San Francisco 49ers (1-1) at Denver Broncos (1-1)
This game has seen a significant line movement in the past week, shifting from Denver -3 on the early line last week to San Francisco -1.5 this week. Normally I like to fade significant week-to-week line movements, as they tend to be an overreaction to a single week of play and that is the case here, but I am not confident in Denver, as I think that line movement was somewhat justified. The 49ers lost their starting quarterback Trey Lance for the season last week, which normally would be a very bad thing for a team, but veteran backup Jimmy Garoppolo could be an upgrade and played well in a convincing win over the Seahawks last week. This week, the 49ers get tight end George Kittle back, which should be another boost for this offense.
The Broncos, meanwhile, were underwhelming in a one-score win over the lowly Texans last week which, after a week 1 loss to the Seahawks, is cause for concern with the Broncos. I expected their defense to not be as good a year ago without defensive minded head coach Vic Fangio, but I expected their offense to be significantly better with new quarterback Russell Wilson and offensive minded head coach Nathaniel Hackett and thus far it has not been as good as expected. Facing the Seahawks and the Texans in the first two weeks of the season, the Broncos had as easy of a start to the season as any team in the league and they significantly underachieved what you would expect from a good team, given who they were playing. Their defensive problems are made even worse by the continued absence of safety Justin Simmons, arguably their best defensive player, who will miss his second straight game due to injury this week. We’re still getting some line value with them in this game as slight home underdogs, but not nearly enough to bet on it.
San Francisco 49ers 24 Denver Broncos 23
Pick against the spread: Denver +1.5