The NFL odds are favoring the 49ers here at -3.5, with a larger total of 36 points. Will either team be very interested in gunning for this win, or will they both use it as a talent evaluation, and leave the winning up to the guys trying to make the roster?
Broncos’ depth chart
With the exception of quarterback, the Broncos are the deepest offensive team in the entire NFL, and they will have their first chance to show that depth against the 49ers. The Broncos have plenty to try and figure out this preseason, like will Wes Welker start over Eric Decker, and what will the running back rotation look like. All of those we will start to answer come their game against the 49ers, and it seems to me as if the Niners could care less.
John Fox has been very good as a head coach in the preseason. He is 23-21 SU and 7-4 SU in Week 1 of the preseason. Last year coming in, Manning got a series to start the first preseason game (he threw an interception), and I see no reason why they shouldn’t give him another to start this year. Manning’s eventual protégé in Denver, Brock Osweiler will also see some run this game.
Denver will want to get plenty of looks from their running game in this one, especially from Montee Ball. I could easily see Ball coming in and running all over the 2nd string, and I think that may be the plan. If it is, and along with the depth they will have in the passing game in the 2nd and 3rd string, I see plenty of upside here for your NFL picks, with the Broncos as underdogs.
For more NFL offseason coverage, take a look at our Broncos Season Win Total Odds report!
49ers’ long road back
With the injury to Michael Crabtree, I see no reason why the Niners should risk further injury to any of their major skill players, especially Colin Kaepernick. Jim Harbaugh would be wise to only scarcely play his starters on offense and defense in this game, and I think he knows that.
Getting back to the Super Bowl is going to be tough, and even though it is tempting to try and beat the Broncos, you can’t gain any in the standings in August. Figuring out who to round the roster out with is problem #1 for the Niners, and I think this game will be the start of that.
Harbaugh is 5-3 ATS and SU in the preseason as a head coach, but last year he had a quick hook for Alex Smith after one series, and that is probably the same formula he will follow with Kaepernick this year.
Don't forget to also read our 49ers Season Win Total Odds preview!
The Sharp Pick
Between how many WRs and RBs they have to cycle into this game, Denver is a great value here as an underdog sports pick. Manning might be able to come out and get them on the board, and as I’ve stated many times, the Niners aren’t that great when playing from behind. In a game that means nothing, it will be even worse. The Broncos are going to spend the better part of the first half cycling in guys that will definitely be on their roster, and I think that will help them get the cover in this game.
NFL Pick: Bet the Broncos +3.5 points
Have a different opinion? Share it on our message boards!