San Francisco 49ers (2-10) at Houston Texans (4-8)
Last week, the 49ers were 3 point underdogs in Chicago. I bet heavily on Chicago because I thought they were an underrated team, especially with middle linebacker Danny Trevathan back healthy, and that they were at least a few points better than the 49ers. However, the 49ers didn’t just cover. They also ended up pulling the upset victory on the road by final score of 15-14 and the game wasn’t even as close as the final score.
The 49ers had 5 scoring drives, but had to settle for field goals on all 5 occasions, while the Bears got just one scoring drive, but scored a touchdown on it and then got a punt return for their second touchdown. If they hadn’t returned that punt for a touchdown and if the 49ers had converted a couple of their long drives into touchdowns, it could have easily been a 10-15 point San Francisco win. The 49ers picked up 23 first downs to the Bears’ 8, as they dominated time of possession and won the first down rate battle by +6.51%.
I still think the Bears are an underrated team when healthy, but I think I clearly underestimated the 49ers. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo exceeded my expectations on the road against a tough defense in his first start with the 49ers, just a month after being acquired from the Patriots at the trade deadline. He doesn’t have the best supporting cast to work with, but he makes this offense much better and should only improve as he becomes more comfortable with the system and the players around him. It’s not just the addition of Garoppolo that’s made a big difference for this team though, as this team has been playing significantly better defense in recent weeks thanks to the return of stud rookie linebacker Reuben Foster from injury a few weeks back.
Despite that, the 49ers are still 3-point underdogs in Houston, the same line as they were in Chicago last week. This line has actually moved from 5.5 on the early line last week, but I still think we’re getting good line value with the 49ers, as I have this line calculated at even. The Texans are one of the worst teams in the league without quarterback Deshaun Watson, defensive end JJ Watt, and outside linebacker Whitney Mercilus, who are all out for the season.
New quarterback Tom Savage is arguably the worst in the league and, making matters worse, he’s immobile and plays behind arguably the worst offensive line in football. They get #2 wide receiver Will Fuller back from injury this week, but he hasn’t been the same player without Watson. If the 49ers can defeat the Bears on the road, they should be able to do the same in Houston, or at least keep it within a field goal to at least get a push of this spread. The 49ers are a smart bet this week.
San Francisco 49ers 17 Houston Texans 16 Upset Pick +125
Pick against the spread: San Francisco +3