Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:57 AM

49ers at Broncos

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NFL Preseason Week 2 Preview
San Francisco at Denver

The final game for the second week of the preseason is actually Game 3 for the Denver Broncos, as they get to play at home for the first time this summer. The Broncos welcome in a San Francisco team that general market perception is quite high on this year, as they get another crack with Jimmy Garoppolo under center, hopefully for the whole campaign.

Garoppolo won't be on the field much on Monday night, but with two guys behind him in Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard – both who started in his absence a year ago – San Fran has plenty of people thinking highly of them in the preseason as well.

Can that trio of QB's go out on the road under the bright prime time lights and stretch their preseason record to 2-0 SU and ATS?

NFL Odds: Denver (-2.5); Total set at 41.5

Denver's QB rotation shouldn't be slept on either

This will be the 16th time Denver finds itself on Monday Night Football in August, and a 6-9 SU record in the previous 15 occurrences isn't great by any means. But the last time they were in this role was back in the 2007 preseason, and oddly enough it was against this 49ers franchise out in San Francisco. That was a 17-13 win for the Broncos, who would love to duplicate that result this week.

Given that it is the third preseason game for Denver, chances are we see the starters get a bit more playing time this week then we will for other teams, and that can't hurt someone like QB Joe Flacco who is still establishing a rapport with his new teammates. Flacco's yet to see really more than one drive in game action this summer, and as long as you can avoid injury, the more live-game reps you get the better in his scenario being with a new team.

At the same time, Denver's reserves at QB may not have the starting NFL experience that San Fran's backups do, but they are battling it out for that #2 role as well. Rookie Drew Lock was given the bulk of the work last week in Seattle, and he performed well to the tune of 180 passing yards (1 TD, 1 INT) on 17-for-28 passing. Broncos brass are hoping that he ends up being the QB of the future in Denver and giving him as many snaps as they can now can only help his development as well.

Three-Headed QB's in San Francisco

Garoppolo will be seeing his first action in this game, but the bulk of the work is still going to go to Mullens and Beathard, as both guys look to build upon their flashes of great play from a year ago. It's because those two started regular season games a year ago that they are essentially “more known” to the casual market, and generally speaking bettors prefer to back/fade what they 'know' as opposed to doing so with more unknowns.

Which is interesting in the sense that the point spread for this game hasn't changed in number, just in vig, as action all week is seemingly coming in on both sides. The three-headed beast that is the 49ers rotation will likely get some more love the closer we get to kick-off because of their 'known' status, but this Denver defense is going to be the strength of their team once again in 2019, and it's the 3rd game for them as well. Seeing Broncos defenders fly around to the ball and make a concerted effort that they don't routinely get beat is another thing to consider here.

Total move correct?

While there hasn't been much movement on the side, the total has already been bet down a point from it's opener of 42.5, and that's arguably the right move. If Denver's starters come to play on defense, the early work for Mullens/Beathard will be much tougher than what they faced against Dallas a week ago, and each guy threw an INT in their time on the field there. Both had solid completion rates (11-for-17 for Mullens and 13-for-17 for Beathard), but they are still developing consistency in their respective games and didn't exactly put up many points off all those pass completions.

The 'under' is probably the correct move here though, although I wouldn't rule out the number climbing back up higher as we approach Monday. It's these QB rotations that tend to attract a lot of belief in points being scored. But look for Denver's defense to step up and be tough to move the ball on early, while the 49ers defense does its best to match them in that regard.

Final Thoughts

As much as I do lean on the 'under' being the correct side on the total, I can't help but see this as a much more advantageous spot to back the Broncos. Over the past five years, teams involved in playing the Hall-of-Fame game have come away with a 6-2 SU record in Week 2 of the preseason (their third game). There was no Hall-of-Fame game in 2016 which is why the numbers may appear off, but the built-in advantage of treating this as more of the third game/dress rehearsal has proven highly beneficial in terms of picking the outright winner in these games.

With the Broncos looking to put on a show for their own fans the first time this year, backing them on the ML is where my money is going on MNF this week.

Best Bet: Denver ML

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