The San Francisco 49ers like to think they have plenty of reason for optimism after turning in another strong effort this past Monday night against the St. Louis Rams. But has their defense been playing well enough to deal with someone who could be the most productive quarterback of our time? That is what is up fort debate among America’s Bookie customers as the Niners will visit Sports Authority Field on Sunday night for pro football betting action against the Denver Broncos. This is the NBC-televised game, and quite possibly a landmark occasion, as kickoff is scheduled for 8:25 PM ET.
San Francisco is 4-2 straight-up and 3-3 against the NFL pointspread, and they are hoping to avoid the fate of the Arizona Cardinals, their NFC West rivals who were victims to Denver a couple of weeks ago by a 41-20 score. The Broncos, who are 4-1 straight-up and 2-3 against the number, suffered their only loss in overtime at the hands of another of the Niners’ divisional rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. They won last week’s game against the New York Jets, by the same 31-17 score as San Francisco beat St. Louis. And both teams returned interceptions for touchdowns with time running out.
In the pro football betting odds that have been established on this game by the people at America’s Bookie, the Broncos are the favorites:
Denver Broncos -6.5
San Francisco 49ers +6.5
Over 48 Points -110
Under 48 Points -110
San Francisco is riding a three-game winning streak, and one of those wins was a rather odd one against the Philadelphia Eagles, in which they held the high-volume offense of Chip Kelly and his charges to practically nothing; in fact, before a drive at the end when the Eagles failed to get in on a couple of tries from the one-year line, they had only five first downs. Last week they were a bit too much after second-half adjustments and frustrated Rams’ quarterback Austin Davis in a 31-17 victory.
As America’s Bookie customers know, those techniques won’t work so easily against Peyton Manning, who needs three touchdowns to pass Brett Favre into first all-time in TD passes. The Niners certainly don’t want to be the team standing there while they have a celebration on the field. But they will have to limit the Broncos on first down, because they have not done a great job, statistically speaking, in getting their defense off the field. The 49ers are allowing 49% on third down, but interestingly enough, they are among the top six defenses in the NFL in terms of yards and points allowed per drive.
Pro football bettors know that they have been missing personnel. Aldon Smith is still sitting out a suspension. NaVorro Bowman is still injured. Patrick Willis has a very bothersome toe injury. So the Niners are not at full strength on that side of the ball, to say the least.
The “passing the torch” angle is interesting to look at here, as long as we are talking about history. Niners coach Jim Harbaugh was a quarterback with the Colts before Manning came aboard. Over/under before you hear that mentioned by NBC’s Al Michaels: probably about 2.5 minutes.