49ers

49ers-Cardinals predictions: Most experts expect SF to win

49ers

Congratulations, you made it through the offseason. The 2020 NFL regular season is here.

The 49ers begin their journey to get back to the Super Bowl with a challenging Week 1 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals at Levi's Stadium. The reigning NFC champions won both of the tightly contested games between the two teams last year, and the 2020 season opener certainly has the same potential.

San Francisco is a significant favorite, but when it comes to divisional games, nothing can be taken for granted.

Line: SF -6.5

Odds provided by our partner, PointsBet.

Home teams generally get a 3-point bump, so based on that line, the 49ers would have been a very slight favorite if the game was being played in Arizona. But it’s not, hence what is tied for the fourth-most lopsided line on the NFL’s Week 1 slate.

The 49ers have proven to be a tremendous home team with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, having won 12 of his 13 career starts at Levi’s Stadium. They won’t have their traditional home-field advantage, however, as there won’t be fans in the stands due to COVID-19 restrictions.

As good as the 49ers were last season, there’s an argument to be made that they enter 2020 with an even stronger roster. Multiple key players are finally healthy, and offseason acquisitions Trent Williams and Jordan Reed present instant upgrades. They’ll come in handy in Week 1 against an improved Cardinals’ defense, particularly with lead receiver Deebo Samuel out due to injury.

 

Arizona’s defense allowed the most yards per game in the NFL last season and tried to address that through the draft and free agency. The Cardinals also pulled off a huge trade on the offensive side of the ball, stealing star receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans. He’ll join what was already a dynamic offense led by Kyler Murray.

RELATED: Five 49ers players to watch vs. Cardinals in season opener

Predictions

Here's how writers around the country see the 49ers-Cardinals Week 1 matchup shaking out:

Nic Wagoner, ESPN: 49ers 31, Cardinals 27

Josh Weinfuss, ESPN: Cardinals 34, 49ers 24

Mike Florio, ProFootballTalk: 49ers 24, Cardinals 20

Michael David Smith, ProFootballTalk: 49ers 16, Cardinals 13

Nick Newman, Sports Illustrated: 49ers 30, Cardinals 22

Scott Whittum, Athlon Sports: 49ers 34, Cardinals 24

Vincent Frank, Forbes: 49ers 27, Cardinals 24