Broncos-49ers Betting Preview: Will Denver Cover as a Popular Road Favorite?

Broncos-49ers Betting Preview: Will Denver Cover as a Popular Road Favorite? article feature image

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Von Miller, Nick Mullens

Betting odds: Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers

  • Spread: Broncos -3.5
  • Over/Under: 45.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV channel: CBS

>> All odds as of Thursday evening. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets

Betting market: Nearly 70% of bets are on the Broncos at the time of writing. The line had initially moved in their favor in a big way, going from -4.5 to -6. But with news that Broncos wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (torn Achilles) will miss the rest of the season, they’ve since dropped all the way to -4 (see live data here).

Three Sports Insights’ Bet Signals came in on the 49ers on Wednesday afternoon, but if you think Sanders (or any wide receiver) is worth two points, you’re wrong.

The total has gone from 44 to 45.5 since opening behind about 70% of bets the over. Mark Gallant

Trends to know: The Broncos beat the Bengals last week, 24-10, while the 49ers lost, 43-16, to the Seahawks.

A majority of spread tickets are on Denver following each team’s recent performance.

But since 2003, teams that won their previous game by 14 or more points and are getting a majority of bets in their next game against an opponent that lost its previous game by 14 or more points have gone 82-102-3 (45%) against the spread. John Ewing

Did you know? The 49ers have scored fewer than 17 points in back-to-back losses on the road.

Since 2003, teams that have scored fewer than 17 points in consecutive road games and are on at least a two-game losing streak are 43-53-4 (44.8%) ATS, per our Bet Labs data.

When they’ve won 25% or fewer of their games — like the 2-10 49ers — these teams are 17-31-2 (35.4%) ATS, losing bettors 14.4 units. Evan Abrams

Biggest mismatch: Broncos’ Run Defense vs. 49ers’ Run Offense

The 49ers offense ranks 30th with a 61.6 rushing grade from Pro Football Focus. They’re now on their fifth-string running back, Jeff Wilson, after losing Jerick McKinnon (knee, IR), Raheem Mostert (arm, IR) and Matt Breida (ankle, out) and demoting Alfred Morris.

Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jeff Wilson

With third-string quarterback Nick Mullens, the 49ers aren’t giving opponents much incentive not to stack the box.

The Broncos defense ranks third with a 90.7 PFF rush grade. With outside linebackers Von Miller and Nick Chubb supporting the interior play of nose tackle Domata Peko and 3-4 defensive ends Derek Wolfe, Adam Gotsis and Shelby Harris, the Broncos are not an easy team to run against.

As an underdog with little in the way of an established passing attack, the 49ers will likely struggle to move the ball on the ground. Matthew Freedman

Which team is healthier? 49ers

The Broncos lost Sanders just days after losing stud slot corner Chris Harris Jr. (leg) for at least the rest of the regular season.

Linebackers Josey Jewell (ankle) and Brandon Marshall (knee) are trending toward returns, but Wolfe (ribs), outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett and cornerback Tramaine Brock (ribs) aren’t at 100%.

The 49ers have already ruled out Breida, but they’ll welcome back field-stretcher Marquise Goodwin (personal). The status of Pierre Garcon (knee), center Weston Richburg (knee), linebacker Malcolm Smith (Achilles), left guard Laken Tomlinson (hip) and safety Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder) is less clear.

The good news for San Francisco is that right guard Joshua Garnett (thumb) should be good to go.

Note: Info as of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff. — Ian Hartitz

DFS edge: Unfortunately, Sanders tore his Achilles in Wednesday’s practice. His absence will open up 25% of the Broncos’ overall target share and 22.5% of their red-zone target share.

Courtland Sutton will step in as the Broncos’ No. 1 receiver. He owns a top-two projected plus/minus on DraftKings and FanDuel in our FantasyLabs Models. Justin Bailey

Bet to watch: 49ers +3.5

I’m heading back to the Niners well again this week, and hopefully San Fran can more red-zone catastrophes on Sunday.

Last week, the Seahawks beat the Niners despite having 121 fewer total yards. The backdoor cover was lurking in the fourth quarter before Mullens was picked off at the 2-yard line for a 98-yard touchdown pick six by Bobby Wagner.

San Francisco is still positive in the adjusted net yards per play category at +0.2 while Denver is not too far off at +0.3.

Despite the overall rushing defense metrics Freedman laid out above, I do think the 49ers have some sneaky advantages that they can exploit.

Denver’s defensive line ranks 29th in power and 27th in stuffed categories. That indicates the Broncos will have a tough time tackling rushers at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield while giving up plenty of short yardage in third- and fourth-down situations. Collin Wilson

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

How would you rate this article?