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The Denver Broncos take on the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3.

Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS) are off to a slow start, managing just 16 points in each of their first two games. That doesn’t bode well for a meeting with the San Francisco 49ers (1-1, 1-1), who have allowed the fewest yards in the league. 

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49ers vs Broncos Betting Preview

49ers vs Broncos Opening Odds 

Denver opened as a field goal favorite at home, but bettors weren’t buying it after seeing the Broncos struggle in their first two games. San Francisco had been bet up to a 1-point favorite by the time of writing Monday night.

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Garoppolo Reclaims Starting QB Role With Lance Out For The Season

For most teams, a season-ending injury to their starting quarterback marks the end of their playoff hopes, but that’s not the case for San Francisco. In fact, the Niners’ short-term prospects might actually be better with veteran Jimmy Garoppolo under center instead of rookie Trey Lance, who broke his ankle early in last week’s 27-7 win over the Seahawks.

Garoppolo showed no sign of rust after relieving Lance, throwing a touchdown pass on his first full drive and finishing the contest with 154 passing yards and zero turnovers. He was supported by another strong rushing performance by backup running back Jeff Wilson, who gained 103 yards from scrimmage, and could get another boost this week if tight end George Kittle is able to return from a groin injury that forced him to miss San Fran’s first two games.

The Niners defense has also been a big early-season story, holding each of its first two opponents under 220 total yards. Tough D from San Fran is nothing new as the 49ers have now gone UNDER the total in nine of their last 10 outings.

Broncos Offense Sputtering Through Two Games With Wilson At Helm

Although the Broncos squared their record at 1-1 with last week’s win over Houston, Denver still has a lot to clean up under first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett. The Broncos have committed 25 penalties in their first two games, the most infractions in back-to-back contests in franchise history, including a pair of delay-of-game penalties against the Texans.

But the Broncos’ most glaring issue might be their inability to finish off promising drives. Denver failed to score a touchdown on each of its two trips inside Houston’s five-yard line and is now 0-for-5 in the red zone this season. Wilson is still having a tough time adjusting to his new uniform, misfiring on 14 of his first 20 throws last week and getting booed in his home debut.

The Broncos got a scare when top receiver Jerry Jeudy and star corner Patrick Surtain both left last week’s game with injuries, but early reports suggest both players are day to day and could be back in the lineup on Sunday. Denver needs all the help it can get as it tries to end its prime-time struggles, having gone 1-9 SU in its last 10 appearances under the lights and 0-7 SU in its last seven on Sunday Night Football.

49ers: Keys To Win

The winning formula right now for San Francisco is pretty simple: play turnover-free football, run the ball effectively and rely on the defense. Based on their dominant play in the first two games, the 49ers should be able to contain a Broncos attack that is still adjusting to life with Wilson at the controls.

Broncos: Keys To Win

Denver was able to get away with undisciplined penalties and red-zone struggles last week against Houston, but the Broncos need to play a much cleaner game and capitalize on their opportunities in order to beat San Francisco. Broncos fans can only hope that things start getting better as Wilson becomes more familiar with the offense.

NFL Computer Pick: Broncos +1.5

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Shark Bites
  • San Francisco is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games.
  • Denver is 1-9 SU in its last 10 prime-time games.
  • Denver is 5-12-1 ATS in its last 18 as a home favorite.