The San Francisco 49ers begin life without starting quarterback Trey Lance on Sunday night in Week 3 as the visit Russell Wilson and the Denver Broncos. Which way to lean at BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
San Francisco 49ers vs. Denver Broncos
Sunday, September 25, 2022 – 08:20 PM EDT at Empower Field at Mile High
This will be Denver’s first home game with a sellout crowd since 2019, i.e., not counting in 2020 when few if any fans were allowed in NFL stadiums due to COVID.
When you get a marquee quarterback like Russell Wilson, you get placed on prime time plenty.
Denver has three more scheduled after this and could always get flexed into another. It’s the first of five prime-time games for the 49ers as they turn around and play the Rams on Monday night in Week 4.
San Francisco vs. Denver's History
It's the first regular-season meeting between the clubs since 2018 in San Francisco when the Niners won 20-14. I don’t take much from that as the quarterbacks that day were Nick Mullens for the Niners (now a backup in Minnesota) and Case Keenum for Denver (now a backup in Buffalo).
San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowl tight end had one of the games of his career with seven catches for 210 yards, including an 85-yard score. More on him below.
The past 10 in the series have been split straight up and ATS on the NFL odds.
Lance’s Season Is Over
One of the most-wagered players at top-rated sportsbooks this summer to win NFL MVP was 49ers second-year quarterback Trey Lance even though he entered with just two starts as a pro. Well, I can now guarantee you that Lance will not win MVP as he suffered a broken ankle in Sunday’s 27-7 win over Seattle, and his season is over.
San Francisco was widely expected to trade or release former starter Jimmy Garoppolo, but at the last minute the sides agreed on a reworked contract and Jimmy G will be a free agent next winter.
Good thing the Niners kept him or they would really be up a creek right now as the only other QB on the roster is seventh-round rookie Brock Purdy. He was Mr. Irrelevant in the 2022 draft.
"We feel very fortunate to have Jimmy here as our number two quarterback, especially when your starter gets hurt," Coach Kyle Shanahan said. "It's good to know the experience and how good of a player he is. We've lost our starting quarterback I think the fourth time in sixth years, so we have been in this before. I do feel we're a little more prepared with our backup right now, so I'm happy for that."
Jimmy G and Free Agents
Jimmy G was 13-for-21 for 154 yards with a passing and rushing TD in relief of Lance on Sunday. Clearly, the team is going to have to sign a veteran this week, although the Niners were ready to make Purdy their backup behind Lance if they weren't able to keep Garoppolo (who is injury prone himself).
Free agents out there include Cam Newton and ex-Niner Colin Kaepernick (not happening) and the team also could sign a player off another club’s practice squad like Cleveland’s Josh Rosen, who spent part of 2020 with San Francisco but never saw the field.
The Niners can’t sign a practice squad QB off the Broncos (Josh Johnson), though, because they play this week.
San Francisco Pro Bowl tight end George Kittle hasn’t played in the first two games due to a groin injury so obviously too soon to know if he’ll be ready here. No. 1 running back Elijah Mitchell will miss about half the season after getting injured in Week 1.
Veteran Jeff Wilson (18 carries for 84 yards) and rookie Tyron Davis Price (14 carries for 33 yards) largely split the workload in Week 2.
Wilson Not Clicking Yet For Denver
This is the second Broncos game that I’ve previewed here at BMR this season so far; got the NFL spread pick wrong when Denver was upset Week 1 in Seattle but did get the total right.
First-year coach Nathaniel Hackett had some really questionable play-calling in that one and there were some odd moments in Russell Wilson’s home Broncos debut on Sunday, a 16-9 win over Houston.
Courtland Sutton posted the fifth 100-yard game of his career and his first since Week 5 of 2021. Two offensive linemen, Billy Turner and Quinn Meinerz, also were out.
Wilson wasn’t very good in completing just 14 of 31 for 219 yards with a TD and pick while taking three sacks. To be fair to Russ, one starting wideout, Jerry Jeudy, left injured and another, and KJ Hamler, was out.
"Losing a guy like Jerry, not sure where that's at and whether he'll be able to make it back for (Sunday's) game or not, but any time you lose a guy like that... it's always going to be hard," Hackett said.
Changes and Metrics
The defense played great in allowing only 234 total yards, but the Texans largely stink. Starting Broncos inside linebacker Josey Jewell has missed the first two games with a calf injury. Alex Singleton had five tackles in his place vs. Seattle.
Cornerback Pat Surtain II left the game with a left shoulder injury early in the second quarter. That would be a huge loss as he’s one of the best young players at his position in the league.
Damarri Mathis, whom the Broncos selected in the fourth round of this year’s draft, replaced Surtain on Sunday.
I really don’t like picking a game this early in the week with so many injury questions, but I definitely lean under the total. I’ll take Denver simply being at home ATS as NFL pick since it’s such a tough place to play in the altitude.
Score prediction: Broncos 20 - 49ers 17
NFL Picks: Denver -1.5 and under 43.5 points (-110) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.