San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Date and Time: Friday, August 11, 2017, 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, MO
Preseason NFL Week 1 Opening Odds: Chiefs -4.5, O/U 37
49ers vs. Chiefs TV Coverage: NFL Network
Quarterback whisperer, Kyle Shanahan finally has his own team to try to groom. After years of being a quarterbacks coach or an offensive coordinator, Shanahan is now in charge of the 49ers, and he's brought in a bunch of guys who are poor man's versions of his various previous quarterback protégés.
Brian Hoyer will be the first on the field in this one. He was a free agent signing on the cheap from Chicago, and he'll get the first crack at this job this year. Matt Barkley doesn't figure to be a factor in the starting quarterback chase, but he'll at least get his shot under center in this one.
The man to really keep an eye on is C.J. Beathard. Most are going to write Beathard off right away after a shoddy career at Iowa that included a lot of moments that made bettors cringe. That offense was pro-style, though, and Beathard should come into the NFL with a good understanding of Shanahan's West Coast offense. He won't wow you with his arm, but Beathard and some of these younger wide receivers who are just trying to make this roster could end up being better than you think.
Andy Reid is a veteran of these preseason games, and the worst-kept secret in the NFL right now is that Alex Smith is on his way out of town at some point. Oh sure, Smith will keep his job this year in all likelihood for as long as KC is competing, but this team will belong to Patrick Mahomes II in the not-distant future.
Smith will get a drive or two, if for no other reason to try to get on the same page with rising offensive coordinator, Matt Nagy. But the man of the hour is going to be Mahomes.
All the reports out of Kansas City state that Mahomes is impressing, but he still has a ways to go to truly be ready to lead a team. He's the only other serious quarterback on this roster, though, and if anything happens to Smith, he has to be ready. Tyler Bray and Joel Stave are camp arms just hoping to get a shot, though neither one figures to really be considered much after these early preseason games are over with.
9 – The number of scoring drives the Kansas City defense allowed in the preseason last year.
The Chiefs have always been built on the back of their defense, and they're more than just a team full of starters. This year's roster only has six rookies on the defensive side of the ball, and of the 43 men listed on the depth chart for the time being, well over half are returners from last year.
That's a good sign for deeper in these preseason games. Sure, the six rookies might present some challenges, especially since Tanoh Kpassagnon, the team's second-round pick this year is considered tremendously raw. But this still projects out to be a strong defensive team in exhibitions.
49ers vs. Chiefs Free Picks
The early line movement in this game at some of the best online sportsbooks is all on the Niners. The sharpest money recognizes that the marriage between Beathard and Shanahan might be made in heaven for these preseason games. Is it possible that the Iowa Hawkeye could play better here in the preseason than he ever did at Iowa? We aren't discounting that possibility.
Beathard will be the surprise of the week in the first week of the preseason and will guide the 49ers to an upset at Arrowhead.
49ers vs. Chiefs ATS Pick: 49ers +4.5 at BookMaker.eu
49ers vs. Chiefs Score Prediction: 49ers 20, Chiefs 10