Oddsmakers saddle 49ers as 150-1 long shots

The 49ers are expected to be on the upswing in 2006, but they are getting no respect from oddsmakers who have made them one of the NFL's long shots to win Super Bowl XLI.

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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