Broncos vs Chargers Odds, Pick, Prediction: NFL Week 18 Preview

Broncos vs Chargers Odds, Pick, Prediction: NFL Week 18 Preview article feature image

Justin Casterline/Getty Images. Pictured: Chase Daniel (right).

  • The Broncos are laying 4.5 points in Week 18 against the Chargers.
  • It's unknown how long Los Angeles' starters will play in this game.
  • Landon Silinsky makes his Broncos vs. Chargers pick below.

This is one of the Week 18 games with a pretty strange setup. We look for a Broncos vs. Chargers pick with Los Angeles having already clinched a playoff berth, but its seed and first-round opponent are still to be determined.

The Chargers will be the AFC's No. 5 seed with a win over the Broncos. However, they could still claim the fifth seed with a loss IF the Bengals beat the Ravens. If neither of these things occur, Los Angeles would be No. 6 seed.

What's the difference between the fifth and sixth seeds? Well, if the Chargers end up sixth, they would likely play either the Bills, Chiefs or Bengals in the first round.

If the Chargers are the fifth seed,  they'd likely have a date with either the Titans or Jaguars. Obviously, if Los Angeles can avoid facing one of the top three teams in the first round, that's a pretty big deal.

The issue here is the Ravens play at 1 p.m. ET and the Chargers don't kick off until 4:25 p.m ET, meaning their fate could already be decided by the time they start their tilt with the Broncos.

You can't take anything for granted in the NFL, but the Bengals are seven-point home favorites against the Ravens, so it's likely the Chargers won't have anything to play for in this game.

This is, of course, reflected in the line. The Broncos are 2.5-point favorites.

Broncos vs. Chargers Odds

Sunday, Jan. 8
4:25 p.m. ET
Broncos Odds
-105o / -115u
Chargers Odds
-105o / -115u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NFL odds here.

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 DVOA197
Pass DVOA244
Rush DVOA2522
Overall DVOA2915
Pass DVOA289
Rush DVOA2928

Going in with the assumption the Chargers won't need this game, it's extremely likely Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and at least a few offensive lineman and defensive players sit out.

This means Chase Daniel would most likely get the start and that does not bode well for Los Angeles' chances because the Broncos rank fourth in the NFL in pass defense DVOA, and have allowed the second fewest yards per attempt in the league.

Bet Denver vs. Los Angeles at FanDuel

The Broncos, on the other hand, have absolutely nothing to play for except pride and should be running their starters out there for the entire game.

After firing their coach two weeks back, the Broncos played inspired football last week at Arrowhead Stadium, nearly upsetting the Chiefs. Russell Wilson played well, accounting for three touchdowns (two rushing) in the 27-24 loss, and should have a decent bit of success again against a Chargers defense that'll likely be missing some key contributors.

Betting Picks

This is a spot where you absolutely have to be monitoring what's going on in the 1 p.m. ET games because there are ways to capture expected value if the Ravens jump out to a lead on the Bengals.

That would be the only way I attack the spread in this game. Even if the Chargers sit their guys, I don't trust this dumpster fire of a Broncos team to cover as a favorite under any circumstance.

I'd target the total here. If Chase Daniel starts and is out there throwing passes to DeAndre Carter and Josh Palmer, it might get ugly against this elite Denver defense. I like the under here despite the low total, but only bet this once you know the Chargers have nothing to play for.

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