USA TODAY Sports

Kaepernick not the biggest reason behind Niners 'over' streak

Over their last eight games, the San Francisco 49ers have somewhat quietly been the best over bet in the NFL with seven of those contests shooting over the total. This, from the No. 2 scoring defense and No. 3 total defense in the NFL.

Before that streak, oddsmakers couldn’t set totals low enough when under bettors cashed in at a 5-1-1 clip over the Niners’ seven previous games.

So what’s behind the one-eighty?

Colin Kaepernick is the easy answer. The rookie replaced Alex Smith at QB eight games ago against St. Louis when Smith left the game with a concussion. The Nevada Wolf Pack product hasn’t looked back since, and neither have Niner fans, who’ve fallen in love with his ability to scramble and throw on the run.

With Kaepernick under center over the past eight games, the Niners are averaging  26 points per game. In the seven games previous to that, the Niners were averaging 22.7 points per game. But the numbers say the defense is the much bigger reason behind the shift to San Francisco becoming an over play. The defense surrendered 21.25 points during the over spree and just 11.6 points per game – nearly 10 points fewer –  during the seven games when Niners bettors could bank on the under. 

The reasons for the downfall could be simple. One is that the Niners’ offense is scoring more quickly, thereby putting the defense on the field longer. Another is the competition has been much stiffer over the past eight games.

Excluding divisional opponents, the four teams San Francisco faced during the current over streak finished the season eight games above .500. The five non-divisional teams it faced during the under streak finished 10 games below .500 this season. Perhaps even more revealing is that the under never came through against the top four offenses San Francisco faced this season – New England, New Orleans, Detroit and Green Bay – for an over/under record of 3-0-1. The over also went 4-1-1 in Niners' games where the total was set at 45 points or higher this season.

Saturday’s over/under for San Fran’s game versus Green Bay opened at 45, though some books have dropped the number a half-point to 44.5 since.

Here’s a look at the numbers behind the over and under streaks this year for San Francisco:

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