Oddsmakers saddle 49ers as 150-1 long shots
According to America's Line, the 49ers are 150-1 long shots to win the NFL championship next season. Those are the longest odds placed on any team besides the Houston Texans, who also opened at 150-1. The 49ers and Texans were generally considered the NFL's worst teams in 2005, though the 3-13 New Orleans Saints finished with a worse record in the NFC than the 4-12 49ers. The Texans finished a NFL-worst 2-14. Because they played weaker schedules in 2005, the 4-12 Green Bay Packers, 4-12 New York Jets and 4-12 Tennessee Titans all will pick higher than the 49ers in the first round of the upcoming NFL draft in April. The Oakland Raiders, who also finished 4-12, also might pick higher than the 49ers, pending a coin flip between the two teams – who had the exact same strength of schedule in 2005 – at the NFL Combine later this month. But, along with the Saints, each of those teams is considered a better bet than the 49ers to reach the Super Bowl in 2007, which will be played Feb. 4 at Dolphins Stadium in Miami. The Saints and Titans both face 120-1 odds to win Super Bowl XLI. The Jets and Raiders each are 60-1 long shots. The odds of the Packers – now under the direction of former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy – winning the Super Bowl are 35-1. The favorites to win Super Bowl XLI are the Indianapolis Colts, who finished with the NFL's best record in 2005 at 14-2 before being dumped in the divisional playoff round by the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. America's Line has made the Colts 9-2 favorites to win next year's NFL championship. The NFC champion Seattle Seahawks and AFC East champion New England Patriots – winners of three Super Bowls in a four-year span from 2002-2005 – both were saddled with 6-1 odds to win Super Bowl XLI. The Steelers are next at 7-1. While some prognosticators already are suggesting the 49ers could overtake the St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West in 2006, the odds-makers think both those teams have a better chance than San Francisco of winning the Super Bowl. The Rams opened at 60-1 and the Cardinals at 75-1.
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