49ers heavy favorites to win NFC West after free agency
The NFC West was a juggernaut in 2021. The Cardinals, 49ers and Rams all made the playoffs. The 49ers and Rams met in the NFC championship game, and then the Rams went on to win the Super Bowl. It looked like the division might be a monster for a long time, and then everything changed. Just two years later the 49ers have emerged as heavy favorites to win the division in 2023 after running away with it in 2022.
In 2021 the 49ers needed a win in the final game of the season just to sneak into a wild card spot. Last year they won the NFC West with a win at Seattle in Week 15. Now they’re far and away the favorite to repeat as division champions. Here are the post-free agency odds to win the NFC West via BetMGM:
This means a bettor would have to wager $160 on the 49ers to win $100. Conversely, a $100 bet on the Rams would win $300. The same bet on Seattle would be a $400 win, while the same wager on Arizona would fetch $2,500.
So how did we get here where the 49ers are so heavily favored?
First, their free agency moves put them in position to be very good once again. Consecutive trips to the NFC championship game despite turmoil at quarterback has earned them the benefit of the doubt.
Meanwhile, the Rams are in teardown mode. Their stars like defensive lineman Aaron Donald and wide receiver Cooper Kupp remain, but large swaths of their roster are largely unrecognizable as they try to cobble together a club with very little room to maneuver under the cap and no high-end draft capital.
Seattle is interesting at +400 since they were the only other team really in the race last year. However, they finished 9-8 following a 6-3 start and needed an overtime win at home over the scuffling Rams in the final week of the season to secure a winning record. They were better than expected last year, but now they need to prove they can build something to compete with a Super Bowl contender like San Francisco.
The Cardinals underwent major offseason changes with a new head coach and general manager, but they’ll be without QB Kyler Murray for most, if not all, of the season. He tore his ACL on Dec. 12. It’s hard to imagine they’ll be extremely competitive in a year where they’re rebuilding and navigating without their Pro Bowl QB.
While the 49ers have some problems of their own, their roster is too talented to ignore. They should cruise to a division win if they have a healthy QB room, and the odds reflect just how well-positioned they are compared to the rest of a once-dominant NFC West.
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