It has been an eventful week for legalized sports betting in America. First we saw Ohio take a big step toward legalization by passing HB 194, which now goes to the senate for further negotiations. Later in the week Washington D.C. went live with legal betting, although the rollout was botched due to exorbitant juice prices by the DC Lottery.
Not to be outdone, the final domino fell at week's end with the largest state in the country, California, moving forward on a sports betting bill. Lawmakers hope to amend the state constitution to allow in-person sports betting at tribal casinos and horse racing tracks, plus allow mobile betting as well. California is in a massive budget crunch due to the Coronavirus and the tax revenue generated from legal betting could be a godsend to the state. The bill will now make its way through the the state legislature and possibly end up as a ballot initiative this November, in which case the people of California will decide whether or not to legalize betting.
California is considered the untapped crown jewel of sports betting. With nearly 40 million people it is the most populous state in the country. It's also home to the largest number of professional and college teams of any state in the nation. The legalized California sports betting market would be absolutely massive.
Senator Bill Dodd summed it up like this: "I'm not overconfident about getting this across. It's going to be some heavy lifting. But I think the moment is right for us. The reality is that we're trying to find that sweet spot. We'll find out if we did."
Speaking of California, what can bettors expect from the San Francisco 49ers this season?
The 49ers are coming off a fantastic 2019 in which they went 13-3, won the NFC West and advanced to the Super Bowl. San Francisco held a 20-10 lead over Kansas City late in the Championship game before crumbling down the stretch and losing 31-20.
San Francisco has been busy re-tooling their roster this offseason with the hopes of getting back to the championship game. The 49ers traded away defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Colts for a 1st round pick, which they used to select his replacement, South Carolina stud Javon Kinlaw. Then after losing wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to the Saints in free agency, the 49ers selected Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk with their second first round pick at 25th overall.
Oddsmakers don't expect a Super Bowl hangover for the 49ers. In fact, just the opposite. According to the sportsbooks, San Francisco is poised for another big season in 2020.
The 49ers' win total is set at 10.5 across the board. Nearly the entire market is juicing up the over, signaling smart money and house liability on an 11-5 or better record for the defending NFC Champs.
Circa Sports is listing the over 10.5 at -130 (under + 110). FanDuel is hanging over 10.5 at -120 (under + 100). PointsBet is offering over 10.5 at -115 (under -105). DraftKings is one of the few books hanging 10.5 at even -110 juice on both sides. So if you like the over, that's your "shop for the best line" destination.
One disadvantage for the 49ers: they have the 4th-hardest strength of schedule. Their 2020 opponents went a combined 134-120-2 (.527) in 2019. Only the Patriots (.537), Jets (.533) and Dolphins (.529) have harder schedules.
Here is the full 49ers schedule this season
Week 1: vs Cardinals
Week 2: at Jets
Week 3: at Giants
Week 4: vs Eagles
Week 5: vs Dolphins
Week 6: vs Rams
Week 7: at Patriots
Week 8: at Seahawks
Week 9: vs Packers
Week 10: at Saints
Week 11: Bye
Week 12: at Rams
Week 13: vs Bills
Week 14: vs Redskins
Week 15: at Cowboys
Week 16: at Cardinals
Week 17: vs Seahawks
You can all but pencil in another postseason appearance for Jimmy Garoppolo and company. The 49ers are a -410 favorite to make the playoffs at FanDuel and a + 300 to miss the playoffs.
San Francisco is the favorite to win the NFC West at + 100, followed by the Seahawks + 240, Rams + 370 and Cardinals + 900.
The 49ers are the favorite to win the NFC championship at + 460. San Francisco has the 3rd-best Super Bowl odds at + 900, trailing only the Chiefs + 650 and Ravens + 700.
Garoppolo's over/under passing yards is set at 3,899.5 and his over/under passing touchdowns is 25.5. Last season Jimmy G threw for 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns.