The San Francisco 49ers tripled their 1979 win total with a 6-10 record in 1980, Bill Walsh’s second as head coach, but still finished buried beneath the 11-win Los Angeles Rams and 12-win Atlanta Falcons in a top-heavy NFC West. One year later, Walsh and first-year starting quarterback Joe Montana led the biggest single-season turnaround in franchise history.
In 1981, 49ers posted a positive point differential for the first time since 1976 and reached the playoffs for the first time since 1972 en route to a 13-win season and their first Super Bowl win. In 1982, they plummeted to three wins, albeit in a strike-shortened nine-game season, before skyrocketing back to 10 wins in 1983.
For the 49ers, it was three straight seasons with a win improvement or decline of at least seven wins, the only such instance in franchise history. That turmoil, however, kicked off one of the greatest runs in NFL history; from 1983-98, they had 191 wins, 30 more wins than any other NFL team, and won three more Super Bowls.
Four decades after turmoil led to dominance, the franchise is seeking a similar turnaround. And if it comes, the Niners will reward bettors who took the over in NFL win totals.
The 49ers opened at 10 in BetMGM’s 2021 NFL win totals and, as of June 14, approximately three months before they open the season in Detroit, their number hasn’t moved. This week on High Motor by BetMGM, in the final NFC divisional preview episode, we discussed NFC West betting, including win totals, playoff odds, and more. Listen below or on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and everywhere else podcasts are available: