Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers slight favorites at Denver Broncos - Week 3, 2022 odds and pick

Sep 21, 2022 at 3:07 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers lost their quarterback of the future but were led by their quarterback of years past to handily win their contest against division rival Seattle Seahawks in their home opener. Now the Niners will go back on the road to the thin air and altitude of Mile High to take on old nemesis Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos in prime time on Sunday Night Football. Here we discuss the odds and analysis from a betting perspective.

  • When: Sunday September 25th, 2022 at 5:20pm PT (NBC)
  • Where: Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
  • Line: 49ers -1.5, o/u 45

Denver Broncos

After their shocking upset as 6.5 point favorites in Russell Wilson's return to Seattle, the Denver Broncos squeaked by the Houston Texans by the score of 16-9 as 10 point favorites, with many questioning the play-calling and clock management of their new head coach Nathaniel Hackett and fans booing Russell Wilson.

Russell Wilson completed 14 of 31 passes for 219 yards, one passing touchdown and an interception while being sacked 3 times, Javonte Williams carried 15 times for 75 yards and Courtland Sutton led receivers with 7 receptions for 122 yards.

The Broncos defense sacked Davis Mills 3 times and held the Texans to 3 field goals and have now not allowed a touchdown in six straight quarters, dating back to the second half of their Week 1 game after allowing Geno Smith to pass for 2 touchdowns in the first half of the game in Seattle.

Guard Quinn Meinerz is out, tackle Billy Turner is questionable, linebacker Josey Jewell is questionable, cornerback Patrick Surtain II is questionable, receiver KJ Hamler is questionable and receiver Jerry Jeudy is questionable for Week 3.

San Francisco 49ers

No matter who Niners Empire wants to cast blame upon for Trey Lance's injury, the San Francisco 49ers are profoundly fortunate they kept Jimmy Garoppolo because when Lance went down and his name was called, Garoppolo stepped right in without missing a beat and led the 49ers to a 27-7 victory like he was riding a bike.

Garoppolo completed 13 of 21 passes for 154 yards and a passing touchdown while also rushing for a touchdown, Jeff Wilson Jr. carried 18 times for 84 yards and Brandon Aiyuk led receivers with 63 receiving yards on 5 catches.

The Seahawks scored their only touchdown on a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, and San Francisco's defense held Seattle's offense scoreless and impotent. Geno Smith was sacked twice by Nick Bosa and intercepted by Samson Ebukam and Seattle's rushing offense was held to 36 yards on 14 carries.

Center Daniel Brunskill is questionable, tight end George Kittle is questionable and Tyrion Davis-Price is out for Week 3.


This line opened up with Denver as 2.5 to 3 point favorites but after two uninspiring performances, bad coaching and Russell Wilson appearing like Seattle was right to let him walk, the public and bettors seem to have lost a little bit of confidence in Denver and the line has shifted to San Francisco being favored by 1 to 1.5 points.

Mile High is notorious for being a hard place to play for visiting teams and with Russell Wilson's record in prime time, Denver's talent on paper and lackluster start, taken together with the 49ers looking solid after last week, getting the home team as an underdog in this spot could be considered a reasonable buy-low handicapping strategy.

But another handicapping strategy is the "injured player theory" which posits that when a starting player goes down, the team rallies around the replacement player and performs at a high level, and if it's true that 49ers leadership felt it necessary to ask veterans to support Trey Lance even if he struggled once Garoppolo restructured his contract to stay with the team, it's very possible that the teammates who went to the Super Bowl and 2021 NFC championship game with Garoppolo will feel more confident and energized with him back in the starting position.
Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers are 8-29 without Jimmy Garoppolo and given Garoppolo's experience leading this team and likely motivation to show this team and its fans they were wrong for wanting to jettison him from the organization, taken together with multiple injuries to Denver's starting offensive line and wide receivers and this 49ers defense being the most talented the Broncos middling offense has faced this season, we can only side with San Francisco this Sunday night.

The Broncos offense has only scored 16 points and gone under the total in each of its first two games. San Francisco has also gone under the total in each of its first two games. Based on both teams having all their games go under the total, one might expect this game to also go under, particularly when one considers that prime time games have mostly been going under. But sometimes if it seems too obvious, it probably isn't and there might be a reason why this total has been bet up at some books. Perhaps bookmakers are expecting more offensive production with Garoppolo starting and Patrick Surtain II questionable or a classic Russell Wilson prime time offensive performance but the steam makes us wary of the total this week.

Pick: 49ers -1.5

2022 season ATS: 2-1


  • What is your best bet for Niners at Broncos on 9/25/22?
  • 49ers -1.5
  • Broncos +1.5
  • Over 45
  • Under 45
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