49ers schedule, 2021 NFL odds: San Francisco opens Week 1 at Lions with Jimmy Garoppolo, not Trey Lance, clear favorite as starting quarterback

The San Francisco 49ers may give rookie quarterback Trey Lance a redshirt season in 2021.
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All of the drama in the 2021 NFL Draft began with the No. 3 overall pick, which the San Francisco 49ers had traded up to with the Miami Dolphins, and it cost a small fortune to do so. Everyone knew the Niners did it to select a quarterback, but no one knew which one had the eye of GM John Lynch and Coach Kyle Shanahan. Turns out it was the rawest of the five first-round QBs in Trey Lance, which absolutely means the 49ers are planning on incumbent Jimmy Garoppolo under center this year. William Hill Sportsbook gives San Francisco an Over/Under of 10 wins, while the SportsLine Projection Model forecasts 9.6.

If the Niners had taken the much more pro-ready Mac Jones of Alabama at No. 3 overall or even Ohio State's Justin Fields, then perhaps Jimmy G would be playing back in New England at this point.

However, taking Lance, who started just one season at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State, means that Lance likely will get a redshirt year in 2021 much like Patrick Mahomes did as a rookie with Kansas City. Unless, of course, Garoppolo gets hurt or the 49ers are terrible out of the gate.

SportsLine oddsmakers list Garoppolo as the -400 favorite to start Week 1 and Lance at +250. Lance is +650 to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. 

San Francisco is a 7.5-point favorite for the season opener in Detroit. This is the third time in the Super Bowl era that the Niners have opened on the road against the Lions. The previous two times that happened came in 1981 and 1984 and SF won the Super Bowl both times.

The Niners were one of the big disappointments of last season at 6-10 in large part due to injuries. Garoppolo played just six games and wasn't very good in those with a rating of 92.4. The Niners were 3-3 in those games. On defense, the team played most of the season without star pass-rushers Nick Bosa (knee) and Dee Ford (back).

In free agency, San Francisco was able to re-sign left tackle Trent Williams to a six-year, $138.06 million deal that will make him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. Former Pro Bowl center Alex Mack was signed away from the Falcons. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk agreed to a five-year, $27 million deal that included $10 million guaranteed. That's crazy money for a fullback but the Niners use their fullback more than any other team.

The 49ers' 2021 schedule is ranked as the 19th-toughest in the league as their 17 opponents – visiting the Bengals is the 17th game -- were a combined 132-138-2 last season.

San Francisco 49ers trends/William Hill Sportsbook odds

  • 2020 record: 6-10 (7-9 against the spread, 8-8 Over/Under)
  • 2021 strength of schedule rank: 19th (opponents' combined winning percentage of .489)
  • 2021 Over/Under win total: 10.0
  • SportsLine Projection Model forecasted wins: 9.6
  • Odds to win Super Bowl 56: +1400
  • To win NFC: +600
  • To win NFC West: +200
  • To make playoffs: Yes -170, no +145
  • NFL MVP odds: Jimmy Garoppolo +12500

San Francisco 49ers Home Opponents

Week 1 at Detroit Lions: Detroit's only win in past 10 meetings was 32-17 at home in 2015

Week 2 at Philadelphia Eagles: Philly was +8.5 at Niners last October but won 25-20

Week 3 vs. Green Bay Packers (SNF): Green Bay was routed twice in 2019 at Niners, including playoffs, but rolled last year

Week 4 vs. Seattle Seahawks: Seattle has won six of past seven as road team in series (played in Arizona last year)

Week 5 at Arizona Cardinals: Arizona's playoff hopes last year took a huge hit in a Week 16 home loss to SF

Week 6 BYE

Week 7 vs. Indianapolis Colts (SNF): First meeting since 2017; Indianapolis has won the past four

Week 8 at Chicago Bears: Past three meetings all have been low scoring and finished Under total

Week 9 vs. Arizona Cardinals: Niners have won just once in the past six meetings at home (2019)

Week 10 vs. Los Angeles Rams (MNF): Teams have split the past four in SF both straight up and ATS

Week 11 at Jacksonville Jaguars: San Francisco is on three-game SU & four-game ATS win streak in series

Week 12 vs. Minnesota Vikings: Teams have split the past four meetings overall SU & ATS, including playoffs

Week 13 at Seattle Seahawks (SNF): Seattle's only home loss in past 10 meetings (including playoffs) was 2019

Week 14 at Cincinnati Bengals: Added 17th opponent; San Francisco won last meeting 41-17 on road in 2019

Week 15 vs. Atlanta Falcons: Atlanta has won the past two in the series and covered in both

Week 16 at Tennessee Titans (TNF): Over is 5-0 in five all-time meetings since Titans moved to Nashville

Week 17 vs. Houston Texans: Four all-time meetings and Niners are 3-1 SU & 3-0-1 ATS

Week 18 at Los Angeles Rams: L.A. is just 1-4 SU & ATS in five meetings at home since moving to Los Angeles

Where does every player appear in our 2021 Fantasy football rankings? And which rookie quarterback will provide shocking value? Join SportsLine right now to get 2021 Fantasy football rankings, all from the model that simulated the entire season 10,000 times.

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