Denver Broncos (2-3) at Los Angeles Chargers (3-2)
Opening Spread: Chargers -6.
Opening Game Total: 46.
Opening Team Totals: Chargers (26), Broncos (20).
Weather: Hybrid stadium, no concerns.
The Line Report
- This line opened as Chargers -6.
- This line has moved down to Chargers -4.5.
- DraftKings Pick’Em has the Chargers -5.5.
- Circa Sports Millions Pro Football Contest has the Chargers -4.5.
- This total opened at 46 points.
- This total has moved slightly up to 46.5 points.
Chargers: IR: LT Rashawn Slater, Edge Joey Bosa. Doubtful: WR Keenan Allen. Questionable: RT Trey Pipkins III.
Broncos: IR: Javonte Williams, LT Garrett Boles, Edge Randy Gregory, S Justin Simmons, CB Ronald Darby. Out: LB Josey Jewell, Caden Sterns. Questionable: RB Melvin Gordon, TE Eric Saubert, LG Dalton Risner, RG Quinn Meinerz.
The Chargers Offense vs. Broncos Defense
Entering the season, these were two top-ten caliber lines. Now, the Chargers are down left tackle Rashawn Slater, while the Broncos are down edge Randy Gregory. I currently have both units in the middle of the pack, so I’m treating this trench matchup as a relative draw.
- The Chargers are 4-1 against the spread this season.
- The Chargers are 3-2 on overs this season.
- Justin Herbert is 20-17 against the spread in his career.
- Justin Herbert is 22-15 on overs in his career.
- Brandon Staley is 12-10 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Brandon Staley is 13-9 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Chargers score 24.4 points per game, good for ninth in the league.
- Los Angeles is second in the league in yards passing per game and 22nd in yards rushing.
- Per the Edge, Justin Herbert is second in the league in yards passing, tied for 14th in yards per attempt and 36th in air yards per attempt.
- Among running backs, Austin Ekeler is 17th in yards rushing and first in yards receiving.
- With Keenan Allen sidelined, Mike Williams is 11th in the league in yards receiving (392) and 14th in receptions (28). Williams has a 22.5% target share and a 38% air yards share.
- Josh Palmer has a 14.7% target share and a 17.9% air yards share.
- Among tight ends, Gerald Everett is 11th in target share (15.2%) and fifth in target share (17.9%).
- Per TruMedia, Mike Williams is fifth in the league in snaps played on the perimeter with 258. In addition, Williams has played 38 snaps in the slot.
- Josh Palmer has played 161 snaps on the perimeter and 92 in the slot.
- Gerald Everett has played 142 snaps as an inline tight end, 19 on the perimeter and 64 in the slot.
- The Broncos have allowed 16 points per game, which is fourth-best in the league.
- Denver is first in net yards passing allowed per game and 14th in yards rushing allowed per game.
- Denver is fifth in the league in sacks (17) and 18th in interceptions with three.
- Per The Edge, the Broncos have allowed the 13th most yards rushing and the 19th most yards receiving to running backs this season.
- Denver has given up the second-fewest yards receiving on the 18th most receptions to wide receivers this year.
- The Broncos have allowed the 19th most yards receiving on the 18th most receptions to tight ends this season.
- The Broncos have allowed the tenth most PPR points to inline tight ends this season.
The Broncos Offense vs. Chargers Defense
With Joey Bosa, the Chargers have an elite pass rush. Los Angeles has more of an average front without Joey Bosa or Khalil Mack. At full strength, the Broncos are an average offensive line. They are down left tackle Garrett Boles, which makes them more of a fringe, below-average unit. If guards Dalton Risner or Quinn Meinerz miss this contest, I’d give the Chargers’ front an edge in this contest. As things are now, Khalil Mack is an individual matchup problem for Denver, with the Chargers having no notable front edge elsewhere.
- The Broncos are 1-4 against the spread this season.
- In addition, the Broncos are 1-4 on overs this season.
- Russell Wilson is 84-73-6 against the spread in his career.
- Russell Wilson is 76-86-1 on overs in his career.
