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NFL Broncos at 49ers

August 13, 2007

NFL Football Preseason - Denver Broncos at San Francisco 49ers 8:00 PM EST

The 49ers are listed as a 3-point favorite with a total of 35 at sportsbook.com.

Jay Culter, QB for the Denver BroncosDenver is currently picked to finish second in the AFC West behind San Diego and is tied for the fifth choice at 11-1 odds to be the conference representative in the Super Bowl.

San Francisco continues to improve through the draft and free agency and is in the mix in what figures to be a crazy NFC West race. They are at 8-1 odds to make the trip over to Glendale, AZ as the National Football Conference's best team.

Denver will be glad to put a tumultuous off-season behind them that saw the unfortunate deaths of two players', cornerback Darrent Williams and running back Damien Nash. If one head coach is equipped to move forward it is Mike Shanahan.

Now in his 13th season, Shanahan potentially sacrificed the 2006 season, by benching wildly inconsistent Jake Plummer and throwing rookie quarterback Jay Cutler to the NFL wolves.

It was apparent Cutler has the ability and the skills to justify the Broncos moving up in the draft to get him. Those late-season games involved in a playoff race will start to pay dividends in 2007 with a calmer and more confident signal caller.

The pick-up of running back Travis Henry was pure genius, giving Denver a true go-to runner who can carry the load. He's low and compact and should flourish in zone blocking scheme.

On defense one of the brighter minds on the defensive side Jim Bates, takes over as defensive coordinator. Bates was on sabbatical in 2006 after turning around Green Bay's defense and convinced Shanahan that the former Cleveland non-achievers in the defensive line had become much the same in the Mile High City.

Big bodies were brought in to secure the middle and the linebackers will have a more active role in the entire scheme besides just running around making tackles. Dre' Bly and Champ Bailey give Denver the best ball-hawking corners in the entire league.

Coach Mike Nolan has quickly transformed a tired, old San Francisco squad and turned them into one a team on the rise for the 2007 campaign. Superior drafting and roster building skills have made this Niners team one to watch.

At this point of his career quarterback Alex Smith is still unknown, he can play well within the framework of the offense, yet when asked to carry the team through rough spots, he has struggled mightily with inconsistency.

The offense will remain essentially unchanged in spite of new offensive coordinator Jim Hostler at the helm. It will be run first with Frank Gore and set up passing game to Arnaz Battle and gifted tight end Vernon Davis who could have Pro Bowl season.

Defensively San Francisco is committed to the 3-4 alignment and added players to fit this mold. The defensive line is set to clog up the running game and Manny Lawson, Tully Banta-Cain and top selection Patrick Willis will be counted on to make plays.

The addition of free agents CB Nate Clements and S Michael Lewis automatically improves 49ers secondary. The first signs of a more attacking style on this side of the pigskin should start to show here.

While these games have no real meaning, Denver might have a scratch they want to itch playing San Francisco. The Niners knocked the Broncos out of the playoffs in week 17 last season 26-23 as 10-point road underdogs.

In this preseason contest San Francisco is a three point favorite at Sportsbook.com, with a total of 35.5. The Broncos are 17-14 against San Fran all-time in the preseason and 8-3 and 7-4 ATS in the last 13 years.

Denver is 29-20-1 against the spread when favored the last 23 years. San Francisco is 15-12-1 ATS in the same time period as an underdog.

Discuss Monday's football preseason action in the NFL football betting forum here at SCI. 


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