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Losing QB actually improves Super Bowl contender’s title odds

It’s unusual for a Super Bowl contender to lose its starting quarterback and see its odds instantly improve.

But that’s what happened to the San Francisco 49ers after Trey Lance suffered a season-ending injury Sunday and was replaced by former starter Jimmy Garoppolo.

San Francisco’s Super Bowl odds have dropped from 25-1 at Caesars Sportsbook to 19-1 after its 27-7 win over Seattle.

“Lance has never been fully in control of a team, and unfortunately for him, he got hurt before he could really prove if he could do it,” Caesars assistant director of trading Adam Pullen said. “Garoppolo, whether you think he’s a great quarterback or not, has led them to the Super Bowl.

”The stability is there with him even if he doesn’t put up flashy numbers, and I think there’s more confidence with him than Lance.”

The Niners traded up to take Lance with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft and anointed him the starter in the offseason. They tried to trade Garoppolo before bringing him back on a reworked deal.

San Francisco’s odds also improved slightly at Station Casinos, which lowered the 49ers from 18-1 to 16-1.

“They’re probably the only team in the league that that would apply to because Jimmy G had been their starter the last few years and has already taken them to two NFC title games,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said. “And if anybody has a chip on their shoulder, it’s Garoppolo.

“They really have all the ingredients to win the Super Bowl. They just had a young quarterback. From the uncertainty of Lance now to Jimmy G, it changes everybody’s feelings about them.”

Professional sports bettor Jeff Whitelaw likes San Francisco’s title chances better with Garoppolo behind center.

“I believed all along that the 49ers were a legitimate Super Bowl contender with Garoppolo but not with Lance,” he said. “In terms of winning this year, I’ve got to believe that this will be much better for them. Garoppolo manages the game very well.”

The Westgate SuperBook kept the 49ers at 20-1 early this week before lowering them to 18-1.

“To me, this changes zero,” SuperBook oddsmaker Ed Salmons said. “The Niners win on defense and the running game. And the NFC is way down compared to the other conference.”

The Niners also flipped from 3-point underdogs to 1½-point road favorites over the Broncos this week on “Sunday Night Football.”

“Denver’s really banged up,” Salmons said. “I know Denver is not playing well, but it’s always hard to go into Denver and win.”

Where Eagles fly

Philadelphia has seen its Super Bowl odds improve dramatically after two weeks, dropping from 25-1 in the preseason to the 12-1 fourth choice at the Westgate behind Buffalo (+250), Kansas City (6-1) and Tampa Bay (6-1).

Likewise, Eagles QB Jalen Hurts is climbing the charts in the NFL MVP race. He was 25-1 before the season but is now tied for the 10-1 fourth choice with Lamar Jackson behind Josh Allen (+175), Patrick Mahomes (+425) and Justin Herbert (9-1).

Miami moves

Miami’s Super Bowl odds moved from 30-1 at Caesars before Sunday’s game against Baltimore to 40-1 at halftime to 20-1 after it erased a 35-14 fourth-quarter deficit in a 42-38 win.

The Dolphins have actually climbed from 25-1 to 30-1 at the Westgate before Sunday’s AFC East showdown with the Bills, who are 5½-point road favorites.

“For the game in Buffalo, you’re looking at a line on the other side of 10,” Salmons said. “Buffalo’s power rating is off the charts. We moved them to 5-2 to win the Super Bowl. I can’t stop them from betting Buffalo.”

No Josh-ing around

Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa opened at 175-1 odds at Caesars to win the MVP. After throwing for 469 yards and six TDs against the Ravens, the Westgate slashed his odds from 60-1 to 18-1.

But Salmons said it could be a moot point if Allen continues to dominate. The Bills QB has seen his MVP odds drop from 7-1 before the season to +175 after shredding the Rams and Titans for eight total TDs in a pair of blowout wins.

“Josh Allen looks like one of the best quarterbacks we’ve seen in a long time,” Salmons said. “It’s hard to believe he won’t win this thing with the way he’s playing and the way Buffalo looks.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on Twitter.

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