Matchups Week 3: Broncos vs. 49ers

Broncos vs. 49ers

Sunday Night Football

Denver Broncos (1-1) vs. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

Opening Line: Broncos -1.

Opening Game Total: 43.

Team Totals: Broncos (22), 49ers (21).

Weather: Outdoors, no concerns.

The Line Report

  • This line opened as Broncos -3 before being swiftly driven down to Broncos -1.
  • This line has moved all the way down to Broncos +1.5, which is where it’s currently settled.
  • DraftKings Pick’Em has the Broncos +1.5.
  • Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Broncos +1.5.
  • This total opened at 43 points.
  • This total has moved up to 44.5 points as of Saturday morning. 

Notable Injuries

Broncos: WR Jerry Jeudy (Questionable), WR KJ Hamler (Questionable), RG Quinn Meinerz (Questionable), RT Billy Turner (Questionable), DL Dre’Mont Jones (Questionable), LB Josey Jewell (Questionable), CB Pat Surtain II (Questionable).

49ers: QB Trey Lance (IR), RB Tyrion Davis-Price (Out), C Daniel Brunskill (Out), DT Arik Armstead (Out).

The Broncos Offense vs. 49ers Defense

The 49ers have a top-five caliber front four, while Denver’s offensive line is average at best. San Francisco has an edge in the trenches in this contest.

Russell Wilson’s new Broncos offense has underwhelmed so far this season, scoring 16 points in each of their first two games. What’s even more concerning about that is those outputs came against the Seahawks and the Texans. Denver has a new coach and a new quarterback, so the slow start isn’t completely surprising. However, we should treat Denver as an average offense until this group starts to show more than they have.

Notes and Observations

  • The Broncos are 0-2 against the spread this season.
  • The Broncos are 0-2 on overs this season.
  • Per The Edge, Russell Wilson is tenth in the league in passing yards, and he’s sixth in yards per attempt.
  • Among running backs Javonte Williams is 17th in rushing yards, and Melvin Gordon is 23rd. Williams is sixth among running backs in yards receiving and second in receptions, though that was driven by an 11-catch spike week against Seattle on opening day.
  • The 49ers have allowed the second-fewest rushing yards and the 18th-most yards receiving to running backs.
  • Through the first two weeks, Courtland Sutton is the clear top dog in Denver’s passing attack. Sutton leads Denver in target share (26.1%) and team air yards share (51.2%), the latter of which being good for third in the league.
  • The 49ers have allowed the sixth-fewest yards receiving on the third-fewest receptions to wide receivers this season.
  • Broncos tight end Albert Okwuegbunam is third on the Broncos in target share (11.6%) with a low 3.0 ADOT.
  • San Francisco has given up the fewest yards on the fewest receptions to tight ends this season.

The 49ers Offense vs. Broncos Defense

The strength of the 49ers offensive line is offensive tackle, while the strength of Denver’s front is their edge duo of Randy Gregory and Bradley Chubb. I’m treating this as a relative stalemate, though Chubb and Gregory could give 49ers RT Mike McGlinchey problems. San Francisco’s interior has been problematic so far this season, which gives Denver’s solid defensive interior a slight edge.

In the short-term, Jimmy Garoppolo is better for the 49ers offense, as Trey Lance is a developmental quarterback with limited snaps both as a pro and in college. Clearly, the 49ers wanted more from the quarterback position, otherwise they would have never expended the third overall pick on Lance two years ago. Right now, however, Garoppolo gives San Francisco more stability on offense.

Notes and Observations

  • The 49ers are 1-1 against the spread this season.
  • San Francisco is 0-2 on overs this season.
  • The 49ers have already played in a significant weather game, while losing both their Week 1 quarterback and running back. In this specific instance, I am treating this Week 3 matchup as opening day for the 49ers’ offense in many ways.
  • Per The Edge, the Broncos have allowed the ninth-most rushing yards and the fewest yards receiving to opposing running backs this season.
  • Since Eli Mitchell went out on opening day, Jeff Wilson has been on top in the 49ers’ backfield.
  • With Tyrion Davis-Price also out, Wilson is backed up by Jordan Mason and newly acquired veteran Marlon Mack.
  • Denver has yielded the fewest yards receiving on the ninth-fewest receptions to wide receivers this season.
  • Deebo Samuel leads San Francisco with a 27.5% target share with a low 2.8 ADOT. Brandon Aiyuk is second in target share (19.6%) but leads San Francisco with a 35.8% team air yards share.
  • The Broncos have surrendered the sixth-most yards receiving on the fourth-most receptions to tight ends this season.
  • After missing the first two games, George Kittle is off the injury report to make his season debut in Denver this Sunday night.

This is What You’re Betting On in Broncos vs. 49ers

A bet on the Broncos is a bet on Russell Wilson’s offense taking a step forward in Week 3. That step forward will come, but if you’re betting on Denver here, you’re expecting that improvement to come against the best defense they’ve faced this season, by a wide margin. If Jerry Jeudy and/or KJ Hamler end up missing this contest, the paths to Denver significantly improving on offense this week narrow further. We have to factor in that Denver’s new head coach, Nathaniel Hackett, and his offensive staff have underwhelmed through the first two games. Keep in mind the 49ers’ defensive front has a trench advantage against Denver. If you’re betting on Denver here, you’re betting on Russell Wilson significantly elevating this offense, while Denver’s defense maintains their current level of performance.

A bet on the 49ers is a bet on their championship-caliber roster with Jimmy Garoppolo back at quarterback. Dynamic tight end George Kittle will make his first appearance this season against Denver. The 49ers’ defensive line has a trench advantage against Denver. The Broncos’ wide receiver group will enter this contest either banged up or down a man or two. San Francisco is very familiar with former division rival Russell Wilson. Your first, second, and third biggest concern with a bet on the 49ers here is that, when he’s at his best, Russell Wilson can win a game against anyone.

Awards Market Ramifications: Nick Bosa is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate.

Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’m going to take the 49ers in winner pools this week, but I will rank them towards the bottom in my confidence pool rankings.

Spread Pool: I will take the 49ers in at least one of my ATS tournament entries this week.

Survivor: This game should be avoided for survivor purposes.

WATCH MORE: Jimmy G is fine at QB for the 49ers

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