- Nathaniel Hackett is 1-4 against the spread in his career as an NFL head coach.
- Nathaniel Hackett is 1-4 on overs in his career as an NFL head coach.
- The Broncos score 15 points per game, which is 31st in the league.
- Denver is 16th in the league in yards passing per game and 19th in yards rushing.
- Per the Edge, Russell Wilson is 14th in the league in yards passing, tied for 14th in yards per attempt, and 13th in air yards per attempt.
- Wilson has taken the 20th most hurries, the 15th most pressures and the sixth most sacks this season.
- With Javonte Williams sidelined last week, Melvin Gordon had 15 carries and three targets, while Mike Boone had seven carries and three targets.
- Courtland Sutton is seventh in the league in yards receiving (417), 12th in receptions (29), 15th in target share (28%), and sixth in air yards share (42.5%).
- Jerry Jeudy has a 17.7% target share and a 22.8% air yards share.
- No other Broncos wide receiver or tight end has a target share above 8%.
- Per TruMedia, Courtland Sutton has played 250 snaps on the perimeter and 35 in the slot.
- Jerry Jeudy has played 70 snaps on the perimeter and 139 in the slot.
- The Chargers have allowed 27.2 points per game, which is 30th in the league.
- Los Angeles is 20th in net yards passing allowed per game and 24th in yards rushing allowed per game.
- Los Angeles is 12th in the league in sacks with 11 and sixth in interceptions with six.
- Per The Edge, the Chargers have allowed the sixth most yards rushing and the 12th most yards receiving to running backs this season.
- Los Angeles has given up the 15th most yards receiving on the seventh most receptions to wide receivers this year.
- Los Angeles has given up the fifth most PPR points to wide receivers lined up in the slot.
- The Chargers have allowed the eighth most yards receiving on the 15th most receptions to tight ends this season.
This is What You’re Betting On in Chargers vs. Broncos
A bet on the Chargers is always a bet on Justin Herbert continuing to be an MVP-caliber quarterback that makes a handful of “wow” plays virtually every game. Austin Ekeler is a dynamic talent at running back, and Mike Williams is a high-quality contested catch type of wide receiver. The Broncos’ defense has been stout so far this season, but they have a number of starters ruled out for this contest. Even with LT Rashawn Slater out and Keenan Allen likely sidelined for this divisional encounter, Herbert has enough of a supporting cast to test Denver’s injury-ravaged defense. The Chargers are a significant favorite in this matchup, which means that your biggest concern with a Chargers bet is that Russell Wilson’s offense plays its best game of the season against Brandon Staley’s underwhelming defense.
A bet on the Broncos is a bet on a team with a non-functioning offense through the first five games. It’s very bizarre to say that about a Russell Wilson-led offense, but that’s the reality of the situation. If you’re betting on Denver, you’re either betting on Wilson’s offense taking a step forward, or you’re betting on a Broncos defense that is down multiple starters, including headliners in safety Justin Simmons and Edge Randy Gregory. Smart teams often run the ball at a greater-than-normal rate against the Chargers because they don’t often stop the run. Through his first five games, I can’t entirely count on Nathaniel Hackett to take that approach here. The biggest concern with a Broncos bet, outside of their offense remaining stagnant, is that Justin Herbert just comes out and shreds their injured defense.
Awards Market Ramifications: Justin Herbert is a fringe MVP contender.
Winner/ Confidence Pool: I’ll be taking the Chargers in winner pools, though I would probably take Denver as a differentiator in one if this was a main slate game. I don’t really want to get different on the tiebreaker in this one. I will be right around consensus on the Chargers in this matchup in confidence pools.
Spread Pool: If I could get Denver at a considerable value in ATS tournaments, I’d consider them. As it stands now, I will likely avoid this game outside of pick-every-game pools.
Survivor Pool: I wouldn’t outright rule out the Chargers as an option in survivor pools this week, but I’m going to go with the Rams and Buccaneers instead.
Ryan’s recent betting record:
ATS 2021: 49-31
ATS 2022: 17-8
Props 2022: 16-10
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