Broncos-Chargers Betting Preview: Will Rivers & Co. Keep Their Streak Alive?
USA Today Sports. Pictured: Chris Harris Jr., Philip Rivers
Betting odds: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
- Spread: Chargers -7
- Over/Under: 46.5
- Time: 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV channel: CBS
>> All odds as of Friday morning. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NFL odds and track your bets
Betting market: This game has remained on the key number of -7 with no movement at most offshore books. Very dull.
The Chargers are getting 74% of bets as of writing (see live data here), but the Broncos must be getting enough sharp support at +7 to stick on that number.
Books likely don’t want to give sharps the chance to snag Denver plus the hook, so a move to +7.5 might not happen. — Mark Gallant
Trends to know: Philip Rivers and the Chargers are riding a six-game winning streak. Since 2003, Rivers has been the second-most profitable NFL quarterback after his team won the previous game and opens as a touchdown favorite in the next, going 21-15 against the spread (+5.7 units) according to our Bet Labs data.
When that game is played at home, Rivers is 16-9 ATS (+6.7 units), covering the spread by 5.2 points per game. — Evan Abrams
Did you know? The Chargers haven’t really needed Rivers to sling it through the air to win the past two weeks. Rivers has thrown for fewer than 250 passing yards in consecutive games for the first time since Week 10 of 2017.
He’s 11-5 ATS (68.8%) when he plays at home after throwing for fewer than 250 passing yards in consecutive games, profiting bettors 5.8 units and making him the most profitable QB in the NFL in that spot, covering the spread by 7.3 points per game. — Abrams
Metrics that matter: The Chargers are averaging more than 6.5 yards per play on offense this season.
Home teams with that prolific of an offense tend to go over the total (88-58-2 record — 60.3% — since 2003). That improves to 28-15 (65.1%) in November or later, going over by 3.3 points per game. — Abrams
Biggest mismatch: Melvin Gordon vs. Broncos’ run defense
The Broncos have been stronger against the pass this season than the run, ranking third in Football Outsiders’ pass DVOA but 18th in rush DVOA.
Overall, Denver is allowing 131.7 rushing yards per game and 4.8 yards per carry. This spot should set up well for Gordon, who is averaging 20.1 touches and 129.1 total yards from scrimmage per game.
The Chargers also boast a 27-point implied team total. — Justin Bailey
Which team is healthier? Broncos
The bye week seems to have done the Broncos some good. Running back Royce Freeman (ankle), cornerback Bradley Roby (ankle) and safety Darian Stewart (neck) are tentatively expected to suit up on Sunday, though safety Dymonte Thomas (ankle) and linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) remain questionable.
The Chargers are dealing with injuries to Antonio Gates (knee) and cornerback Trevor Williams (knee) in addition to defensive end Joey Bosa (foot), while stud starting middle linebacker Denzel Perryman (knee) is out for the season.
DFS edge: Broncos stud slot corner Chris Harris Jr. was used in shadow coverage for first time in his Broncos’ career in Week 9, though DeAndre Hopkins found a way to rack up a 10-105-1 receiving line. It’s possible that Harris tracks Keenan Allen on the majority of the receiver’s routes, but they’ll see plenty of each other in the slot regardless.
Harris has historically won the matchup. Allen has posted fewer than 50 receiving yards in five of seven career games against the divisional rival.
Bet to watch: Under 46.5
The Chargers defense has been one of the underlying storylines of their 7-2 start.
Los Angeles ranks 11th in overall defensive DVOA and eighth against the pass. The Chargers are also the NFL’s best defense against the short-passing game (1-14 yards downfield), and if they get Bosa back, they might just get better.
The Chargers offense runs a play every 30.52 seconds, which is the slowest pace by more than a full half second. It slows down to 32.33 seconds in the second half, which is also the slowest mark in the league.
The Chargers had been clicking offensively over the first six weeks, scoring 29.2 points per game, good for fifth-most in the NFL. But over the past three games though, they’ve scored only 20, 25 and 20 points — that’s an average of 21.7 points per game, more than a full touchdown less than their average through Week 5.
That’s not to mention that Allen, Mike Williams and Gates have all been limited in practice this week ahead of a matchup against a Broncos defense that ranks third in pass defense DVOA.
Rivers has faced the Broncos 11 times since 2013. An average of 39.7 combined points were scored in those games, including their past seven meetings which have totaled 47 or fewer combined points. — Abrams
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.