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Sunday Night Football Betting Odds and Best Bets for San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos
The 49ers (1-1) and Broncos (1-1) get together for an interconference clash on Sunday night at Empower Field at Mile High. The season hasn't exactly started off for either team as originally envisioned, making this an intriguing game to prognosticate.
San Francisco dropped its opener on the road to the Bears in a game where excessive rain played a major role and then lost Trey Lance to season-ending lower leg injuries in Week 2, unexpectedly putting veteran Jimmy Garoppolo back in the saddle.
Denver began the season by suffering an upset loss to the Seahawks in Russell Wilson's team debut and then barely squeaked by the Texans in Week 2, although the franchise quarterback was playing with an extremely short-handed receiving corps.
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San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos for Sunday Night Football Week 3
*Best lines at time of writing listed
Moneyline: 49ers -120 (DraftKings Sportsbook)/ Broncos +108 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Point spread: 49ers -1.5 (PointsBet Sportsbook)/ Broncos +1.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
Totals: Over 43.5 points (BetMGM Sportsbook)/ Under 44 points (PointsBet Sportsbook)
The 49ers enter this game as somewhat surprising road favorites, notable given the general difficulty of playing in Denver's thin air and Wilson's presence. However, the fact Wilson has completed just 58.9 percent of his passes and Jerry Jeudy, who exited the Week 2 win over the Texans with a rib injury, is questionable after only getting in a limited Friday practice this week is certainly playing a role.
The history of the spread for this game has been an eye-opener, as it opened with Broncos unsurprisingly favored by a standard three points as the home team when the early line was released early last week. However, it began to be bet down shortly after each team's Week 2 games despite Lance's injury and continued to be chipped away at throughout the last several days until reaching its current number.
The total has also had no shortage of volatility. It opened at 46 points upon early release and then took a significant tumble down to 43 in the immediate aftermath of Week 2. The number then eventually shot back up to 46 early in the week before beginning another descent all the way back down to its current 43.5, even with the news George Kittle will be able to make his season debut for San Francisco.
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San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos Betting Picks This Week
The 49ers have had a full week of practice to get Garoppolo reacclimated to the first-team offense after he did a serviceable job in emergency duty against the Seahawks in Week 2 subsequent to Lance going down. Garoppolo went 13-for-21 for 154 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions while also adding a rushing score in his first taste of game action since the NFC Championship Game loss to the Rams in January.
Garoppolo now gets Kittle back this week, adding to a formidable pass-catching corps that naturally also includes Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. They'll face a formidable secondary, however, one that expects to have Patrick Surtain available after he practiced fully Friday with his shoulder injury and that's allowed only 165.5 passing yards per game over the first two weeks, albeit while facing Geno Smith and Davis Mills.
Denver has also applied decent pressure thus far with five sacks, and the Broncos are also ranked No. 5 in points per drive allowed (1.53). Under Garoppolo, San Francisco will naturally run a less dynamic offense than with Lance, although the tradeoff may be a more stable, albeit unspectacular, passing game. However, a Broncos defense that can force Garoppolo into mistakes in a hostile road environment could well make a major difference in this game.
On the other side, it's somewhat difficult to reconcile Wilson's performance in the early going, but at the same time, he was forced to play Week 2 without Jeudy for a significant chunk of the game and sans KJ Hamler as well. The latter is fully expected to play in this game, while Jeudy has stated he expects to suit up as well. The Broncos' offense's trouble, especially in Week 1, has been closing the deal, as Denver is actually leading the NFL with 45.28 yards per drive but ranks just No. 18 in points per drive (1.78).
If Jeudy and Hamler can both play, then there should be a very good chance at offensive balance for Nathaniel Hackett's club, considering the capabilities of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon on the ground. San Francisco was outstanding against the run versus Seattle in Week 2, but Rashaad Penny and Kenneth Walker combined for all of 10 carries in the contest due to game script, making it a less than stringent test. The Broncos' offensive line is notably ranked No. 2 in adjusted line yards per carry (5.86) and No. 6 in RB yards per carry (5.32) facilitated.
Wilson is naturally a much better passer than what he showed with an undermanned air attack in Week 2, and after facing Justin Fields and Geno Smith the first two weeks, San Francisco's secondary isn't exactly battle-tested. I feel the Broncos can achieve some balance in this spot and also pressure Garoppolo enough to keep this game very close, leading to the spread as my top pick.
49ers at Broncos Best Bets: Broncos +1.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
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San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos Prediction
Denver Broncos 26, San Francisco 49ers 21
While I'll go with the spread as my recommended pick, I actually have a solid amount of confidence Denver can pull off the home upset here. Bettors certainly seem to think otherwise based on line movement this week, but Hackett and Wilson have more than enough offensive savvy and talent at their disposal to enjoy some success here against a defense that has had it relatively easy in terms of the schedule the first two weeks.
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