Monday Night Football: Broncos vs Chargers Odds & Picks

Monday Night Football: Broncos vs Chargers Odds & Picks article feature image

Cooper Neill/Getty Images. Pictured: Russell Wilson.

  • Broncos vs. Chargers is the final game of Week 6 tonight on Monday Night Football.
  • Los Angeles has won two straight, while Denver is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Colts.
  • Chris Raybon previews the game and lays out his betting pick.

Broncos vs. Chargers Odds

Monday, Oct. 17
8:15 p.m. ET
Broncos Odds
-108o / -112u
Chargers Odds
-108o / -112u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

The Chargers are 4-1 against the spread (ATS) this season, while the Broncos are 1-4. Will those trends continue on Monday night?

Broncos vs. Chargers Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Broncos and Chargers match up statistically:

Broncos vs. Chargers DVOA Breakdown
Overall DVOA2713
Pass DVOA2112
Rush DVOA2322
Overall DVOA94
Pass DVOA62
Rush DVOA2415
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Despite being without Keenan Allen for all but 22 snaps and suffering a painful rib injury in Week 2, Justin Herbert has led the Chargers offense to a ninth-place ranking in both DVOA and points per game (24.4). However, they've done it versus the fourth-easiest schedule of opposing defenses. It won't be fourth-easiest after facing a Broncos unit entered Week 6 ranked fourth in both DVOA and points per game allowed (16.0).

First-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero likes to dial up the blitz, and it's been working: Denver has sacked opposing quarterbacks at the fourth-highest rate (9.1%) and generated pressure at the eighth-highest rate (26.6%). Elite quarterbacks force defenses to shy away from sending extra rushers by making them pay, but Herbert is not quite there yet.

Per data from Pro Football Focus, Herbert's 108.7 passer rating when not blitzed ranks fifth in the NFL among 36 qualified QBs. When the opposing defense dials up the blitz, though, it drops to 78.7, which ranks 28th.

Allen's ability to come open quickly is obviously missed, but Herbert has  never excelled against the blitz. His 91.1 rating versus the blitz as a rookie ranked 29th, and though he improved to 19th in Year 2, the rating stayed the same.

Herbert has more than the blitz to worry about, since the Broncos are also capable of making it difficult to get the ball to his top target Mike Williams thanks to the sticky coverage of Patrick Surtain II. Herbert has relied heavily upon Williams, who is averaging career-highs in targets (8.8), catches (5.6) and yards (78.4), but Surtain has allowed just 143 yards on 31 targets. His PFF grade of 88.2 ranks second of 119 qualified corners. And at age-22, Surtain II is still getting better by the week. His coverage grades this season, starting with Week 1, are 54.1, 61.2, 80.1, 82.0, 90.1.

What Herbert could use is help from his running game. But that's where the strength of schedule I mentioned earlier comes back into play. Because while it's true that Austin Ekeler and company busted out for 238 total yards and two TDs on 34 carries last week, the Browns are 32nd in DVOA against the run. It's highly likely that last week's performance was a mirage.

Bet Broncos vs. Chargers at FanDuel
Broncos +4 | Chargers -4

But unless you've been on Airplane Mode all season, you know that it doesn't take much offense to beat the Broncos.

Through five games, the Let's Ride Experience has generated the league's second-lowest-scoring offense at 15.0 points per game. After multiple backbreaking interceptions and the sorriest end to a press conference you'll ever see, Wilson is in the lead as the Broncos' leading scapegoat over head coach Nathaniel Hackett.

Wilson is clearly no longer in his prime. It's easy enough to see it without even going to the numbers. But because the NFL decided  with a never-ending barrage of Broncos primetime games to start the season, he's been in the spotlight constantly and his demise is being blown out of proportion. It doesn't help that Geno Smith is thriving in Seattle.

Wilson' is averaging 7.4 yards per attempt, which is 0.4 yards below his career average, but still above the league average of 7.1. Despite throwing two mind-numbing interceptions against the Colts, he hasn't suddenly become a turnover machine. His interception rate of 1.8% matches his career average and is also better than the league average of 2.3%.

Wilson's completion rate of 59.4% is well below his career average of 64.8%, but his receivers have dropped 13 of his passes. According to Pro Football Focus, Wilson's 11.4% rate of dropped passes is the highest in the NFL. Give him a league-average drop rate, and his completion rate is on par with his career average.

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The real killer for Wilson is his 2.4% TD rate,  which is well below his career rate of 6.0%. which goes hand-in-hand with the Broncos bottom-ranked red zone offense that  has converted for a TD just 21.4% of the time.  The league average red-zone TD conversion rate is around 57%, and no team finished below 44% last season, so Wilson and the offense are in for some major regression in the TD department.

Without Joey Bosa, the Chargers  have struggled to generate pressure and are 25th in pressure rate (19.6%).  The majority of Wilson's struggles this season can be chalked up to him struggling when under pressure:

  • Clean pocket: 63.6% completion percentage, 8.1 yards per attempt, 4 TD, 2 INT
  • Under pressure: 46.3%, 5.2, 0 TD, 1 INT

FanDuel Oddsboost
Sutton & Williams 40 + Receiving Yards & Ekeler Anytime Touchdown

The Broncos lost left tackle Garrett Bolles for the year last Thursday, but Calvin Anderson graded out even better than Bolles as a pass-blocker. While you could chalk it up to a small sample and time will ultimately tell, it's worth noting that was the case last season, as well.

If Wilson gets time in the pocket, this is an exploitable matchup for him, as the Chargers weakness align with his strengths and tendencies.

For instance, Wilson has attempted the second-most deep passes, and the Chargers are 22nd in deep-pass DVOA. He has targeted RBs at an extremely high rate (26.2%), and the Chargers are 30th in DVOA against RBs.

Wilson loves to force-feed the ball to his No. 1 receiver Courtland Sutton, but the Chargers don't have a Surtain-like answer for him. J.C. Jackson was supposed to be that guy, but he has been a shell of his former self as he returns from injury. Jackson has allowed 15-of-20 targets to be caught in his coverage for 245 yards and three TDs. What's even more mind-blowing is that is only in three games, so he's giving up a per-game stat line of 5/82/0.67.

Wilson also figures to get more help from his ground game. After facing three top-five run defenses, the Broncos are allowing 5.8 per carry.

Betting Picks

The Broncos show the biggest edge in our Week 6 Luck Rankings. The Chargers have had the 12th-most luck, while the Broncos are 30th. In Week 6, the unluckier side in our rankings went 11-5 ATS overall and 6-3 ATS when there was a luck ranking difference of 10 or more places, which is the case in this matchup.

This is the time of the year to exploit public perception. In this case, the public perception is that Hackett can't coach, Wilson can't throw and the Chargers have the edge as the better team playing at home. That kind of thinking is the  reason underdogs tend to crush in Week 6, particularly in spots like this when facing a team with a winning record.

And regardless of what time of the year it is, it is always profitable to buy low on a dog coming off a terrible offensive performance where they got held to single digits.

The Broncos are due for major regression in the TD-scoring department, and there's no better way for a team to start covering more spreads than to start scoring more TDs. Denver also only has one loss by more than three points.

This is too many points for a divisional matchup in a game where Denver matches up well, especially since the Chargers don't have much of a home-field advantage.

Quickslip: Broncos +4 | Bet to +3.5

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