his career, he’s averaged over 5.6 yards per carry. That is mostly due to his ability to hit long runs. Against one of the worst run defenses in football, look for Mostert to have multiple runs of over 15 yards on Sunday.
Raheem Mostert, to score a TD
Another Mostert bet we love is for him to find the end zone at least once against Detroit. In his last 17 games (including playoffs), Mostert has scored 16 touchdowns. He’s healthy for Week 1 and is pretty clearly the team’s goal-line back. Look for the 49ers to put up 30 or more points in this game and for Mostert to score a touchdown (or two).
49ers vs Lions Moneyline
The Lions were an astonishing 0-6 straight up in the as a home underdog last season. That was an NFL worst. Overall, Detroit is 1-11 in the last 12 games played at Ford Field. The 49ers have won 15 of their last 17 games against the Lions. Overall, San Francisco is 12-5 straight up through the past 17 road games.
However, some sportsbooks lists the Niners as much as -350 in the moneyline. Even though they’re going to win, the return simply won’t be worth the investment.
49ers vs Lions Point Spread
On the surface, seven points that betting sites are laying in San Francisco might seem like a lot to give in an NFL game. If you think that in this case, then obviously you haven’t watched a lot of Lions games. The last six times that betting apps have listed the Lions as an underdog of seven or more points, they are 1-5 against the spread.
Not that the 49ers have lived well when offered prosperity, mind you. San Francisco is 3-7-1 ATS in the last 11 games as a favorite by seven or more points. Those games weren’t against the Lions, though. San Fran is 4-2 ATS in the last six visits to Ford Field. Lay the points at BetMGM and take the Niners.
49ers vs Lions Totals
The Lions completely revamped their defense, and no wonder. Detroit allowed an NFL-high 32.4 points per game in 2020. In 2019, when San Francisco was healthy and rolling, the 49ers were the NFL’s second-most potent offense. They scored on average 29.9 points per game.
Detroit is among the NFL’s most consistent Over teams, going 10-6 each of the past two seasons. The Niners were 8-8 on the total last season and 9-9-1 in 2019. They scored high against bad teams last season, putting up 31 points on the Jets and 36 against the Giants. The Over of 48 being offered by FanDuel is the play here all day long.