San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos meet tonight in week 3 of NFL preseason betting and our expert handicapper breakdown the odds for this questionable matchup and shares his free pick.
What We Know About The Coaches
Jim Tomsula of the 49ers is 1-1 after a 23-6 win over the Dallas Cowboys last weekend. Tomsula is still just figuring things out as an NFL head coach. It is hard to make a full evaluation of him within the context of the preseason, but if the other coach is more experienced, that other coach should generally get the nod in a two-way competition.
Gary Kubiak of the Broncos is 20-13 in the preseason, 2-0 this preseason, after a 14-10 win over the team he used to coach, the Houston Texans. Kubiak did have some recent health problems, but he was the offensive coordinator last season for the Baltimore Ravens without incident. The Broncos clearly felt he was healthy enough to become the head coach of the team. He gets along well with John Elway, the organization’s lead decision maker, having played with him in the 1980s. He is a student of offense who should be able to do more with Peyton Manning than the defense-oriented John Fox ever did. This is a good coaching situation for Denver, one better than it had with Fox. Give the edge to the Broncos.
The San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos have starting quarterbacks who are at very different points in their careers, despite having both played in a conference championship game two seasons ago. Colin Kaepernick and Peyton Manning were both one win away from the Super Bowl in 2013 – Manning got there, and Kaepernick wasn’t able to repeat his Super Bowl trip from 2012. Now, they both face questions, but questions of very different natures. It will be fascinating to see how they both perform in a game which should give them at least a quarter and a half, if not a full half.
Both teams struggled with their first-team offenses this past week. The 49ers did score 23 points, but seven of them were on a pick-six against Dallas, and seven more were on a blocked punt that turned into a touchdown. There was very little the offense did to warrant confidence, especially with star running back Frank Gore now playing for the Indianapolis Colts. Starter Colin Kaepernick will get a lot of playing time in this game, especially since he struggled a lot in 2014 after being a very effective quarterback in previous seasons. The backups might have a little to do with this game, but the starters should play all or most of the first half.
Denver’s offense wasn’t much better against Houston. Peyton Manning could not lead a scoring drive, and backup Brock Osweiler completed under 50 percent of his passes in a ragged outing himself. This is even. Both offenses are struggling at about the same rate.
Team Depth & Rotations
The 49ers’ combination of many offseason suspensions, retirements, and transactions (defections either by trade or free agency) have left them with a first string that is not nearly what it was at this time a year ago. Those first-string players might get some more work in this game, but the depth chart has been set back in terms of quality for San Francisco.
The Broncos watched linebacker Brandon Marshall and receiver Demaryius Thomas return to the lineup against Houston, but they got light work and won’t be pushed too hard in this game. Marshall did make three tackles against Houston. Thomas did not catch a pass against the Texans.
Give a slight edge to the Broncos here.
Outlook & Pick
The Broncos, playing at home for the first time this preseason, should probably be more comfortable than the Niners. Manning will want to show he’s ready for the season as well. Denver should get a slight edge overall.
NFL Pick: Broncos -5 at The Greek