San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos (-6.5)
Denver hosts its second Sunday Night Football game of the year – in Week 1, they beat the Colts 31-24 – when it takes on the 49ers, no stranger to the national spotlight, themselves. San Francisco will play its second-straight road night game, fresh off their defeat of the St. Louis Rams on Monday night.
Denver is 2-2 as a favorite this season, but the 49ers enter the game as an underdog for the first time all year. San Francisco has, however, found success against the spread on the road – 2-1 this season and an incredible 9-1 over their last ten road games. Clearly, the 49ers benefit from the extra road points. But, points aside, the 49ers are also 19-8 in road games under head coach Jim Harbaugh.
The pick ultimately comes down to the matchups between the teams’ strengths. It seems best to take the points in a large spread when the underdog has the ability to score in bunches, but that is not necessarily the case with the 49ers. Ranked a pedestrian 17th in points scored, the 49ers have only eclipsed the 30-point mark once this season, completed via an interception return for a touchdown in the final meaningless minute of their game in St. Louis (apparently, ‘Week 6’ translates to ‘last minute pick-6’).
Denver’s top-10 defense – both in points and yards allowed – coupled with their obviously prolific offense – also top-10 in points and yards – gives the Broncos the edge on all fronts in this game. It probably won’t be easy to cover the large spread, but the numbers suggest that San Francisco can’t keep up with Denver if the points start piling up.
The Broncos win by a touchdown and narrowly cover.