Broncos vs. Chargers Odds & Picks: Trust Denver to Cover?

Broncos vs. Chargers Odds & Picks: Trust Denver to Cover? article feature image

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58).

  • The Chargers have yet to cover at home this season. Can you trust them as 6.5-point favorite against the Broncos?
  • Our staff analyzes this spread and over/under, complete with a pick for this AFC West showdown.

Broncos at Chargers Odds & Picks

  • Chargers Spread: -6.5
  • Broncos Spread: +6.5
  • Over/Under: 44.5
  • Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: CBS

Odds as of Thursday afternoon. Check out PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).

Home field has been more of a disadvantage for the Chargers. They’re 11-21-1 against the spread at home the over the past five seasons — only the Browns have been worse. That includes a 6-10-1 ATS mark since moving to Los Angeles.

Despite that, the public is backing the Chargers with 55% of the spread betting tickets. What can we expect from Philip Rivers and the Bolts at home?

Our experts analyze the most important angles of Sunday’s matchup, including Sean Koerner’s projected odds and a pick.

Broncos-Chargers Injury Report

The biggest question marks for the Broncos are offensive lineman Ja’Wuan James (knee), who finally returned to practice this week, and linebacker Josey Jewell (hamstring), who has been absent. The potential absence of Jewell would be a boost to the Chargers running game since he leads Denver in tackles and ranks third in stops, per Pro Football Focus.

Mike Williams (back) and Travis Benjamin (hip) both returned to limited practice, which is a positive sign for their status this week. The Broncos’ offense could also see a boost if linebacker Melvin Ingram (hamstring) is ruled out for this game. Ingram leads the Chargers in pressures and sacks and is third in hurries. Justin Bailey

Note: Info as of Thursday. See our Injury Report for daily practice participation and game statuses up until kickoff.

Biggest Mismatch

Chargers Run Game vs. Broncos Run Defense

Remember when something was wrong with Leonard Fournette? The formerly maligned back entered Mile High last week with a below-average 4.16 yards per carry.

Twenty-nine carries and 225 yards (7.76 YPC) later, the Broncos run defense was searching for answers.

LA is hoping for similar success on Sunday. Austin Ekeler’s gaudy fantasy numbers aside, the Chargers’ run game has been solid if unspectacular this season, with their backs averaging a combined 4.45 yards per carry (14th) and their offensive line ranking 13th in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards.

The Broncos’ defense, meanwhile, ranks 25th in yards per carry allowed to running backs (4.75) and 29th in adjusted line yards (4.90) per Football Outsiders.

Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13).

The Chargers are banged up at wide receiver, but they still have Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen and Ekeler to keep the chains moving through the air when necessary against a Broncos defense tied for the fifth-fewest QB hits (15) and is now without talented edge rusher Bradley Chubb (ACL), which should allow the Chargers to stick with the run all game long.

Sure, the Chargers don’t have much of a home-field advantage and are banged up themselves. But with Melvin Gordon (holdout) expected back in the mix to compliment the blossoming Ekeler, it should surprise no one if the Chargers thoroughly handle the Broncos team that, according to Bet Labs, has gone 11-23-3 ATS in the post-Gary Kubiak/Wade Phillips era. — Chris Raybon

Sean Koerner’s Projected Odds

  • Projected Spread: Chargers -7
  • Projected Total: 44.5

The Broncos could not be off to a worse start as they’re 0-4 and just lost Chubb to a torn ACL. Ingram is also set to miss this week. And given both defenses are vulnerable to the pass, this game flow could lean more toward the over than my power ratings would indicate.

Despite opening at 44 and receiving near split action, the total has moved up a half-point. That could be an angle some sharps are picking up, which has led to slightly more sharper action on the over here. Sean Koerner

Expert Picks

Chad Millman: Broncos +6.5

All due respect to my friend Chris, sometimes you don’t bet the stats on the field, you bet the number on the board. And this is a bad number, with bookmakers hanging the half-point hook on the six like a fat meatball.

They are begging you to take the Broncos here.

And, as a wiseguy, I am going to bite — and FWIW, I’m not the only one: 55% of the tickets are on the Chargers, but 68% of the money is on Denver (see live public better data here), which tells you all you need to know about which way professional bettors are leaning.

Why do wiseguys like Denver? Well, it really doesn’t matter, if you want to bet with the pros just knowing what side they are on is enough. But this game is loaded with some public perception tells:

1. The Chargers covering against the Dolphins as double-digit favs on the road last weekend. But, dig deeper and you’ll see that they struggled mightily early on and didn’t put that game away until late.

2. The Broncos losing to Jacksonville at home. But dig deeper and you will remember that they had that game in hand in the final seconds and were bitten by some Gardner Minshew magic. Now they are being downgraded for it.

The public remembers what they last saw. Wiseguys remember the whole game.

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