(2-5, 2-5 ATS)
San Francisco 49ers
(1-6, 2-5 ATS)
The annual trip for the NFL to Wembley Stadium occurs on Sunday afternoon, and though the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos isn’t one that NFL betting fans will rejoice about, the Brits and Europeans in general will love the fact that American football is being played on their home soil in one of the biggest spectacles of the season.
The Broncos should be showing the English what it is like to throw the ball all over the place. QB Kyle Orton isn’t shy about gunning it 45-50 times per game, and without really a big time influence from the running game, he really doesn’t have much of a choice. This passing attack ranks No. 3 in the NFL at 290.1 yards per game and is No. 10 overall offensively with 358.6 total yards per game. Orton has 11 TD tosses on the season and has completed 60.5 percent of his passes for 2,140 yards. It is remotely possible that WR Brandon Lloyd, WR Jabar Gaffney, and WR Eddie Royal could all have 1,000 yards by the time the season is over, especially if Royal picks it up just a tad. The three have combined for over 1,500 receiving yards already in just seven games and have six of Orton’s TD receptions as well. The defense for Denver is going to be key in this one, though. This unit was just ripped apart for over 500 yards and 59 points by the lowly Oakland Raiders at home, and badly needs to have a bounce back in a hurry if the Broncos are going to have any chance whatsoever at competing for a spot in the playoffs.
The 49ers still believe that they can be a playoff team after starting the season at 1-6, but if they are going to take a step in the right direction in England on Sunday, they’re going to have to do so with QB Troy Smith taking snaps. Smith, the former Ohio State Buckeye, is going to be reunited with WR Ted Ginn Jr., and can perhaps get both jumpstarted on the year. Ginn only has five catches for 68 yards this year, and though he wasn’t expected to make a huge impact on the offense this year after being traded for in the offseason, his production was supposed to be bigger than this as a slot man. Smith is going to be relying quite a bit on his running game, as RB Frank Gore does all of the dirty work for San Fran. He has 135 carries and 37 receptions, both of which lead the team. His 914 total yards between rushing and receiving leads the NFL, but he only has three TDs to show for it. The Niners’ defense has been okay this season at 321.9 yards and 23.1 points per game, but they will be tested quite a bit on Sunday, especially if the offense falters.
We don’t love the matchup of the Denver offense against the San Fran defense, but how many points can Smith really produce? His mobility will probably be halted by bad field conditions parlayed with a very speedy Denver ‘D’ on the other side of the field, and the deep passing game can be limited with just putting a man like DB Champ Bailey in one on one coverage. 17 points would be enough to win this one, and we think that the Broncos will be able to muster at least that many.
NFL Free Picks: Denver Broncos +1